I first visited Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in April 2017 during our second Maths Camp for High School students from communities neighboring the expansive Conservancy. The students are supported by Lewa Education Program. I was happy to be back again a couple of weeks ago for a third Maths Camp together with three of my colleagues for a weeklong Maths Camp for 50 students. We traveled roughly 600 KM from our Maseno office, that’s 25 kilometers from the lakeside Kisumu City to Isiolo County where the remarkably thrilling conservancy is located.
We were lucky to travel during a rainy period and therefore we were treated to breath-taking views from the northern slopes of Mount Kenya. Surrounding farms blossoming with recently grown wheat and expansive conservancies in Nanyuki and Isiolo Counties were scenic to say the least. A drive inside the Conservancy in one of the camp days offered us even more stunning sceneries of vegetation and wildlife.
Like other Maths Camps, we designed the activities that were set to introduce students to a world of real-life maths and hopefully change their attitudes towards the subject. More than often, students do not get know about Mathematical fields they could venture in until their college years. This was a perfect opportunity for us to introduce fascinating applied mathematics concepts that will stretch students minds and gain exposure to new and complex mathematical thinking through real-world experiences.
One of the themes that we ran in this camp was cryptography which is a fascinating and expanding branch of computer science and math that involves the science of hiding data. One of the interesting responses was the fact that students acknowledged that Mathematics is an everyday affair and that you must apply logic while solving mathematical problems.
We also had modeling, a theme that perfectly blended with the setup; a wildlife conservancy. This is another interdisciplinary field of study, merging biology and math to model natural and biological processes. The work includes epidemic modeling, population genetic studies, and more.
Another interesting theme on STEM that was being run by Lewa Education Program team. It was an intersection of Science, Math, and Technology where students combined these skills to assemble Lego robots. This will hopefully inspire and develop builders of tomorrow. In one of the journals that I read, “It was a real, fun and challenging task to assemble a car using lego building blocks without using a manual.”
During the last days, the students wanted us to extend the camp. They seemed to be hungry for more activities and this is one of the things that usually give me joy during these camps. The fascinating maths concepts seemed to excite the students in a big way and like I wrote in the first sections of this blog, these real-world experiences with Maths will inspire the students to become tomorrow’s workforce comprising of critical and logical thinkers, problem solvers, communicators, collaborators and creators in whichever field they choose to venture in.