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Hillside Primary takes math to a new height

Published:Wednesday | April 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMOrantes Moore
Students at Hillside Primary and Infant School in Islington, St Mary participate in a math activity.



In a bid to improve numeracy rates and dispel students' anxieties over fractions, digits, and decimal points, educators at Hillside Primary and Infant School in Islington, St Mary, last week launched an innovate one-day exhibition dedicated to mathematics.

Hillside Primary's math expo, which encouraged children to recognise how the subject affects their daily routines, included participation from two Ministry of Education (MoE) specialists, and attracted basic and primary school teachers from the neighbouring communities of Baccas Wood, New Orange Hill, and Robin's Bay.

The head of the school's math committee, Sandrine Burton, told Rural Xpress: "What we're doing today is important and we hope it will help to motivate our students because most of them have a fear of mathematics, so we're trying to get them more involved and see if we can push that fear away.

"I think the fear stems from the fact the students have been told over and over that dealing with numbers is hard. But today, we have practical things they can play with and touch to help them realise that math is an everyday thing, even if it's something as simple as weighing a chicken on the scale.

"Even though in everyday life you see math as one plus one or two plus two, it's something we all do every day. When you walk home, how many kilometres is that? When you go to the tuck shop and buy a sandwich how much should you pay, and how much change should you receive? For me, the most important thing is to get them to understand that math is not just a subject, it's real life."

Hillside's principal, Elisea Spence, agreed. She said: "The problem is, we have taught our children to believe that math is hard, and we'eve done this by not teaching them that math is about everyday life. I really like the displays we have here today because they help you to see literally and physically how mathematics works.

"We have the MoE involved, and all grades have participated in various aspects of mathematics such as shapes, fractions, statistics, measurements, money, and time, so I think it's been an excellent day. Most of the teachers have done games because sometimes when you're playing, you are doing math without even realising.

"When the students get that kind of approach, one in which they can actually do things because they are tactile learners, you will find they are not so afraid. They will want to immerse themselves in it more because we have proven that just standing in front of the chalkboard and saying one plus one equals two, which is the traditional way, is not working."