Bringing Mathematics to Life

Injecting fun and excitement into learning mathematics has been a constant challenge for educators. One Professor decided to adopt the gamification approach to deliver abstract mathematical concepts.

At Sunway University, the School of Mathematical Sciences advocates that mathematics should be taught in a fun, easy-to-understand, student-centred interactive way to help learners develop an affinity for the subject.

The Fun Mathematics Camp was a two-month programme initiated by Professor Ho Chee Kit, Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences, who passionately believes that abstract mathematical ideas can be taught through gamification and would help to develop participants’ appreciation of mathematics. Participants were primary and secondary school students from the community, aged from 11 to 15 years old. They engaged in daily online classes in preparation for the competition at the end of the Camp. “Every participant was given the opportunity to take learning into their own hands as they explored obstacles, brainstormed ideas, and creatively resolved mathematical problems,” he stated.

Through this camp, participants had the opportunity to take part in specially designed interactive mathematical games and indulged in non-traditional and innovative mathematics challenges which exposed them to the real-life application of mathematics. According to Professor Ho, developing the minds of the future generation to embrace mathematics is a key element in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education as it will enable them to be more competitive in facing a world of endless possibilities.

Through various project activities such as “Mathemagic”, Algebra in Action, Electrifying Calculation Techniques, number tricks, card tricks, mathematical games, specially-designed mini competitions, demonstrations and presentations, participants learned the importance of mathematics. These were also aimed at improving logical thinking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

“It is easy for children to learn these days. This is an absolute advantage for them. It caught me by surprise that there’s so much to learn about mathematics!” said Evan Tey, a student of the BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Studies, who was assisting at the camp.

Claudia Tia, another student assistant from the Sunway Actuarial & Financial Excellence (SAFE) club, said she was really impressed with the young participants’ enthusiasm and mental capacity. “They invested a lot of effort into their work. The participants even created an excel spreadsheet that was beyond my expectations. They are young yet so capable of explaining their work to the audience,” she said.

“I was inspired by the students as most of them were aged 15 and below. I was moved by their passion and interest in mathematics and it inspired me to really go and learn other forms or topics related to mathematics instead of just what is in the school syllabus. All thanks to Professor Ho for developing these activities which encourage learning beyond the classroom,” said Wu Wen Qi, a first year BSc (Hons) Actuarial Studies student who was also assisting at the Camp.

The Fun Mathematics Camp had definitely brought mathematics to life and ignited participants’ interest in the subject.

Professor Ho Chee Kit
School of Mathematical Sciences
ckho@sunway.edu.my

 

This article was adapted from Blaze (Issue 54).