The Importance of Math in the World Today

Math, along with science, is considered as one of the most difficult subjects in school. If you ask a number of students, very few would probably say that math is their favorite because a huge number of students actually hate math. The complicated, sometimes long, formulas and solutions make it difficult for students to understand the lessons. However, sometimes it would only take a proper method and a good teacher for students to comprehend and cope up with the lesson. There are also math enrichment classes for children which could help them with their lessons.

Estyn  will tell us about a science, technology, engineering and mathematics enrichment program that drives curriculum development.

A science, technology, engineering and mathematics enrichment program that drives curriculum development

Information about the school

Glan-y-Môr is an 11-16 community focused school in Burry Port with 480 pupils on roll of whom approximately 30% are eligible for free school meals. The school was formally federated with Ysgol Bryngwyn School in 2014 becoming the pioneer pilot for secondary federations in Wales. Glan-y-Môr works in strong partnership both with its primary feeders and with the local FE provider through 14-19 initiatives. The school is currently a pioneer school for professional learning.

Context and background to sector-leading practice

Glan-y-Môr introduced a STEM (science technology engineering maths) enrichment programme in September 2014, initially as an extra-curricular activity to promote transition.  Since then it has rapidly evolved as a key strategy in driving curriculum development to meet the requirements of the new curriculum for Wales. The aim of the programme was to engage and excite pupils about the career paths offered in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. The programme is based on the principles of active learning, raising aspirations and increasing opportunities. The school is confident that this STEM enrichment programme is already helping its pupils to develop in line with the recommendations of the Donaldson report and its 4 key principles. The strategies and lessons learned from implementing this successful STEM programme are now being applied to the main curriculum. Read more here.

Glan-y-Mor is just one of the schools that offer enrichments programs for students in different subjects. One of the goals of their program is to encourage students to take a career in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.

On a different topic, Esther Duflo will tell us about the new findings on children’s math learning in India which demonstrates the importance of field research for cognitive science. Let us read below.

New findings on children’s math learning in India demonstrate the importance of field research for cognitive science

Cognitive Science is a relatively new field that has made dramatic advances over the last decades: advances that shed light on our conscious and unconscious minds, bring insights into fields from neuroscience to economics, and now play no small role in the development of machines that are smart enough to take over tasks that until now, only humans could perform. 

But cognitive science has underperformed conspicuously in one domain: Its development has brought no clear breakthroughs in an area where it seemed likely to be most useful: human development and education. 

A new report in Science suggests why: Just as clinical trials are critical to enhancing human health and medicine, field experiments are critical to understanding human learning. 

New findings from a team of economists and psychologists at MIT and Harvard, working together with Pratham, a non-governmental organization that seeks to make sure that every child in India is in school and learning well, demonstrate both the feasibility and the necessity of such experiments. Read more here.

The research done has given them methods for assessing children’s knowledge. They said that the research doesn’t tell us how to create better schools, but it gives us the tools to do field experiments that can.

Moving forward, some parents send their children to enrichment classes every week and people are wondering if it necessary. So Nirmala Karuppiah, through her article below, will tell us if children really need enrichment classes.

Commentary: Do our young really need expensive enrichment classes?

SINGAPORE: Many parents in Singapore spend weekends sending their young children to enrichment classes.

These classes can take many forms, from early preparatory classes that introduce concepts children will eventually learn in primary school, to broad-based programmes that seek to help young children develop basic motor and social skills, to creative arts classes that encourage individual expression.

However, are expensive, structured enrichment classes really necessary for children in their early years? Would children be left behind, if they do not attend such enrichment classes?

Children are naturally creative and curious. What is more important is for parents to provide them with lots of opportunities to support both their creativity and curiosity in their early years – and this may not involve expensive, structured enrichment classes. Read more here.

Actually, the decision is up to the parents. But we could always save up without taking away the chance of learning from our children. We could actually do it on our own. We could go to the park with our children and let them explore. We could always educate them during simple activities inside and outside of home. Remember that learning doesn’t only take place in school, it can happen anywhere. Math, just like any other subjects, could be learned and enriched anywhere and anytime.