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A maths lab to remove fear of mathematics

Schools in Kolkata are setting up a mathematics laboratory to help students overcome their phobia of the subject and make it more interesting. This a novel concept which enables students to learn and explore mathematical concepts using tools such as Geometers sketchpad.

kolkata Updated: Aug 19, 2008 15:55 IST

Schools are setting up a mathematics laboratory to help students overcome their phobia of the subject and make it more interesting.

The laboratory is a novel concept which enables students to learn and explore mathematical concepts and verify facts and theorems using tools such as the Geometers sketchpad.

The CBSE has directed that 20 per cent of the marks will be allocated to each student from Lab Assessments to be added to final marks, L Balasubramanian, president of School Learning Solutions at NIIT, said.

"The demand for the math lab is such that many non-CBSE board schools like Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan in Kolkata, which is affiliated to West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, have set up math labs in their schools," Balasubramanian said.

The maths lab helps students to understand, internalize, discover and verify the basic mathematical and geometrical concepts through concrete objects and situations, thus building interest and confidence in students learning the subject, N K Sinha, a retired professor of Bose Institute in Kolkata, said.

The laboratory also encourages students to think and discuss among themselves as well as with the teacher thus helping assimilate concepts, Sinha said.

The lab also enables teachers to demonstrate, explain and reinforce abstract mathematical ideas by using concrete objects, models, charts, graphs, pictures and posters.

It costs Rs 8 lakh to set up a 32-seater maths lab and Rs 12 lakh to set up a 60-seater lab.

The CBSE asked its affiliated schools to set up the maths laboratory after the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) through the National Curriculum Framework directed that maths be treated as a prime focus area in schools till 2010, Balasubramanian said.

Several schools in the country have opened the NIIT eGuru Maths Lab in their schools after it was introduced in March this year.

Sinha said the lab would enable the students to verify geometric properties and facts with models or by paper cutting and folding techniques. "It helps the students to build interest and confidence in learning the subject," he said.

The laboratory provides opportunity to exhibit the relatedness of mathematical concepts with everyday life.

Suman Majumdar, a mathematics teacher in a government school in Kolkata, said most of the class VI and XII students in West Bengal have private maths tutors as they are not able to understand the subject in school.

"Parents nowadays want their children to be good in maths. Mathematics is needed if one wants to pursue commerce, accountancy or a degree in pure science subject," Sinha said.