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Primary Magazine - Issue 8: Focus on

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Last updated 06 March 2009 15:05 by ncetm_administrator

Primary Magazine Issue 8

Focus on Spring

Are you ready to ‘spring’ into action?

Winter is slowly creeping away and spring is just around the corner. According to the astronomical definition, spring begins on the ‘vernal equinox’ in the Northern Hemisphere – 21 March. It signals the beginning of a long period of continuous sunlight at the North Pole. But what does it mean for us living here in the UK? 

For many of us, spring conjures up images of new flowers, trees blossoming, birds building their nests, baby animals and spending time outside in the sunshine. March also brings St David's Day on the 1st in celebration of David, patron saint of Wales, St Piran's Day on the 5th, in celebration of Piran, patron saint of Cornwall, St Patrick's Day on the 17th in celebration of Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, and this year, Mothering Sunday falls on the 22nd.  In the UK, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent, the period of forty days (excluding Sundays) preceding Easter.

All of this provides a wealth of information, just crying out to be used as a context for exciting mathematical activities in the classroom!  Why not try using some of the facts below to start mathematical conversations in your classroom… let us know how you get on!

  • The word ‘March’ comes from the roman Martius. This was originally the first month of the year and was named after ‘Mars’, the God of War. March was also the beginning of our calendar year too. We changed to the new style or Gregorian calendar in 1752. It is only since then that we have started our year on 1 January.
  • St Patrick brought public attention to the shamrock, after using a three-leafed specimen to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. According to legend, the additional leaf found on a four-leaf clover, brings good luck. It is estimated that there are approximately 10 000 three-leaf clovers for every one with four leaves. The New York Times reported about a man who had found 160 000 of them to date!
  • Easter Island’, in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean, is a special territory of Chile. The first European discovery of the island was on Easter Sunday in 1722 by Dutch navigator, Jacob Roggeveen.
  • Each year, nearly 90 million chocolate bunnies are made in preparation for Easter.
  • When it comes to eating the chocolate bunnies, as many as 76% of people prefer to eat the ears first.
  • In 1928, an act was passed in Parliament to fix Easter Day as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. It has never come into force though. In Britain, Easter is taken to be the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the (northern hemisphere) spring equinox (easy once you know how!).
  • The Guinness Book of Records holder for the largest Easter egg ever made, is the Belgian chocolate producer Guylian, who made a chocolate egg with at least 50 000 bars on behalf of the city of St Niklaas. The egg measured 8.32 metres high. Twenty-six craftsmen worked for a total of 525 hours to build the egg. They needed 1950 kg of chocolate!

For these, and many other facts relating to spring and Easter:

A whole host of activities, fact pages, games, puzzles, recipes and traditions relating to the Christian festival of Easter can be found on the Indobase website and on the eparenting website.

The Met Office website is a wonderful source of child-friendly information relating to the seasons and weather.

Antonio Luque's website has an incredibly clever programme that can be used to calculate the date of Easter in ANY given year!

And finally...


¡Felices Pascuas!

Glad Påsk

Joyeuses pâques

Frohe Ostern

Buona Pasqua
United Kingdom

Happy Easter

Click here for 'Happy Easter' in 75 languages!

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