JIS: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has designated March 5-10 as National Mathematics Week.
Thousands of students from grade four at the primary level through to grade 13 at the secondary level are expected to participate in the fifth staging of the Week, which will be held under the theme ‘Math Counts’, which is the theme for the general national mathematics campaign.
Addressing a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on February 23, National Mathematics Coordinator at the Ministry, Dr. Tamika Benjamin, said the main objective of Mathematics Week “is to help to change the attitudes, the views and experiences of not just our students, but also the teachers and the wider members of the society about mathematics”
“We recognised that one of the issues impacting students’ performance and how the subject is taught is the perception Jamaicans generally have of the subject. So, we tried over the last five years, as part of the public-education campaign, to have a week that focused on changing the experiences that students have,” Dr. Benjamin said.
The Week’s activities will start with a church service on March 5, at the Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston.
On Monday, March 6, the official launch of the activities is scheduled for the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies (UWI), where the Jamaica National-sponsored 2017 Math Teacher of the Year will also be celebrated.
For the first time, road shows will be held at Holy Trinity High School in Kingston, BB Coke High in St. Elizabeth and Hopewell High School in Hanover on March 7. There will also be a live broadcast from Holy Trinity High.
According to Dr. Benjamin, normally there would be a teacher focus activity during the Week, but the decision was taken to focus the activities more on the students. Simultaneously at all three locations, there will be several activities, including a Math scavenger hunt, where students will have the opportunity to use tablets and smartphones to participate in math games.
The main activity of the Week will be the fifth staging of a Mathematics Exposition on the Campus of the UWI on Thursday, March 9. The UWI has partnered with the Ministry to host this event.
This flagship event has grown significantly, with more than 8,000 persons attending last year’s event, up from 2,000 when it was first held in 2013. Some 45 booth holders will be on hand to interact with the participants.
Dr. Benjamin explained that there will be full participation from teacher-training institutions, public- and private-sector organisations and professional bodies. “Exhibitors are asked to create booths designed to show students and teachers how maths relates to everyday life and how maths relates to the profession they are engaged in,” she said.
Highlight of the exposition will be a Math Extravaganza where students and teachers will use maths in artistic ways, such as dub poetry, songs and drama pieces based on the theme. Exhibitors include the: Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Civil Aviation Authority, Port Authority of Jamaica, HEART Trust/NTA, colleges, The Book Merchant Limited, Insurance Association of Jamaica, the Jamaica Defence Force, Shipping Association of Jamaica, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica and many more.
CAPTION: National Mathematics Coordinator at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Tamika Benjamin, addresses JIS ‘Think Tank’ on February 23.