Schools Challenge



MATHletes Challenge is a pioneering maths tournament for Ireland based on the Khan Academy approach to learning and teaching maths.

Students in the Republic of Ireland (from 4th to 6th class in primary school and 1st to 5th year in secondary school) and Northern Ireland (Primary 6 & 7 Students, and Secondary Year 8 to Year 13) are eligible for the 2015 Challenge. Students compete online from January to May through the Khan Academy website, accumulating mastery points in their personal learning dashboards. Students' mastery points are aggregated for a school points total, which qualifies the school for weekly leaderboard, monthly champion cup, and the All-Ireland MATHletes School Champion title.

Signing up and learning with Khan Academy and the MATHletes Challenge is FREE.

Teachers across Ireland have found Khan Academy to be a great resource to engage their students in learning maths, with over 250 schools and 3,000 students competing in the first year!


But don't take our word for it - hear it from teachers in students themselves! Watch Fingal Community College's schools spirit come alive during the MATHletes Challenge



Khan Academy is the learning platform that drives the MATHletes Challenge - all of the points for the Challenge are gained by working in Khan Academy. Khan Academy is the global leader in FREE online education, with more than 5,500 instructional videos and over 100,000 practice problems in a range of subjects including maths, biology, physics, chemistry, computer science, finance, and more. The maths section of Khan Academy includes a comprehensive learning platform of videos and exercises for students, and sophisticated reporting tools and data analytics for teachers to support personalised learning, assessment, and differentiation in their maths classroom. If you are brand new to Khan Academy, check out the ABOUT KHAN ACADEMY section of the website to learn a bit about the tool!


Signups for the MATHletes Challenge 2015 open December 1st, and the Challenge launches on Monday, January 5th. Please see the MATHletes Challenge 2015 signup page to get started

KA Missions: Focus student learning

Once all of your students are added to their MATHletes classes, you will focus their work on Khan Academy to make content relevant and engaging.

From Khan Academy: Our grade level missions provide a way to guide your students through grade-level content, including all prerequisites. Your students will be united in one compelling goal: to all reach completion of their grade level mission, even as they start at different places and work at different paces...

While Khan Academy Missions are designed for the American Common Core Curriculum rather than the Irish curriculum, they are still a good starting point to focus ability levels. You can encourage students to work beyond this level if they are more advanced, or assign specific recommendations for students to take advantage of Khan Academy's individualised and flexible tools!


MATHletes 2015 Missions


Below are the recommended missions to assign each class/level. You may change this if you feel it is not appropriate, and students may explore other missions, but the goal is to keep students challenged and not just reviewing easy skills.

Republic of Ireland class/year
Northern Ireland year
Khan Academy starting mission
4th class Primary 6 3rd grade
5th class Primary7 4th grade
6th class Year 8 5th grade
1st year Year 9 6th grade
2nd year Year 10 7th grade
3rd year Year 11 8th grade
4th year/TY Year 12 Geometry or Algebra 1
5th year/pre-leaving cert Year 13 Algebra 1 or Algebra 2

Students will continue to move through the learning dashboard with the problems that Khan Academy suggests, but the exercises will be more focused for their level! Students should aim to master the grade level and move beyond.


Students work in their Khan Academy accounts to mastery skills within the mission you assign to them. All of these skills (not just weekly challenge exercises) are then added together for the total school score. Khan Academy is grounded in the principle of mastery-based learning, meaning students build a strong learning foundation - working at their own pace to truly understand and be confident in a maths skill before moving onto more advanced topics. While Khan Academy provides energy points and badges to reward student learning in their Khan Academy accounts, the MATHletes Challenge leaderboards are based on "mastery points" - we only give out students points for mastering skills, not energy points or badges or time spent. Please review the STUDENT CHALLENGE page for more detailed information about how mastering skills in Khan Academy translates into MATHletes Mastery points for the leaderboards. Also check out the the 2-league format for student scoring if some of your students are previous Khan Academy users and competing in the Champions League.

Monthly Challenges

There will be overall and monthly leaderboards for the MATHletes Schools Challenge, similar to the Student Challenge. Monthly leaderboards are "zero-ed out" at the start of each month, to give new competing schools a chance at the monthly title. However, you will not "lose" points you have gotten in the challenge so far. If you have been competing from the start, your points will continue to accumulate for the overall leaderboards, which ultimately determine the School Champion.

When & where students can compete

Students in the Schools Challenge can work on Khan Academy both during class time and at home after school. We recognise that many schools may not have the computers or devices for every students to work online during school hours, so teachers can assign problems as homework, or encourage students to work at home. In the past, teachers have used computer lab time, or opened computer labs during or after school or lunch for interested students.

Key dates & Challenge timeline

The MATHletes Schools Challenge takes place entirely online from Monday January 5th to Friday, April 16th. Weekly standings will be posted on the leaderboards at every Monday. A monthly schools challenge cup will be awarded in person to the 4 winning schools (2 divisions, 2 categories per division) each month. Finalist Schools will be invited to the All-Ireland MATHletes Championship in Dublin on May 2nd. Technology awards and cash will be awarded on the day!

Key dates for the Student Challenge, including in-person finals:

Signups open December 1, 2014
Challenge Launches January 5, 2015
Online Challenge Phase Jan 5 - March 20, 2015
Invitation send to Provincial finalists Wednesday, March 25th
Schools Challenge ends Thursday, April 16th
Provincial in-person finals Saturday, April 18
All-Ireland Championship Final Saturday, May 2
dates provisional - may be subject to change

The MATHletes teacher role

There is no prescriptive way for teachers to use Khan Academy, or to engage with the MATHletes Challenge. Khan Academy encourages teachers to "start simple, just start" with the site - explore the site tools, reports, and incorporate Khan Academy into your classroom and teaching as much as you want.

Teachers can make recommendations to individual students or the whole class, build playlists based on lesson plans, assign homework of exercises or videos that best fit the needs of their students, or you can let students work individually on the Khan Academy Learning Dashboard at their own pace and they can set their own goals. Over the Challenge, we encourage teachers to explore the powerful skill and student reports that are available through Khan Academy! Check out Khan Academy's Implementation Models to might spark a few ideas!

The MATHletes Coaching Team will provide challenges, ideas, and tips to teachers throughout the competition on how to best use Khan Academy to focus and engage students. If you have tips from your own work with Khan Academy in your classroom, please let us know!


School Eligibility & Judging Categories

Schools competing in the MATHletes Challenge will be registered in one of 2 Divisions:

  • Primary School Division: students from 4th, 5th and 6th classes (Republic of Ireland), Primary 6 and Primary 7 (Northern Ireland) are eligible to compete
  • Secondary School Division: students in from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Transition Year (4th), 5th (Pre-leaving Cert) (Republic of Ireland), and Year 8,9,10,11,12,13 (Northern Ireland) are eligible to compete

Schools in each division will be judged in 2 categories:

  • Total Topics Mastered: determined by the total number of mastery points accumulated by all eligible students in the school.
  • Points-per-eligible Student: determined by taking the total number mastery points accumulated by all eligible students, and dividing by the number of eligible students in that school (based on Department of Education data). Schools with a greater proportion of its students competing are more likely to succeed in this category. This judging category also allows a more even playing field for smaller schools in the Challenge.

There is no limit to the number of students or classrooms a school has competing in the Challenge.


In order to compete in the MATHletes Challenge, you will need to create an account on Khan Academy, and signup your students. Although the Challenge doesn't launch until January 5th, if you are brand new to Khan Academy, it is a good idea to get your account created and students signed up with accounts in advance so that you are ready to go! Sign up for updates or check back here for additional information about registration.

Site Orientation & Teacher Toolbox

Not sure where to start with creating an account? Khan Academy has a wealth of resources available for teachers to get started using Khan Academy. Start by watching the first two videos in Khan Academy's Become a Coach toolbox:

A Tour of the Khan Academy Site for Coaches

New Khan Academy learning flow

Get your class online

Follow the Khan Academy’s instructions on how to add your class to your coaching account: