Welcome to the 2020 Supporting African Maths Initiatives Newsletter!
2020 has been a year like no other, our traditional methods of working and supporting projects have been curtailed through the restrictions of the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, it’s not the SAMI way to give up – we have learnt to adapt and adopt new ways of collaborating. The work has continued to evolve and, through the dedicated, skilled and inspiring work of our volunteers and supporters, delivered impressive results to be proud of. We offer a heart-felt thank you and well-done to everyone for exceptional work in extraordinary circumstances.
Virtual Maths Camp
A cornerstone of SAMI’s work, Maths Camps are taking on a different format this year, we’ve taken the experience virtual! Proving that necessity is the mother of all invention, the challenges presented by the COVID19 pandemic have given us the opportunity to bring countries together and collaborate to create a collection of events and learning resources. These are available across different platforms and delivery mechanisms and will have a lasting impact. Existing resources have been refined to be used with ease by students, teachers and facilitators, regardless of their previous experience.
Pause and Go Videos are 10-minute videos designed with planned pauses to help facilitate a 45-minute learning session. Each has its own facilitator guidelines and the option of subtitles.
Engaging in this way, gives the students time to explore and discuss solutions as they would in a face-to-face maths camp but with the potential to reach a far wider audience.
You can see all the videos created so far on YouTube. Here’s a clip of puzzle #4: The Ants Problem
A Chatbot that provides fun ways for learners to challenge themselves, be it through puzzles, games, or fun facts. We have recently launched the bot on the platform telegram, and in the future could also be shared via WhatsApp, Facebook or even as SMS to provide access to those without smartphones.
The Chatbot not only asks questions, but can also respond to feedback to notify if an answer is correct or not, or even offer tips for further extension to challenge all levels of student.
Are you looking for a pocket-sized Maths Camp? Look no further than the Maths Camp Playing Cards! We have developed a set of 54 playing cards, each with a different engaging maths activity, game or fact. The cards can be used by seasoned maths campers or the inexperienced maths wannabe. Each card has enough information for a stand-alone activity. Further extension work and information can be found by using the link to either the VMC Chatbot or QR code to a dedicated website. No digital access? No problem, there’s bags of information in the accompanying booklet.
We are finalising print details at the moment, and expect to have the packs ready early in the new year!
Free to download, the SAMI Maths Club App is a tremendous on the go resource to foster a love of mathematics. Fun games, puzzles and facts are designed with facilitator notes and extensions that can be used to support either peer-learning or teacher led activities.
More than 50 activities are currently available, and with many thanks to our volunteers we have also started translating them all into French!
This is just a snapshot of the impressive body of work developed by our volunteers and supporters. For more details please visit virtualmathscamp.com.
We are always looking for volunteers who share our passion for maths to help facilitate, run and get involved with the Maths Camps, virtual or face-to-face. If you would like to be involved in our dynamic team please contact [email protected], we would be thrilled to have you on board.
We have VMC’s initially planned for 5 countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Kenya to take place either at the end of 2020 or into 2021.
Kenya have already had a successful pilot camp between the 18th and 20th November and used it to showcase the new resources. Read a report of the camp here. The team in Ghana held an equally successful camp from the 23rd to the 27th of November, the report can be found here.
We are looking to raise £10,000 to keep the project growing and developing across Africa, you can see our progress here. Our two fundraising focus points will be to print and distribute at least 1000 decks of cards at £5 each and support 50 small group maths camps each costing at most £100.
Our in-country partners are looking for ways to enable their volunteers and teachers to support small groups of participants to experience Math Camp sessions together. Each group’s needs are different, but some basic support in the form of internet access, facilitator expenses, and other assorted costs could make a real difference in enabling interactions in different countries.
Facebook Live teaching in Togo
In response to the closing of schools during lockdown in Togo, we are really proud to have been part of #[email protected], a collaboration with Initiative Mathèmatiques au Togo and Centre for Research and Opinion Polls. Starting in April 2020 a maths course for middle and secondary school students was delivered directly on IMTogo’s Facebook page. Facilitating 8 classes a week, inspiring instructors enabled students to continue their core studies at home, with further fun extension classes on Sundays.
During the initial 8 week phase, the project reached 1800 followers. However, these posts have been shared further between students, even beyond the Togolese area: the reach has been remarkable.
The second phase focused on preparing the students for their exams. There were some internet connectivity issues which led to compromised video quality but the resourceful instructors found a work-around by posting images. Indeed, during the second phase there was an interest in using more images as they required less costly internet access.
SAMI provided £176.14 towards the project with further logistical support from CROP. A report on the first phase is here.
Focus on Kenya
The Enhancing Maths Education in Primary, Secondary and University Level Project ran from September 2019 to September 2020. Considering the restrictions of COVID-19 the results have been remarkable. The targets for the project were to reach 20 schools with the participation of 40 boys and 40 girls. These targets were exceeded by reaching 62 schools and engaging an impressive 925 girls and 660 boys! Read the full report here.
‘Tis the season to share Pi(e)!
Our traditional methods of fundraising have been curtailed this year, it’s difficult to fundraise together when we are all apart. We’re thinking outside the box and were wondering if you could share your festive Pi, however large or small, with SAMI?
Can you think of something Pi related you could do to raise funds? Sponsored 3.14 mile skip, live without the internet for 31.42 hours, raise £314.16 learning Pi to 314 places, raise £3,131.59 building a 3,131.59cm high pastry π? We’d love to hear your ideas please!
Improvements in our communication
In order to improve our communication with SAMI members, we would welcome any feedback you may have. What would you like to see more of? Do you prefer your news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in email? Is there something you feel, as a member, you are missing out on? Please share any thoughts or ideas [email protected] and we’ll see how we can help.
See you in 2021!
A year ago we could never have predicted just how much 2020 would change all our lives. The pandemic has altered so many things, not least how we think about Supporting African Maths Initiatives. It is a great testament to our teachers, supporters, volunteers and collaborators that we leave the year with our educational resources in great shape, with bags of potential for growth and expansion. The way we share mathematics has been changed immeasurably and enabled more countries than ever to work together. Our SAMI community has much to look forward to in 2021 and we are glad to have you with us.