In order to be a strong math student, there is so much more involved than just being able to do arithmetic. Being able to calculate numbers is important but so is understanding what you are doing and being able to explain it to others as well. On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, students from MK schools attended a math gathering in Wagmatcook to do just that!
In previous years, a different initiative took place, which allowed students to create a science fair type of project. While this encouraged students to take more of an interest in the math in their every day lives, most teachers and principals felt that the students were starting to become disengaged with the process. A planning committee composed of math teachers came up with a new plan to spark that student engagement again. They decided that students should work on group projects that would involve taking a problem and exploring it quite deeply. The students would work together over a few weeks or months and then present the project at the math gathering.
The event began with a formal opening for everyone involved which included the honour song, smudging and an official welcoming. After that, each team presented their projects to the whole group in attendance, followed by a presentation to different classes. Some of the teams were from lower elementary while others were from high school. In one case, a grade 5/6 class was asked to present to a grade 9 class in the school. The students were so confident and comfortable with their work, that they did an excellent job of explaining their project to an older group of students.
The response from teachers and principals to the new format was very positive. They noticed a marked increase in engagement from previous years, not only during the presentations but during the project completion in school. “I am very happy that it is evolving into something more meaningful for our students and teachers,” said Newell Johnson, Principal. Her sentiment is shared by all as the planning committee has already set a date in September to prepare for the gathering next May!