Maths Week 2020

Maths Week 2020 will be on from Monday 10 August until Friday 14 August.

Last year there were 288 441 students and 6657 teachers registered throughout New Zealand.  This is an increase of 5594 students and 543 teachers from 2018.

Maths Week is written for all students from Year 1 through to Year 11.

It is available free, on-line, to teachers, parents and students.

Maths Week material is written

  • to encourage students’ interest in mathematics and statistics
  • to give teachers resources that they can use in the classroom, particularly material that requires some research and which may not be readily available to them, or that can be used electronically in class
  • to show the pleasure that mathematics can provide and some of the everyday places where it can be used
  • to give teachers material that can provide extension.

Maths Week has five levels.

  • Level 1 – primarily for Years 1 and 2.
  • Level 2 – primarily for Years 3 and 4.
  • Level 3 – primarily for Years 5 and 6.
  • Level 4 – primarily for Years 7 and 8.
  • Level 5 – primarily for Years 9, 10 and 11.

This year, the Maths Week sections are similar to those of 2019.

  • Survivor series. A series of in-class tasks at levels 1 – 5 for each day during Maths Week.  Each day’s tasks has a theme (the same theme for all levels).
  • Maths Millionaire. Maths questions, with junior (Years 5 and 6), middle (Years 7 and 8), senior (Years 9 – 11) and family divisions.
  • The Maths Chaser. Maths questions at each of levels 2 – 5.
  • Daily Dollar. Maths activities at each of levels 1 – 5.
  • Dollars and cents. Questions to encourage financial capability (primarily for Years 9 – 11) for each day during Maths Week.  Each day’s questions has a theme.
  • Super Challenge. One mathematical challenge each day for four days.  Those who answer all four correctly can get a certificate.
  • Some Maths Matters. Five chapters on various mathematical topics.
  • Two interactive games.

Maths Millionaire and the games are easily accessed by students on their tablets or SMART phones.

Teachers who register for Maths Week have access to answers to questions and other notes.

For teachers to register themselves and their class numbers, go to

We are pleased to have support and financial backing again this year from the Ministry of Education.

Bill Ellwood has written much of the material in previous years, with some material at junior levels recently being written by Tamara Jones and Kate Simmonds and one section being written by Paul Newsom from the Young Enterprise Trust.  After 14 years’ service, Bill has decided to “hang up his pen”.  A team of writers is preparing the 2020 material, including Paul.  It is a measure of the work done by Bill and his team that there is now a team of seven involved!  We wish to express gratitude and thanks to Bill and his co-writers for their sterling efforts.

Tony Davidson, lead writer

What’s the superpower every student needs? Statistics, of course.

This Wednesday, April 29, two experts will present on this important topic as part of SXSW EDU’s virtual roundup to replace this year’s cancelled event.

Join us 1-2pm ET on Wednesday, April 29

In this online session, Dr. Samuel Echevarria-Cruz, Dean of Liberal Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences at Austin Community College, and Rob Santos, Vice President and Chief Methodologist at The Urban Institute, will lead a discussion about how statistics—the science of learning from data—is the new superpower every student needs in their studies and career.

Statistics influences industries as varied as sports, fashion, public health and more, and continues to increase in its importance and opportunities. In fact, statistician was named the #1 Best Business Job and #6 among the top 100 Best Jobs by U.S. News & World Report.

Now more than ever, it’s a great time to take a statistics class and prepare yourself for a bright future.

Register Now to Hold Your Spot

The Concord Consortium are organising an interactive webinar on April 29 at 4 PM ET. Register today. Participants will explore Fast Plants genetic data in your three-dimensional instruction. Participants will receive a lesson plan to teach genetic inheritance patterns and a certificate for one hour of continuing education credit.

See CODAP latest news and happenings: Covid-19 in the US


This is Statistics are celebrating Mathematics & Statistics Awareness Month with a month-long series—meet a statistician in a Facebook Live AMA every Thursday through the end of April. Learn more about this series and the first statistician, Sam Echevarria, here:



Credit Amalia Bastos

Publishing in Nature Communications, PhD candidate Amalia Bastos and Associate Professor Alex Taylor carried out an experiment to test New Zealand’s alpine parrots (Nestor notabilis) on their ability to make predictions using statistical, physical and social information in a similar way to a human. Read the full article…

The Australasian Region of the International Biometric Society is running a School Poster Competition for Year 9 & 10 Australian and NZ students. Entries close 10 November. More details »

School Poster Competition

Smoking cigarettes is worse teenage behaviour than smoking marijuana, according to Year 11-13 students from New Zealand schools. Furthermore, they think that their parents would agree with them.

The insight comes from CensusAtSchool TataurangaKiTeKura, a non-profit, online educational project that brings statistics to life in both English and Māori-medium classrooms. Supervised by teachers, students from Years 5-13 anonymously answer 30 questions in English or te reo Māori on digital devices. The project is run by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in partnership with the Ministry of Education and StatsNZ.

This year, more than 2,840 Year 11-13 students (aged 15-18) only were asked: How wrong do you think it is for someone your age to a) drink alcohol b) smoke tobacco cigarettes; c) smoke e-cigarettes d) smoke marijuana. They were able to choose a range of options on a scale from ‘not at all wrong’ to ‘very wrong’. The results showed that 61% of students felt that it was very wrong for people their age to smoke cigarettes, followed by smoking marijuana (52%), smoking e-cigarettes (44%), and drinking alcohol (22%).

Students were also asked how their parents/caregivers would feel about them doing the same things. The results were smoking cigarettes (81% of students felt that parents would consider this very wrong); marijuana (76%); e-cigarettes (69%) and alcohol (33%).

CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe says that the finding that smoking cigarettes, which is legal, was rated as worse behaviour than smoking marijuana, which is illegal for recreational use, was surprising. “Our figures can’t tell us why students perceived smoking cigarettes as worse than smoking marijuana,” she says. “However, we can speculate that it has something to do with what they see and hear around them and changing societal attitudes.” 

For example, New Zealand has had an anti-smoking law since 1990, which has discouraged and denormalised smoking for all of these students’ lives and most of their parents’ existence. Twenty-five years ago, one in four people aged 15 or over smoked daily; today, the tally is 13%. 

In contrast, although marijuana is illegal, it is the most-used illicit drug in New Zealand, with researchers estimating that by the age of 21, around 80% of young people will have used marijuana at least once. Pressure to legalise marijuana for recreational use has built to the extent that New Zealanders will choose whether or not to legalise and regulate it in a referendum alongside the general election next year.  

In other findings:

  • The older teens became, the less likely they were to see drinking alcohol as a bad thing for people their age to do. In Year 11, 28% of students saw drinking alcohol as very wrong. By Year 13, that figure was 12%. 
  • As students aged, they perceived that their caregivers relaxed over the issue of them drinking as well. One in two Year 11 students (42%) felt that their parents would see drinking alcohol as a bad thing for people their age to do. By Year 13, that figure was one in six (17%).  
  • However, this was not the case with cigarettes, with less of a drop as students aged. In Year 11, 65% felt that cigarette smoking by their age group was very wrong, compared to 55% in Year 13. 
  • The figures for perceived parental attitudes towards teens smoking cigarettes did not drop much with age. A total of 82% of Year 11s said their parents would view their age group smoking as very wrong, compared to 79% of Year 13 students.

CensusAtSchool runs every two years. This year’s census, the ninth, was launched on March 4. More than 23,000 students from 458 schools have taken part to date. See if your local school has participated here.  

CensusAtSchool is part of an international effort to boost statistical capability among young people and is carried out in Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Africa. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made.

Thanks to Tara Boreham for sharing these photos of her students at Henderson Primary taking part in CensusAtSchool last term.

Henderson Primary School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Henderson Primary School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Henderson Primary School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Henderson Primary School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Henderson Primary School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Thanks to Susan Fenemor for sharing these photos of her students at Tapawera School taking part in CensusAtSchool last term.

Tapawera School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Tapawera School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Tapawera School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Tapawera School - CensusAtSchool 2019

Thanks to Gabriela Isolabella for sharing these photos of her students at Hastings Girls High School taking part in CensusAtSchool last term.

Hasting Girls - CensusAtSchool 2019

Hasting Girls - CensusAtSchool 2019

Hasting Girls - CensusAtSchool 2019

Hasting Girls - CensusAtSchool 2019

Hasting Girls - CensusAtSchool 2019

Hasting Girls - CensusAtSchool 2019