authors archive

Virtual Maths Camp

Tuesday, 24. April 2012 13:54

We are anticipating a high volume of applicants for the camp this year and subsequent years and so not everyone who applies will be able to come. We are looking to develop a virtual camp to run at the same time as the real camp. There are already resources, ideas and puzzles of the week that are currently on our Maseno Maths Camp website, but the idea for a virtual camp is going to be more than a platform for resources.  The concept will be to use the computer to build an envirnonment where students can explore concepts in a microworld.

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ICME conference

Tuesday, 24. April 2012 13:42

Last week saw the final paper submissions for the ICME conference in South Korea in July.  Several of the faciliators from the Maseno Maths Camp are presenting papers, one of which describes the camp and future plans.  This is a great opportunity to attract more international attention for the camp and we are all hugely excited.

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Saturday, 14. April 2012 19:47

Welcome to the blogging site for the Maseno Maths Camp, an annual maths camp for school children held in Maseno University in Western Kenya.

This site is for you if you are interested in
- interacting with challenging mathematics in a fun way

- becoming involved in the Maseno Maths Camp

- designing and or running a maths camp yourself

Feedback on any of the posts which follow would be much appreciated.

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Chance conversations

Friday, 2. March 2012 12:25

A couple of ideas for modelling in August:

An engineer travelling to London talked about having to check the harmonics for a sports stadium that was going to be used for a concert during the olympics.  You've got to be careful about the beat of the music if people are going to be jumping up and down at the same time.  Here is an article that puts this in a slightly more technical way!  Lots of potential here for a session on modelling.

Nike have designed a wristband called "Fuelband" which measures your activity and converts it into one measurement which they call NikeFuel.  The concept is that you can have a common measurement for different sports and you can record your exercise.  But how do they take your movements and convert it to one number?  It would be interesting to think about their model at the camp.  How to do it without endorsing Nike is another matter ...!


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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?

Category:2011 Maseno Maths Camp, General Interest | Comments (1) | Author:

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


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


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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Monday, 30. January 2012 13:33

We used Geogebra to allow the students to create geometrical functions, and see the links between geometry and algebra.

One activity used this starting point in Geogebra:


and asked the students to plot all the points that were equidistant from the line and the point.  It is set up so that the students create y=x^2.

The students had a lesson on spherical geometry - showing them that the angles in a triangle do not always add up to 180, and a lecture on reflectional symmetry in euclidean geometry, spherical geometry and hyperbolic geometry.

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Computer based statistics

Monday, 30. January 2012 12:15

This theme showed the power of computers in understanding statistics and in analysing huge amounts of data in an easy visual way.

The students were introduced to CAST, an online statistics textbook which uses interactive applets for explanations and practice and for student practice.

Students watched Hans Rosling's fascinating video showing 200 years of history in four minutes, and had the opportunity to use the Gapminder software for themselves.  Students explored worldwide trends, but were able to focus on Kenya using the trace function.  The software initiates mathematical discussions such as "What is a logarithmic scale, and why is it often used instead of a linear scale?"


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