Dr. Pierpaolo Dondio has been awarded an SFI Discover Grant of 210K euro to support the engagement activities of the Happy Maths project for 2023 and 2024. The 2-year project has been funded as a national-level project under the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme. SFI had already funded Happy Maths in 2022 with a local-level SFI Discover grant.
The new grant will allow Happy Maths to scale nationwide. We welcome the new partner of the project, Dr. Attracta Brennan from the University of Galway, that will help us to scale the project on the west coast of Ireland in Galway, Roscommon, Clare and Mayo counties.
The project aims to reach about 2500 pupils in two years in 8 different counties.
Happy Maths is a programme for primary schools students, teachers and parents to raise awareness
about Maths Anxiety and how game-based learning can mitigate its negative effect.
Maths Anxiety is “a debilitating negative emotional reaction towards mathematics” affecting 1 in 6
students. It is more severe in girls than boys, thereby worsening the existing problem of gender
inequality in STEM education.
Happy Maths has two aspects. One is for pupils, consisting in a 5-week-programme where pupils engage
with educational digital games for Maths. The aim is not only to increase pupils' Maths cognitive
abilities, but specifically to use the power of games to engage disadvantaged and anxious pupils and
mitigate the negative effects of Maths Anxiety.
The second aspect is for teachers and parents. The program includes workshops for teachers to
facilitate their independent adoption of game-based learning in the classroom and multimedia
information material for children and parents.
35 Irish primary schools expressed written interested in joining the programme.
Beside the in-school programme, the Discover fund will support:
(2) the creation of a web-portal acting as a single point of reference for Ireland on the topic of Maths
Anxiety and game-based learning, containing our games, CPD material to support teachers and
mutlimedia information for parents,
The Discover Programme is the Science Foundation Ireland fund to support public engagement between science and society.