Last week we hosted the Annual AIS Kuwait Math Night, this is a big event for our school community and one which is well attended and this year was no exception. Children and their families from across the school came to participate in math games and activities, as well as view work exhibited by our MYP and DP students.
Why host a Math Night?
Maths can be a polarising subject, ask around a few friends, colleagues or relatives and you’ll likely find someone really excited about maths and someone who absolutely hates it. In school we often see a drop-off in students who identify themselves as liking maths beyond primary school and more children identifying themselves as ‘bad’ at maths. Events like this, which build up Math in a positive way, share it with the community and make learning fun won’t completely overhaul this, but they can start to create more positive associations with the subject. On top of this, we have so much great learning taking place in that opportunities to share this and celebrate learning should surely be captialised upon. Celebrating learning together with friends, family and teachers is a great way to strengthen our learning community and show that we value trying, failing, trying again and learning over ‘good grades’. Oh, and it’s fun!
What does Math Night look like?
Here at AIS we have a different theme for Math Night each year, last year in coincided with the Winter Olympics, this year with Pi Day so these have been natural connections to make. Pi Day was particularly fun as we had both Pi-rates and Pies as ways to help our younger learners connect!
Our older students (MYP and DP) share their learning in an walkthrough exhibition whilst our PYP division goes for a more hands on approach. Children attend with their family and go around to activities run by each grade level to have fun practicing their maths skills with their family. They have a little card to collect stamps for each activity and our parent support group donated gift cards to do a prize draw for students who participated.
Below are a few photos from the event:
Reflections and Considerations
This year I felt like Math Night for my division (PYP) was successful (MYP and DP were coordinated by our Math department so I don’t want to reflect for them!) with great activities from our teachers and lots of family involvement. Huge positives for us were:
- Our teachers were (as always) enthusiastic, creative and passionate – this carries through into the activities they design and the way they share them with the children. This event simply wouldn’t work without their commitment.
- Activities were exciting and engaging, and encouraged thinking! Everything was hands on, minds on which made it fun. I was fortunate enough to be talking to children as they left to go home asking them ‘What was most challenging?’ and ‘What was the most fun?’ and the only time a child struggled to answer was when they couldn’t decide between 2 activities!
- Our community involvement was great – the AIS Parent Support Group helped out with running the main entrance handing out score cards and giving directions, they also moved around the school helping things to run smoothly and provided prizes. The parents were also a great help at welcoming other families and ensuring everyone felt welcome and involved from the moment they stepped through the door.
Moving forwards I have a few questions to consider for next year:
- How do we make it more family orientated? (i.e. get more parents playing the games!) I’m thinking we might look at a next year being a friendly contest between family members to increase interaction and strengthen the ‘family’ aspect of Math Night even further.
- Can we help support parents by letting them experience inquiry based math?
- Is there a way to recognise/celebrate all those who participate (eek – we’re a large school!) rather than a prize draw approach?
Pure mathematicians just love to try unsolved problems – they love a challenge.Andrew Wiles