Introducing Math Circles to Kenya
The Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences (SIMS) hosted the Global Math Circle leaders training from October 28 to November 01, 2019. The training was organized by the SIMS in partnership with African Maths Initiative and Kenyatta University.
Math Circles are opportunities for small groups of people within the same age group, from the very young to adults, to engage with mathematical ideas as they take part in discussions where they give conjectures in the process of exploring a solution to an open-ended accessible mathematical problem. Math Circles allow participants to discover mathematical structures through collegial exchange and logical argument in an atmosphere of respect for one another’s ideas thus building confidence in themselves as legitimate mathematical thinkers.
Training Math Circle leaders
The training, facilitated by Masake Kane from Senegal, involved instruction on how to lead Math Circles and practical sessions on implementation of Math Circles with children. About 20 potential Math Circle leaders from the different institutions participated in the training: Kianda School, Consolata School, St. Mary’s School, Chelezo Secondary School, St Michael’s School, St Mary’s Viwandani Secondary School, Mawewa Primary School, African Mathematics Initiative, Education Development Trust, Kenyatta University and SIMS.
About 90 children, ages 4 to 16 took part in the Math Circle sessions. It was a week of learning for both leaders and children. It was exciting to see children pose, revise their conjectures and respond to each other’s conjectures. The trainee Math Circle leaders learning involved, among other things, creating engaging, accessible mathematical problems and navigating the uncertain terrain of moving the mathematical conversation forward while incorporating some unanticipated conjectures from the children.
This article was written by Dr. Mary Ochieng, Director, Research and Graduate Training.
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