Raissa Malu

Math is fun, join us !

Guess what? This week is Maths Week.

This Saturday, 14th March 2020 is the first International Day of Mathematics proclaimed by UNESCO during the 40th session of the General Conference on 26th November 2019. When I heard about this at the beginning of the year, I thought: "Phew! Fortunately, we had chosen for the 7th edition of Science and Technology Week to unveil mathematics." You can imagine the shame if we had missed the year of the first International Day of Mathematics! I don't even dare to think about it. But with the Universe doing things right (Covid-19 apart 😉), this year we're going to have a lot of fun. 😊

This week deserved an article to present two projects related to the theme. The first one is the official portal of this first International Day of Mathematics (#IDM) that I invite you to visit.

Mathematics and beauty

My friend Gisèle Mudiay recently wrote, sharing a Tweet: "I never thought that math, art and beauty could be found in the same sentence. I was wrong. I'm changing my mind...". She had been impressed by an article presenting the book Beautiful Math published in Scientific American magazine.

If, like her, you want to be dazzled, I strongly advise you to visit the site Mathematics is everywhere. We'll be talking about it at the Village des sciences on April 21st and 22nd at the Gombe Institute. 😉

The Pi-Day

But do you know why the date of 14th March was chosen for this international celebration? Because this date is already celebrated in many countries as the Pi day. Americans indeed write this date as 3/14 and the mathematical constant Pi is about 3.14. Math is fun! 😊

The second project, the second good news if you are planning to participate in the Science and Technology Week 😊, is the development of a tool for assessing students' learning achievements in mathematics by the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education together with the company Whizz Education through the Education Project for Quality and Relevance of Teaching at Secondary and University levels. It is the Math Whizz tool which will be officially presented at the Village des sciences.

A virtual mentor

Math Whizz is an intelligent learning assessment system, a virtual mentor that uses intelligent adaptive algorithms to simulate the behaviour of a human mentor. The goal is to provide each student with an experience that meets his or her individual needs and learning pace. To do this, the virtual mentor captures the student's cognitive data, such as how s/he works on a problem, whether s/he understands the issue, the type of help s/he needs and how long it takes to complete a lesson.

After an initial assessment, the virtual mentor creates an individualized and constantly adapting learning path according to the student's initial and evolving profile. He/she sequences the lessons with the aim of helping the student to achieve a balanced learning profile, which means that each student will receive more attention on the subjects where he/she has difficulties.

Interactive lessons

Lessons are interactive, with the mentor providing prompts to integrate basic knowledge and skills. When students are struggling, the mentor is able to direct them to content that addresses their identified gaps.

In the following video, you will discover the experience in Kenya where the Math Whizz tool is already in use (the use of the virtual mentor in our classrooms can also help our teachers manage crowded classrooms through the recent application of the free tutorial 😉).

An adaptation to Congo

For the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Math Whizz virtual mentor has been fully adapted to our context and to the new Science Learning Domain (SLD) curricula for grades 7 and 8 of Basic Education (1st and 2nd secondary) developed by the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education.

It will be tested in 20 schools in 6 cities across the country: Kinshasa, Kikwit, Lubumbashi, Mbandaka, Kisangani and Tshikapa, and will reach approximately 5,000 pupils during this pilot phase.

The scheme contributes to improving the quality of mathematics teaching and learning. Above all, don't miss the opportunity to discover it and exchange with the Whizz Education team on 21st and 22nd April at the Village des sciences set up at the Gombe Institute, free entrance from 9am to 3pm.

Math is fun, join us! 😊

This post was first published on LinkedIn. It has been translated in English by Afriscitech.


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