It is Maths Year 2000. If figures are your forte and you are happy to divert yourself with digits, this is a good year for you. If numbers scare you, then it is rather like being an arachnophobe in the spider house. For they are everywhere: number-crunching is the entertainment of choice in hundreds of schools, libraries, museums and shops. Museums are organising maths safaris, rugby clubs are organising maths scrums, football clubs are arranging maths tackles.
On Blackpool Pleasure Beach, children can indulge in 16 maths trails as well as riding the big dipper, tel: 01253 341 033 ext 1419. On the Manchester Metro, posters featuring mathematical problems decorate the carriages. And maths begins young: during Glasgow's Pre-5s Construct and Play Fortnight, September 16-29, tots and their parents will build structures together during nursery school open days.
Lambeth teachers and the Hayward Gallery in London have produced a teacher's pack to accompany the exhibition of sculptures by the Belgian artist, Panamarenko, which explores estimation, symmetry and 2-D and 3-D shapes, tel: 020 7960 4242.
At the Bass Museum in Burton in Trent, Staffordshire, children can work out whether the Bass logo is an isosceles or an equilateral triangle, tel: 01283 511000.
On the internet there's Matrix, the Virtual Maths Museum and Gallery. In this "unique interactive mathematical exhibition ideal for key stage l and 2", children can play the xylophone and drums to mathematical formulae, play interactive maths games or interact with mathematical objects. Website: www.mathsyear2000.org.uk. At this website you can send a mathematical greeting: www.mathsyear2000.orgcard and read all the maths news fit to print in The Sum: www.maths-year2000.orgthesum.
Maths and Poetry is the theme of a competition being run by Maths Year 2000 to coincide with Poetry Week, October 2-9, which invites schools to hold their own competition at each key stage and to submit the winners for judging by a panel chaired by Michael Rosen. The top prize is pound;1,000 worth of book tokens for the school plus pound;100 worth of tokens for the child. Contact Maths Year 2000, see below.
MathFests have sprung up everywhere. Still to come is the York MathFest, October 7-21, which will include shopping centre events; talks and performances by Mr Numbervator (see story on page 18) who has devised a series of participative games for primary school children that teachers can copy.
Its Grande Finale is the York Maths FunFair on October 21 at Burnholme Community College and other venues. Over 200 children have already decided to make a "maths weekend" of it, block booking the Youth Hostel to attend workshops on everything from astronomy through eclipses to The Mathematical Crystal Maze, which, based on the television show, has children travelling across continents solving maths challenges. Contact: Liz Forth on 01759 368394 or Lewis Pike on 01904 424242.
The London MathFest is taking place from January 13-22 with hundreds of events in schools, museums, shopping centres, the Science Museum and the Bank of England Museum. The British Museum has booked "Pythagorus" to talk about his life, the Solar System and perfect shapes and numbers, tel: 020 8244 9947.
There is a Derby MathFest on October 13-14 at the Eagle Centre Derby, contact Kathy Pratt on 01332 716921; and a Liverpool MathFest on November 8-9 at Everton FC's football ground, details from Learn Direct, see below.
In Nothern Ireland there is an activity tour-trail through the Ulster American Folk Park on September 29 looking at the role of maths (shape and space) in the design and building of typical Ulster and American houses. Contact Evelyn Cardwell, tel: 028 82256320.
The Millennium Festival of Science and Innovation is to be held in Derry from September 21-30. Contact Des Baker at email@example.com Until September 29, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, County Down is taking 250 Year 8 pupils on a maths excursion through a world of trains, buses, aircraft, cars, motorbikes and cycles. A family weekend, September 23-24, features the premi re of a mathematical performance by Belfast Community Circus. Contact Arlene Bell, head of education, tel: 028 904 28428.
At the Liverpool Museum a trail takes a look at the Ancient Egyptians' system of measures and children are asked to spot shapes in the museum's classical facade. Tel: 0151 478 4296.
In late October in Dundee there will be a Maths Roundabout to tie in with the Becta Grand Prix Maths Challenge Regional Final and from October 27-29 Lothian secondary schools will be invited to the Edinburgh Lagganlia Outdoor Education Centre to engage in mathematical problem solving activities, to investigate real-life applications of maths using ICT and to discuss maths in business and high education. A number of resource packs will be sent to Scottish schools in mid-October containing case studies of activities and events that teachers have devised and used. For further details call 0131 220 1777 or visit www.mathsyear2000scotland.org.uk At the National Museum and Gallery in Cardiff Numeracy in Nature consists of differentiated bilingual gallery trails (two for each key stage), which encourage children to apply maths in a natural history context. Contact Dr Judith Scott on 02920 573123. Mathsfairs are being held in Wrexham, September 28-30, contact: Linda Thomas, tel: 01352 704093; Aberystwyth, November 2-4, contact: Terwyn Tomos tel: 01970 633633; and Carmarthen, December 7-9, contact: Sion Watkins, tel: 01994 231866.
Eureka! The Museum for Children in Halifax has numerous numeracy workshops: key stage 1 and 2 children meet Indiadder Jones while tots join up with Polly Plus and Morris Minus for fun and figures. For the 24-hour information line ring 01426 983 191 or check out their website on www.eureka.org.uk Among resources the RAF Maths Mission is offering a CD-Rom for GCSE and standard grade. It requires students to complete "a maths mission" such as an air-sea rescue or an engineering feat based on real-life situations, for a free copy call 020 7453 4691.
On October 19, Channel 4 is broadcasting Poetry by Numbers, featuring poets, including Michael Rosen, Jackie Kay and Ann Duffy, reading their poems intercut with maths images.
Channel 4 is also publishing an illustrated book, Your Family Counts, suggesting activities relating to shopping, travelling, sports and leisure for all the family, tel: 01926 436444. The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications has commissioned a video to demonstrate to teenagers how crucial is maths to all aspects of work. It will go out with a teachers' pack to secondary schools in October.
There is lots more. For activities and a list of maths events throughout the UK visit the website: www.mathsyear2000.org.uk or write to Maths Year 2000, 57-58 Russell Square, London WC1B 4HP. Or contact Learn Direct on 0800 100 900.