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Scottish Museums Day 2023

For Scottish Museums Day (3 October) we’ve rounded up some of our favourite activities from museums from this year's Maths Week Scotland. Maths isn’t just for Maths Week though - many museums are continuing to run workshops or make their resources available throughout the year.

Maths in Motion Fun at the National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland got very much in to the spirit of Maths Week Scotland this year, with family activities for all ages on offer in Edinburgh.

They started off the week with their free Counting Sheep trail. Families had to go in search of five Dolly cones, hidden in the galleries, and each clone had a maths question or challenge to try. The trail was available all week.

Dolly Trail v2

On Wednesday, families with children aged 2-4 were invited to join two 'Magic Carpet' sessions, where little ones could discover shapes, numbers, time and more through songs, action rhymes, objects and sensory play. The popular sessions were both fully booked. The museum runs regular Magic Carpet sessions throughout the year, and had put on some extra maths themed ones especially for Maths Week Scotland.

On Friday afternoon, the 'Find out Fridays' sessions that taken place at the museum regularly during term time, had again been given a Maths Week Scotland twist with a Maths in Motion special.

Find Out Friday Mi M

Over the weekend, the museum hosted a free pop-up exhibition from the Open University, with the theme of 'Pendulums and Patterns'. Visitors could get hands on with a number of maths inspired puzzles and activities, to explore the relationship between mathematics, movements and patterns.

Pendulums Patterns Collage

The maths filled week was rounded off by Sensory Sunday, the first of a series of new sensory play sessions at the museum for children with additional support needs. In honour of Maths Week Scotland, the inaugural session was maths themed.

Sensory Sunday Maths

As well as the family activities, the museum's learning and engagement team was also piloting some new maths themed 'Museum on the Move' workshops with local schools. Going forward, they hope to include these in their regular schools offering as well as sharing the format with other museums.

Cracking the Code at the Great Tapestry of Scotland

We were delighted to welcome Maths Week Scotland first timers The Great Tapestry of Scotland, in the Scottish Borders, on board this year. Throughout the week, visitors to the Great Tapestry could use their maths skills to crack the code using clues hidden in the panels, in a number of trails available for different ages, from P1 through to adults!

The Tapestry also worked with pupils at Jedburgh Grammar Campus, to learn about James Clerk Maxwell, who features in panel 99 of the tapestry.

And a drop-in by the Galashiels CLD Service Multiply Team at the Great Tapestry, gave people of all ages a chance to pick up information about all numeracy provision available - along with a wee maths goodie bag!

Stepping Back in Time with Auchindrain Maths

In Argyll & Bute, Auchindrain Township Museum - the last remaining township in Scotland - had some fun maths inspired activities on offer for visitors all week, included in admission, which related to their historic buildings and the people who used to live there. Museum worker Thomas also helped us see maths in a new light by explaining the maths behind turfing a roof.

Getting Creative in the North of Scotland

All the way north in Stromness, Orkney, The Pier Arts Centre created a series of maths related activities, inspired by their collections, which are available to download from their website to do at home.

They also had Orkney’s UHI STEM Coordinator running a 'Creation Station' on Wednesday and Thursdays, where visitors could create their own sculptures, pictures and models with wooden KAPLA blocks.

Something Fishy going on in Anstruther

The Scottish Fisheries Museum had revised their Kipper the Cat's Maths Trail, which is now available in two versions following feedback from families last year. A version for families was available all through Maths Week, and included in the price of museum admission. Another version for schools will now be available all year round, and can be booked as part of school visits, which have a small cost per pupil.

Discovering the Forces of Golf in St Andrews

Back to Maths Week Scotland for another year, the World Golf Museum in St Andrews invited families to a fun Sunday morning session to discover the forces used in golf and have a go at measuring the volume of golf clubs and golf balls with the Archimedes Principle.

Money Maths Brain Teasers

And, finally, the Museum on the Mound in Edinburgh, offer money maths workshops for schools and Scout groups year round, including in Maths Week. St Cuthbert's RC Primary School really enjoyed their visit.

They also kept us on our toes all week with a series of brain teasers from their collections. Here's a wee taster:

There was lots of other Maths Week museum activity happening behind the scenes too. The Scottish Maritime Museum in North Ayrshire hosted a series of Nautical Numbers workshops for local Early Years groups and schools, as well as a big family activity day at Egliton Country Park. The North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre also held a family day, all about maps. Meanwhile for schools, Surgeons' Hall Museums in Edinburgh was running Forensic Science workshops, and the National Galleries of Scotland had produced a new art learning resource on the theme of Maths in Motion. Glasgow Museums Resource Centre and The Burrell Collection in Glasgow also offer maths inspired schools workshops all year round, whilst there are more maths trails available of schools at the National Museum of Scotland and Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life.

Check out your local museum for maths events all year round. If you are a museum looking to take part and want to know what support is available, get in touch with

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