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Maths Week: Sligo ATU

5th and 6th class travelled to Sligo Atlantic Technological University, Tuesday 17 th October, as parts of Maths Week.  There were 10 schools in attendance in the lecture hall.  

The lecturer, a Spanish mathematician, Dr. Fernando Blasco. Dr. Blasco levtures at the Polytechnic University of Madrid . He uses magic to introduce the public to topics such as prime numbers, sudoku, mind games and calendars to name a few.

At first, he asked random children when their birthday was and he immediately told them what day it was on.  He had a calendar up for us to check if he was right….and he always was!

Next, he did a maths trick with 3 students, a pack of cards, an imaginary dice, a paper crown and a whiteboard. They came up with a random 6 figure number and chose to multiply it by 4.  When they had the answer written on the board, he opened up the paper crown….the exact answer was written inside it!!

After that, he did a trick with a rope and a ring and managed to ‘magically’ pull the ring through a knotted rope.  He then tried to teach 10 children how to tie a knot with a rope without letting go of the ends!

Dr. Blasco continued by displaying He really 6 boxes with random numbers up to 63.  He asked children to think of a number and tell him whether or not it was in each box. He was immediately able to guess the number when he got this information. He used binary numbers to solve this (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32).

Finally, he asked us how many seconds we thought it would take him to fill in a 4x4 magic square using a random target number.  We gave him 20 seconds on the clock.  A child gave him a target number of 35, it took him 12 seconds to accurately fill in the magic square of which all lines, diagonals, corners, centre box, trapezium, all added to 35.

We had such a great time and learned that maths isn’t just about copy and pencil, maths can be used even for magic!!

We really believe that he is "a magic mathematician!"

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