Post from February, 2012

Reflections on the mini maths camps

Monday, 27. February 2012 16:42

So we've finished our first run of ten schools (>2200 students!) and feel that we went some way towards achieving our aims of introducing the students to technology and giving them a taste of what we feel mathematics is really about.

We were suprised and pleased that there are mathematics clubs in many schools, and we tried to encourage, support and enhance these existing initiatives.  We recommended that the mathematics in these clubs should be extra curricular - e.g. games and puzzles - and left behind some resources to aid with this.

We tried to involve teachers as much as possible in these mini maths camps and discussed the possiblilty of an e-learning Masters course in Mathematics Innovation for school teachers at Maseno University.

A number of schools asked us to come back, and it is clear that we were apprectiated.  But as a volunteer group, this isn't sustainable, so what is the future of the mini maths camps?

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The reality!

Sunday, 19. February 2012 17:36

So last Thursday saw us at Rang'ala Girls High School near Ugunja, and for the last two days (three if you include being in a broken down car!) we've been in Kisii visiting four schools  - St Stephens Nyamware S.S., Riondong'a High School, Gianchere Friends S.S and Boruma S.S.

They are very different schools with different facilities - one with the no power and the rest with varying number of computers. Interestingly the one with no power has computers ready for when they do get power. We have interacted with a varying number of students in each school but our cumulative total of students so far is over 1300 students.

This, and other factors such as power cuts, room dynamics, projector issues, and changes in our team has meant that our program has varied greatly from school to school - I don't think any session as gone according to the program! - but we think the key messages have come across.

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Program for the mini maths camps

Sunday, 19. February 2012 17:25

Intros

Between the introductions from the team we hope the message comes across that maths is something you can enjoy, it is a subject that you can get 100% in at school, there is so much more to mathematics than what you learn in school, computers have changed the way we do maths and computers can be used to learn mathematics.

Introduction to Maseno Maths Camp

19th -25th August

Learn how maths is used in the real world.
The beauty of mathematics - more than calculations
A whole week with access to computers.
Learn how to use new software.
Meet mathematicians and teachers from different countries.
Card games every evening

Games

Shall we play a game? (obligatory joke about not bringing sports kit as the word 'game' is mainly used in a sports context)

Play 21's at the front and then ask students to play

What has this got to do with maths?  Maths is all about learning the rules.

First session

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Idea behind mini maths camps

Sunday, 19. February 2012 16:30

The mother of one of the students of the 1st Maseno Maths Camp telephoned the week after the camp asking what we had done to her daughter. She said that she had been round at a friend’s house every day since she got back as this friend had a computer and she wanted to carry on exploring the mathematics she had learnt. A week later, when school term started, we received a telephone call from one of the student’s teachers asking what we had done to her. The teacher asked if we could come to his school and do a one week mathematics camp there for all his students.

Unfortunately we don’t have the resources for this, but what we have decided to do is a series of ‘mini maths camps’ – half day taster sessions in schools where three of the sessions are given and the key software introduced. All the resources that we created during the week long camp will be left behind in DVD format for the school and students to use.

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