Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

Maths in Music

Music has always been a subject which I love but have never been very good at, after TRYING to learn the violin (we wont talk about that today) I discovered I was never going to be a musical genius. I love nothing more than listening to a bit of Taylor Swift or watching a good musical. Sadly, that’s as far as my musical knowledge goes.

A recent maths input, which I very much enjoyed, was discovering the links between maths and music. At the beginning of the input, we were asked to think of as many links as possible, my list consisted of rhythm and beats in a bar. After being proud of coming up with 2 links you can imagine how amazed I was to discover the list is pretty much endless. Some links, which I wasn’t aware of included:

  • Note values
  • Tuning/pitch
  • Counting songs
  • Fingering on music
  • Time signature
  • Scales
  • Fibonacci sequence
  • Patterns and repetition

Patterns and Repetition

In any piece of music, pattern and repetition are usually involved in order to create a rhythm, which is a regular repeated pattern or sound (Rhythm, 2017). According to Professor Peter Schickele, the reason for this “is that regularity of pattern builds up expectations as to what is to come next”, thus making the piece more exciting and memorable. However when composing a piece of music it is essential to create the right balance of repetition as too much can make the piece boring and predictable (Schickele, 1980).

Fibonacci Sequence

The Fibonacci sequence, according to Elaine J. Home (2013) is “a series of numbers where a number is found by adding the two numbers before it”. For example, the sequence starts like 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21. Lets take the number 8, this number belongs in the sequence as the two numbers found before it equals 8 (3+5+8).

In music, a chord is made up of the 1st (the root), 3rd and 5th note on a scale. These are all Fibonacci numbers. Fibonacci numbers also re appear in the octave and multiple scales too (Meisner, 2012). The video below demonstrates how the Fibonacci sequence appears visually in a musical context.

The ‘music in maths’ input was one of my favourites as, even though music is something I listen to on a daily basis, I had never associated it with maths. This highlights the idea that maths is a common theme in many aspects of our lives. In the future, I would be interested in having a second go at trying to learn an instrument. After this input and with a basic fundamental mathematical knowledge, I might have more luck this time as I will be able to look out for the links!


Elaine J. (2013). ‘What is the Fibonacci Sequence?’ Available at: (Accessed 17 November 2017)

Meisner G. (2012). ‘Music and the Fibonacci Sequence and Phi’ Available at: (Accessed 15 November 2017)

Rhythm. (2017). In: Oxford Disctionary, 1st ed. Oxford University Press.

Schickele P. (1980). Symmetries. Symmetry in Music, p.238.

Maths Anxiety

Looking back to seven years ago, I was in primary seven getting ready to start secondary school. Maths was something I loved and a subject I felt confident in.

Six years ago I remember sitting through a maths class in S1 looking at the teacher who was desperately trying to teach me how to do ‘The St. Andrews flag method’. I had no idea what she was talking about and remember feeling like I wanted to cry. How and when did I get so bad at maths?

From S1 to S4 maths was a struggle I remember fearing every lesson and trying to think of any excuse to avoid class whether it was ‘feeling sick’ or having ‘dentist appointments’. This of course made things worse as I began to make myself believe maths was more scary than it actually was.  I began to give up listening in class or paying attention as I believed I would never understand and paying attention was in vain.

This evidently affected me as I sat crying the night before my national 5 maths exam. Frantically looking through every textbook and jotter praying for a miracle that would somehow turn me into a math genius. This of course didn’t happen. I ended up spending my whole night watching ‘Mr maths genius’ on Youtube explaning ‘sin, cos and tan’ which, to me, were just random words. To cut a long story short, I failed the exam.

Despite getting good grades in my other subjects I remember feeling disappointed in myself. Looking through every university’s entry requirements, I began to realise if I was serious about becoming a  primary teacher I was going to have to try again.

Round 2….

Despite hating the walk to maths and dreading every lesson, I made sure I concentrated in class. After a year of sticking it out, I achieved an A at nat 5 maths. Out of all my grades I had achieved at Higher level, I felt most proud of this as it meant my dream of becoming a teacher could happen and maths was no longer holding me back.

A month ago I found myself sitting at a desk looking at a power point which read ‘Discovering Maths’ and thought “what have I done…?” The sheer mention of the word maths made me want be sick.

The first topic we looked at was maths anxiety. Reading through the symptoms and causes, I realised this was something I suffer from.

Maths anxiety is something I had never heard of until recently, and according to Hill, ‘is a debilitating negative emotional reaction towards mathematics’ (Hill, 2016). After researching I have discovered I am not alone in feeling anxious towards maths in fact it is believed that a quarter of the worlds population share this feeing (Brain, 2012).

When I become a teacher, maths anxiety is something I cannot bring into the classroom. I will refuse to pass my fear of maths onto any future generations. It is, therefore, my aim to become more confident in my maths abilities and defeat the monster that maths is.


Brian, F. (2012). Maths Anxiety: The numbers are mounting. The Guardian. (online) Available at: (Accessed 16 October. 2017).

Hill, F. (2016). ‘Maths anxiety in primary and secondary school students’, Learning and Individual Differences, pp. 63-68.

Scientific Literacy

Scientific literacy and fair testing – Áine O’Neill, Gillian Daly, Iain Thomson

“Scientific literacy is the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence based-conclusions.” (OECD, 2003) It allows us to expand our knowledge on science and allows us to learn about new things. It is very important to teach children about scientific literacy at a young age so they can start questioning scientific knowledge from a young age and gets them into the habit of questioning and understanding scientific literacy from a young age. Although scientific literacy is helpful with acquiring new scientific knowledge, not all scientific literature is true. A lot of scientific literature on the internet is false due to scientists lying about their results or falsifying evidence. Therefore, it is important to carefully read scientific literacy found online to make sure it is true. It is important to teach children that not everything they read on the internet is true.

A lack of scientific literacy could lead to inaccurate media reporting. An example of this is the ‘Changing diet could stop cancer’ theory.

In 1924, Otto Warburg suggested that an acidic diet could affect and be the cause of cancerous cells, after he discovered that cancer is caused by low oxygen and an acidic PH. His suggestion to patients was to change their diet to be less acidic and more alkaline by eating more of a green diet.

This suggestion caused fear within the public as it was new information released about cancer, and caused a great deal of hype within the media. However, after various investigations scientists concluded that cancer cells can not live in an overly alkaline environment, concluding that Otto’s theory was wrong. Scientists provided closure to Otto’s theory by discovering that blood is slightly alkaline, and is tightly regulated by kidneys and cannot be changed by what you consume. Due to this any extra acid or alkali that isn’t needed in the body is released from the body in urine.

Developing understanding of scientific concepts and language is a very time consuming activity. The scope of science is enormous and varied, so basic knowledge of scientific practice and language should be taught at a young age. This can be as a foundation for more skills, knowledge, and scientific inquiry required in the sciences.

Bybee (1997: cited Dunn and Peacock, 2015) suggested that scientific literacy followed a hierarchy, from knowledge of some scientific terms with no deep understanding of them, to multidimensional scientific literacy, where learners can apply concepts and theories to the world around them. There is much learning and teaching to go from the initial stage to the latter, so the introduction of science in the classroom at an early age is important.

The teaching of fair testing in schools gives children an idea of scientific practice, an introduction to scientific vocabulary, and the beginning of understanding how scientific evidence is used and interpreted. Without these skills, young people will struggle to understand the difference between scientific theories that have been verified through experimentation, and false scientific claims built on faulty, or fictional, scientific evidence (as above).


Dunne, M. and Peacock, A. (2015), Primary Teaching: A Guide to Teaching Practice, 2nd ed., Croydon,sage.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2003) The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework- Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem Solving Knowledge and skills, Paris OECD 9Accessed: 8/2/2017)





Throwback to 12 years ago….. I was a bossy 7 year old teaching an innocent 4 year old to count. After 2 hours of me nagging she eventually counted to ten and from that moment I knew that teaching was the profession for me.

In primary school I didn’t just sit in my primary class and get taught like any normal child, instead I analysed the teachers movements and noted down techniques that I would hopefully use when I became Miss Daly. Throughout primary school I used to day dream about having my own primary class and taking the children on school trips, but when I started secondary school reality hit me when I realised if I was really passionate about doing teaching I was going to have to work hard.

Third year of secondary school was when I began to doubt myself, I began to wonder if I should become a midwife, social worker or psychologist. I looked into many courses but somehow in my head I knew I was wasting my time, and teaching was what I really wanted to do. In my fifth year of school I began to go on work experience. I volunteered at nursery’s and primary schools and loved every moment. I found it very interesting to watch the way children learned and interacted with one another.

On the first day of work experience when I walked into a classroom not as a pupil but as ‘Miss Daly’ I began to see that my old day dreams in school could be turned into a reality.

So now being at uni, studying the profession that I’m truly passionate about makes me very happy, as I know that i’m on the right path to become the teacher i’ve always wanted to become.