African Maths Initiative

Sharing Initiatives in Maths Education

Mathematics in the Historic Environment

kisumuMany a time Mathematics has been presented in stereotypical texts and styles that feature this subject as difficult and seems impossible to some group of individuals.

As we explore this subject at different academic levels as educators, let’s try and make learning easier and fun by exploring some of its related indoors and outdoors activities.

I recently attended a workshop in Kisumu which was organised by Bridging Ages (BA), an international organization that focuses on the use of local history and how to apply the knowledge to the benefit of the local community today using Time Travel method. In my presentation on learning Mathematics in the Historic Environment during the workshop, we explored various pedagogy on how mathematics can be learnt in a historic environment in a fun way. One of the fruitful approaches of teaching and learning of mathematics based on historical events is using Time Travel methodology, an educational method using local heritage to create reflection on contemporary issues within the community.DCI


Culturally we have been persuaded to think that Mathematics and History are two disciplines that do not share a common ground while teaching. This has been shown even in some of the institutions of higher learning where the two departments do not share  common units or have any form of inter-departmental collaborations.

This is far from the truth. Mathematics and History are related in ways that we cannot imagine. Take for instance one of the scenarios during the grand opening of the Railway station in Kisumu back in 1961. We enacted this historical event using Time Travel method during the workshop. Despite this being a historical event, there are various mathematical concepts that the we can learn from this ; weighing and measuring of cargo, train time table scheduling, passenger ticketing among other concepts. While enacting this scene, pupils tried to relate to this historic event and in the process they learnt different mathematical concepts and ideas that aided in the launch of Kisumu railway station.WhatsApp Image 2018-03-21 at 11.51.16 (1)

Therefore as educators we are tasked with the role of making teaching and learning of Mathematics fun and enjoyable to all without being afraid of venturing out to other disciplines such as History.

Written by

Mike Mumbo


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