African Maths Initiative

Sharing Initiatives in Maths Education

Computers for mathematics at Masaba Friends

Between 18 - 20 September 2014 AMI was at Masaba Friends Secondary School in Kiminini, Western Kenya. The principle, Mr Onacha, attended the the 2nd Maseno Maths Camp and having recently become a principle, was keen that we visited to help the school make the best use of their computers, particularly for mathematics.

Before using the computers, we had sessions with each class from Form 1 to Form 3. In these sessions we presented some games and activities that have mathematical ideas underlying their concepts. For students they were seeing mathematics in a way they had not done before and understanding how ideas such as strategy and problem solving are skills used in mathematics

As well as meeting the individual classes, we had an opportunity to speak to the school's maths club. We introduced some puzzles to them and discussed their usefulness in developing good mathematical thinking. We left the group with a selection of puzzles to work on and also suggested they challenge other students to answer the puzzles by creating "puzzle posters" to put up around the school.

We then assisted in reviving the dormant computer lab in the school. Most computers were fully functional but had been left aside collecting dust in the unused computer lab. After connecting all computers, we installed some free, educational software including GeoGebra, Gapminder, MSW Logo and Scratch.

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We held a session in GeoGebra for a selection of students representative of all classes in forms 1 to 3.Students were exploring the concepts or rotation and reflection of polygons and other shapes after being given a brief introduction. Some students were even able to create animations of their rotations in GeoGebra! As well as the software, guide book and activities were left on the computers so that students and teachers could continue to have sessions using the software without needing to be experts yet, using the software.

10542978_726152284105746_4125649759254679863_oWe also held a whole school session looking at world data in Gapminder, showing teachers what can also be done with a single computer and a projector. Students were asked to think about what child mortality is and what effects it. Using Gapminder we then explored the data as students learn how statistics are used to answer important questions in health.

After the sessions, the principle decided that there would be a dedicated time every week for each class to spent time in the computer lab, so that they could continue to explore ideas in GeoGebra, Gapminder and other software.

AMI agreed to keep in contact with the schools teachers to provide support and make a further visit next term to see how they are progressing.

The following people were involved in this event

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