Artistic touch to teaching maths

Workshop to sensitise maths teachers and science communicators

Teachers at a national workshop in Puducherry on Friday._ Photo: S.S.Kumar

Teachers at a national workshop in Puducherry on Friday._ Photo: S.S.Kumar

Walking into a room where a group of people are folding pieces of colourful paper into different shapes would, at first glance, make you think you had walked into an arts and crafts classroom. Making a paper crane or a butterfly is hardly something that would be associated with mathematics, but making that association is an important part of being able to teach mathematics effectively.

This was the message that Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi, in association with the All India People’s Science Network was trying to deliver at a national workshop on sensitisation of mathematics teachers and science communicators. ‘There is something mathematical about everything that happens in life. When the teachers make students see this point of view, then there will be a change in the way students learn math’ – this was the theme behind the workshop.

Better understanding

Typically, mathematics is seen as a dry subject. Most of the time, students don’t even know what they are solving and simply apply a formula to the problem and get a result. Scoring high marks in an examination is not an indication of understanding mathematics.

However, by changing the way teachers teach the subject, it is possible to bring about a change in attitude to the subject, organisers of the programme said.


The art of origami, for example, teaches a lot about geometry and modelling. More importantly, however, if you take any mathematical formula, for example (a+b){+2}= a{+2}+2ab+b {+2} , do the teachers discuss with their students how the formula comes about. Do they explain where it can be found in real life? Do the teachers actually make the learning of mathematics easy for the children by relating it to day to day experiences?

These were all questions that need to be explored, which is why the workshop, K. Vijayamurthy from Pondicherry Science Forum said.

“When you look at many of the nation-wide educational surveys including the ASER Report, one big problem that the students of Puducherry seem to face is mathematics learning.

In terms of mathematics, Puducherry falls behind States that are supposed to be educationally backward.

Despite having so many good private and government schools, if the students are not learning mathematics properly, there is definitely a problem,” he said.

The workshop was conducted by senior scientist of the Vigyan Prasar T.V Venkateswaran.

It was inaugurated by Director of School Education E. Vallavan and Director of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment M. Dwarakanath.



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