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Scared of math? Try animation algebra

india Updated: Nov 24, 2009 20:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Mathematics is sweet. But if you find mithai multiplication unpalatable, try animation algebra.

Or some khet calculations in sugarcane fields – kitchen garden, if you don’t feel like visiting a village in the vicinity.

And if this still doesn’t add up, get it straight from quirky math teachers who converged here for a three-day workshop towards making arithmetic fun and magical for children across India.

The workshop, organized by the Assam Sarba Siksha Abhijan Mission, is scheduled to conclude on Thursday.

“Conventional methods of teaching often prevent a child from thinking or calculating, and the fear he or she develops toward mathematics becomes chronic. The element of fun emphasizing how numbers are a part of everyday life goes a long way in killing that dread,” said New Delhi-based TP Sharma, a lecturer with the National Council for Education Research and Training.

Sharma claimed to have had optimum results with the mithai game. One of the games for basic multiplication entails assigning a laddoo to 2 and its multiples, a jalebi to 3 and its multiples and so on. Common multiples are assigned both mithai.

According to Sanjeev K Taneja of Government Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, a bit of animation sweetens mathematics enough to catch the imagination of children. “I have traveled across the country with my animation package that simplifies algebra and erases confusion about natural numbers, whole numbers and integers,” he told Hindustan Times.

Moving graphics explain how adding a zero to natural numbers 1-9 make them whole numbers, or how multiplication is repetitive addition with a different notation. And a cartoon car moving back and forth on a numbered scale does additions and subtractions in a jiffy.

“The success rate in mathematics in Assam is 46 per cent,” said Assam Education Minister Gautam Bora. “The figure is worse in the rural areas, where we plan kheti calculations for children.”

Exercises such as sowing and weeding – and keeping a count in notebooks – are expected to teach them mathematics faster and surer than textbooks.