African Maths Initiative

Sharing Initiatives in Maths Education

Amagoro Camp - 3 December 2013

 

On December 3rd 2013 we were invited to go and meet a group of campers. They were high school girl students who were about to join Form Four (Kenyan education system). This camp day was divided into three sessions: games, computing and question and answer sessions.

Games were used to show students that maths is about following rules, being innovative, creative and strategic. The games played were: connect 4, tic-tac-toe and “game 15”. They are as described below:

  • In connect 4 two players competed against each other by taking turns to arrange tiles. The winner was the first whose four tiles formed a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line. After the illustration the students were paired up to compete by drawing the game in a piece of squared paper provided.
  • Tic-tac-toe (naughts and crosses) was very similar with connect 4, only that one aligned three naughts (or three crosses). In addition, she could start from anywhere, even the top unlike in connect 4.
  • For game 15, two opponents picked a number between 1 and 9 in turns (without repeating a number). The winner was the first person who picked any three numbers that added to fifteen. Students were asked to figure out “the best number” to start with. From their response, the number “5” was found and the game simplified (and transformed) to tic-tac-toe. By this, the students were shown how some math problems may be translated into simple problems and solved.

In the computing section, students were introduced to GeoGebra. GeoGebra is a dynamic mathematics software for schools that joins Geometry, Algebra and Calculus. They were given a tutorial and shown how to construct a rectangle in GeoGebra. Before constructing, they first summarized the properties of a rectangle and explored the various tools in GeoGebra. The importance of using interactive geometry to construct figures was emphasized. A variety of different geometrical concepts (perpendicular lines, parallel lines, segment between two points, intersecting two objects) were covered. The manual contained other tasks for other geometrical figures like equilateral triangles, Isosceles triangles, regular hexagon and tangents to a circle. The manual was left behind for the students to attempt at their free time.

In the final session, the facilitators gave motivation speeches to students followed by an interactive session where students asked various questions. A sample of the questions they asked touched on how to study math, overcome a negative attitude towards mathematics and how to strategise during the exam time.

We thank all the students for their cooperation and involvement in the sessions.

The following people were involved in this event

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