GMG launches Online Time Management Course

Personal Effectiveness is a measure of an individual’s overall ability to perform various tasks and activities in his or her educational and life endeavours. There are practical, straightforward skills and strategies needed to excel in the various realms in life. These personal effectiveness skills include amongst others; personal goal setting, time management, study skills, organization, problem solving, decision-making and efficient use of various tools and resources at ones’ disposal. The development of these skills allows individuals to become more capable, competent, and confident in themselves and their performance, and help them to be better able to reach the goals they set for themselves.

At Galway Maths Grinds we provide information and strategies to help individuals to make the most of their talents and abilities. Individuals can use these simple strategies and techniques to make the very most of their learning activities.

While you can not beat working one on one with an experienced mentor, we can only help a limited number of students in this manner. To cater for others we have a number of publications that can be purchased online and downloaded as PDF files.

Today we launch our Effective Time Management course which students can follow online at their own pace.

It launches at an introductory price of €23.37  until November 1st when it will revert to the normal price of €61.50.

If you are curious about the odd pricing, it is because we are using an American platform to host the course and it requires the course to be priced as a whole number of euro before VAT is added. VAT of 23% is then added because we are based in Ireland.  So the  €23.37  is made up of a pre VAT price of  €19 plus 23% VAT.



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The Greek Alphabet

When learning new material in subjects like maths, physics and other science subjects we not only encounter new concepts, but new notation and language.  The letters of the Greek alphabet are often used to represent different things in these subjects. They can cause a little confusion when first encountered, particularly the distinctions between upper and lower case versions of the same letters. So I thought it useful to provide a copy of the alphabet here.

Greek Alphabet

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Back to School – How do I Succeed?

Now that the summer holidays have ended and students are back to school there will be mixed feelings. The extra freedom of the holidays has vanished for another little while, but all the activities you take part in with your school friends start up again.  A big question for students and parents is what can I do to make the most of my time at school for the coming year?  While the question may be particularly pertinent for students in exam years, it applies to all.

There will be lots of advise from lots of different people. Much of it good advise and some maybe a bit questionable. You could feel overwhelmed with it all if you do not keep it in perspective. You have lots of subjects to study, but not everyone is actually taught how to learn most effectively. So brushing up on effective study skills would be a great help.

But this question; what can I do to make the most of my time at school for the coming year?, can be applied to any aspect of your life, not just academic studies. A broader question is what can I do to make the most of the time I have in my life? In fact there is a lot you can do.

I would suggest that the first skills to master for studying effectively  are the same skills to be mastered to be successful in any aspect of your life. What are they? –  Effective Time Management skills. The number one set of life skills that most people do not learn to master are basic time management skills. Time management is effectively management of your self so that you figure out what is important to you. It involves doing the right things at the right time, in the right way to achieve the goals that you have chosen for yourself. It does  not need to be complicated, but it does require a little thought and effort. And a little coaching from someone with experience can make a great difference to how quickly and easily you develop the skill set.

Galway Maths Grinds has produced an online Time Management course that goes live at the end of September. Students will be able to follow the course at the own pace, and by doing the simple assignments in the course workbook end up on completion with their own personalised time management system that they can apply to any aspect of their lives.






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GMG arrangements for Ed Sheeran Concerts

All classes are as normally scheduled. We remind clients of Galway Maths Grinds on Friday evening and Saturday to keep the car pass you were issued in the car when coming to class. It might be a good idea to put it in the car now rather than risk forgetting it on the day. Have the pass on the dash of the car as you approach a control barrier and you will be waved through.

Note also that a one way traffic system will be in place in accordance with the details on the map below. The direction of traffic flow will be from Threadneedle Road down Dr Mannix Road and towards the Prom via Rockbarton Road or Dalysford Road. Click on the map to see a larger version.

Traffic system for concerts

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Tech Week 2018

Tech Week is a nationwide festival of technology made up of a range of classroom and community activities taking place across Ireland – in libraries, schools, community centres, and many other locations. These activities give students a chance to develop their interest in technology subjects, examine potential career prospects, learn new skills, be creative in a fun environment.

This year’s Tech Week is the fifth annual one and takes place from April 22nd to 28th. Students and parents are encouraged to take part in various events such as the following.

 School Events

  •  Career talks

  •  Technology workshops

  •  Plan a Tech Week activity in the classroom

  •  Run a competition or quiz

  •  Show inspiring videos such as the Smart Futures videos

 Family Events

  •  Bring your children to a Tech Week activity in your area

  •  Plan a Tech Week activity at home using our Tech Week activity sheets, Cliste primary school resources or Scratch programming lesson plans.

 Industry Events

  •  Invite your local school to an open day at your organisation

  •  Organise an event with hands-on activities or workshop

  •  Re-visit your old school and tell students about your path into IT

  •  Get involved in IT Professionals Day

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A useful easy to use Graphing Calculator from Desmos

I have just come across a beautiful, free, easy and intuitive to use online graphing calculator from

graphing calculator

It instantly plots functions, lets you create tables, add sliders, animate your graphs, and more, making it a valuable resource for teachers and students. The key is learning by doing. The calculator can instantly plot any equation, from lines and parabolas up through derivatives and Fourier series. Sliders make it easy to demonstrate function transformations. One can change parameters and instantly see the changes on the graphs making experimentation easy, quick and without the hassle of doing a lot of manual calculations to see what happens.

Features include:

Graphing: Plot polar, cartesian, or parametric graphs. There’s no limit to how many expressions you can graph at one time – and you don’t even need to enter expressions in y= form!

Sliders: Adjust values interactively to build intuition, or animate any parameter to visualize its effect on the graph

Tables: Input and plot data, or create an input-output table for any function

Statistics: Find best-fit lines, parabolas, and more.

Zooming: Scale the axes independently or at the same time with the pinch of two fingers, or edit the window size manually to get the perfect window.

Points of Interest: Touch a curve to show maximums, minimums, and points of intersection. Tap the gray points of interest to see their coordinates. Hold and drag along a curve to see the coordinates change under your finger.

Scientific Calculator: Type in an equation you want to solve and Desmos will show you the answer. It can handle square roots, logs, absolute value, and more.

Inequalities: Plot Cartesian and polar inequalities.

This is one I will be using with my students.

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Happy Christmas

Christmas Greetings

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Chain Rule for Differentiation made easy

Page 25 of the Formulae and Tables booklet gives a table with some standard functions of x and their derivatives as shown below left. Below right I have added a version that shows how these can be applied to functions of functions of x. In these cases we need to use the chain rule.  In the blank box in entries on the table on the right the inner function is placed. The shaded box represents the derivative of what is placed in the blank box. Some students might find this more visual representation of the chain rule useful.

Chain Rule Visual For example to get the derivative of cos(3x+5), the outer function is cos (   ) which has as derivative -sin( ).  The inner function is (3x+5) which has derivative 3. Using the chain rule the derivative of cos(3x+5) is -3sin(3x+5).

You will find this and lots more in the downloadable PDF file “Making the most of the Formulae and Tables Booklet” which can be purchased at

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Polynomial Long Division Calculator

Found a nice little calculator for polynomial long division at

Polynomial long division calculator

Simply enter the polynomial to be divided into the dividend box.

Enter the number you want to divide by in the divisor box.

Check the “Show steps” box if you want the steps shown. Leave it empty if you just want the answer without an explanation.

It is fairly self explanatory but if you need guidance on how to enter the numbers using acceptable notation click the “show instructions” tab.

Then click the “calculate” tab to set it to work.

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Another Year of Excellent Results

CAO points comparison chart

Proud and delighted with the results obtained  by Galway Maths Grinds students in their Leaving Cert again this year.

For example James got a H1 in each of higher level maths, physics and applied maths and is about to start Medicine in NUIG.

His mother gets an equally impressive mark for the cake that arrived to my door freshly baked and piping hot after the results came out.


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