Math-a-thon comes to NUST!
NUST’s students took on the challenge of making Mathematics fun, using the most unconventional of means.
On Wednesday, 7th March, seventeen teams from the National University of Science and Technology went head-to-head in a competition aiming to devise fun methodologies of teaching Mathematics by deriving mathematical concepts from everyday sports and games played by local children.
Held in various universities nationwide, Math-A-Thon is a joint initiative of Code for Pakistan, Numaish Karachi and Alif Ailaan; in collaboration with the Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science, and NUST. The event was hosted by NUST School Natural Sciences (SNS), and NUST School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (SMME).
The seventeen teams, belonging to seven different departments of NUST, were paired with students of different government high schools in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Each team consisted of three university students and one government school student.
During the opening ceremony, participants and faculty members were briefed on the main idea of the event, after which the teams were left to prepare their games, and teach them to their assigned students, for their final presentations. All the teams had to ensure their games consisted of concepts based on the National Curriculum Learning Objectives of Mathematics for Grades 1 – 10.
The panel of judges consisted of a diverse group of professors and professionals. The judges were divided into two rooms, where the teams pitched in their ideas for five out of the ten grades. The judges also awarded all the winning groups with cash prizes during the closing ceremony.
While there were awards for the best games for each of the ten grades, teams Smooth Operators and The Unknown X (a name dedicated to all those Math equations we could never solve) walked away with three prizes each. Smooth Operators comprised of Safi ur Rehman, Laiba Khan, and Nudrat Fatima (Sophomores at NUST School of Natural Sciences); while The Unknown X had Huda Zainab, Saad Aamer, and Rubass Rashid (Sophomores at NUST Business School).
On being asked about how it felt to have won, Huda Zainab told PaperCrush that “It honestly feels great to have been part of something that made us give back to the society”. She added that being announced winners gave them confidence and belief that they actually did something worth it, and could continue in this direction.
Safi ur Rehman had similar views, and mentioned that doing something that contributes back to society – even in the smallest of ways – is elevating, while winning was simply the cherry on top.
The winning games of team Smooth Operators were Cricket, Basketball, and a game they called “Race to Rizwana’s.” The Unknown X designed a puzzle game for 3rd grade to learn fractions, used “Simon Says” to teach angles to 5th grade, and for 9th grade, played bowling where all the bowling pins basically represented X to show that X could have any value. They further linked this with finding domain and range.
Safi ur Rehman expressed that overall experience of integrating math learning with games was very productive. “We got to know the problems faced by these children, and the quality of education they are provided with” he added.
“We all love to talk about CHANGE, how important it is and everything, but it’s really important to not just talk but actually do something about it when given the opportunity.” Huda Zainab said, “I’m really glad my friends and I took part in this competition and we were able to pitch our ideas to the people who can actually do something about it.”