Math-A-Thon holds to break chain of teaching methodology

  • University students use sports, local games to develop creative, exciting ways to teach mathematics to schoolgoers

ISLAMABAD: In order to breaking the chain of traditional teaching methodology for mathematics, the third Math-A-Thon took place on Tuesday here at the COMSATS University, where students used sports and local games to develop creative and exciting ways to teach mathematics to school students of Grade 1 through 10.

The Math-A-Thon was a joint initiative of COMSATS, Code for Pakistan, Numaish Karachi and Alif Ailaan, in collaboration with the Pakistan Alliance for Math and Science. Several Math-A-Thons are being planned to be held all across Pakistan in different universities.

A total of 60 teams from 10 different departments of COMSATS joined students of three girls’ high schools and three boys’ high schools from Islamabad. Each team consisted of three university students and one government school student from Grade 9th or 10th.

The judges’ panel, consisting of Zain Maken (Teach for Pakistan), Faisal Laghari (LearnOBots), Dr Seemab Latif (AWAZ), Neha Noor (Pakistan Innovation Foundation), Badar Muneer and Amal Hayat from the Knowledge Platform, and Deputy DEO Masud Ahmad awarded all the participating groups with cash prizes and certificates.

Children begin to learn and use mathematics in their daily lives from a fairly young age. However, current education system struggles to make theoretical mathematical concepts relevant to the daily lives of the children. The dominant culture of rote-learning and result-based outcomes in education hampers critical thinking of children, resulting in poor learning outcomes.

The Annual Status of Education Report 2016 (ASER) reveals that more than 50% of grade 5 students cannot perform two-digit division sums based on the curriculum of grade 2. The math score for the Class IV students in the NEAS exams conducted in 2016 was 484 out of 1,000.

With the current level of learning outcomes of children, the need for innovation in the traditional style of teaching and learning must be addressed as a priority. Gamification of mathematics is one step towards breaking the chain of traditional teaching methodology for mathematics.

Dr Seemab Latif was of the view that she had picked up a few interesting concepts during the students’ presentations and suggested universities and involved institutions to organise school-level Math-A-Thons to popularise math learning.