On March 14, mathematicians around the world celebrate Pi Day, a symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant.
To commemorate this day Aga Khan University Institute Educational Development, Pakistan organised a mathematics teachers’ conference, in an effort to provide teachers a platform to demonstrate their analytical and problem-solving skills in the subject.
Teachers from different schools including private, government, community-based, and Madrassa school systems in urban and rural settings in Pakistan, India, and East Africa participated in the conference.
The conference was held online due to Covid-19 restrictions. Three hundred teachers submitted their video clips to show how mathematics skills can be used in our daily lives. After careful evaluation by a panel of experts, selected videos were shown on the conference day.
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For example, in one video a teacher from a madrassa in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was explaining division to his primary school students using pebbles. The lesson was taught bilingually, switching from Urdu to Pushto to make it easy for his students to grasp the concept.
In another video, a teacher explained angles with the help of plastic sheets. Another participant asked students to go from one point on the circle to another point walking through the centre. The goal was to make students understand the relationship between the footsteps taken by the two students.
The concept behind the conference was to emphasis the importance of employing skills and tactics to make it easy for students to understand difficult topics in math.
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The keynote speakers at the event were Professor Helen Chick, from the University of Tasmania, Australia, and Dr Lee Ngan Hoe National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Dr chick stressed the importance of teaching through examples and activities to help understand key concepts. Further, Sheema Kermani, founder of Tehrik-e-Niswan Cultural Action Group and promoter of Bharatanatyam dance presented the relationship between mathematics and art through dance.