Math Ed Labs — Perspective

Mathematics through observation and play imagined by my friends Shahzar and Naim.

Imagine you learning your driving, from written notes by Michael Schumacher or learn writing by audio notes from Ruskin Bond, or if Sachin just looking at videos of Gavaskar to become the best he was.

When driving needs to be learned by sitting behind the steering, writing can only be done by holding the pen and scribbling and Sachin must have done a lot of nets to become what he did.

Mathematics, need to be observed.

If a child learnt swimming only through videos and then dived into the river, he/she would likely die.

56% of Class VIII students can’t do basic maths: ASER ,2018.Before this number touches 100% and reach a catastrophe, we really need to be present now and work to push the number to zero !

Our flagship product is a one of its kind Mathematics Playroom, called “Cafe de Math” in Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, Delhi. The playroom consists of hands-on tools, board games, activities and puzzles for popularising mathematics and develop an interest in the subject.

Our honorary mentor professor Dinesh Singh recommending the people of our country to give us a chance to touch mathematics education in their children's’ lives.

This is our first Math play room for schools of India— conceptualise, assess and develop interest in the subject.

It consists of fixed to floor/walls games, activities and puzzles designed along the concept of the age group 11–13 years. These hands-on tools are tangible objects which allow learners to construct concepts while using them aligned with the curriculum. Each tool comes with packaged instructions which allow the learner do a lot of practice.

We believe mathematics is more than rote learning and formulas. It has the potential to define lives and be celebrated each day. This Cafe de Math is a true presentation and example of the same. It has a variety of games, activities and puzzles spread across an area of more than 1000 sqft. Each element in Cafe de Math is aimed to catalyse the process of mathematics learning of the student and help him conceptualise the idea and have a better understanding of the subject.

A demo video with a teacher and students in our first math playroom through a top league Delhi schools organisation. The games in the playroom are designed to make mathematics more comfortable and accessible, before anything else. It is to celebrate the very nature of mathematics which is universal and makes it very obvious for a learner to observe logic, look for patterns and construct her own knowledge through conjectures that come-up during the journey

WHY?

We are Syed, Naim and Nishchal from 2 different areas of work vis-a-vis mathematics and startups, but commonly, our dislike for how Math was taught and hence perceived in schools and homes, brought us together.

We agreed that the concept of education was introduced to make people understand and observe the dynamics of the nature. To allow them to experiment with the objects around. To discover by gathering all or some information, that is around. From the invention of the wheel till lightning a room with a bulb, all was the result of intensive amount of research, thinking, understanding, observing and most importantly, experimenting.

Another reason to make people observe and relate was to develop conjectures by the data they possess. These conjectures widened the perspective of the human brain to look at things and perceive them logically. When logic is used to absorb information it relaxes the mind and catalyzes the decision making skills of an individual.

What we do.

We develop hands-on tools for mathematics learning, which are unique and innovative. These have been well verified and received at the pilot level.

Retail/E-commerce — Apart from the playroom:

The products that we have built so far are hands-on tools for conceptualisation of mathematics that can be sold as toy boxes of math.

So far, we have created a range of 7 products which dealt with conceptualisation of topics such as: Equivalent Fractions, Multiplication of Fractions, Number Sense, Square roots, Multiples, LCM, Factors, HCF, Arithmetic operations, Decimal Representation on a number line, Arithmetic operations on decimal numbers and a wholesome set of tools for the learning of trigonometry.

Used to improve the understanding of place value system.
Hand on experience of Arithmetics.
Hands on tool to facilitate the understanding of parts and wholes (fractions)
Represent decimal numbers upto two decimal places and do arithmetics operations as well.
Aids the visualisation of multiplication.
Can be used for learning tables, finding multiples and factors, LCM and HCF, Perimeter and area.

The important factor lies in the development of logic and the quality of education a person attains in life. The time and quality of learning reflects only when it is applied in problem solving, decision making, reasoning and critically analyse a statement or a verdict.

The subject of Mathematics is conventionally believed to be considered a rote-learning exercise and memory based science, and routinely taught with a calculative approach. In math, rote methods are often used, for example to memorize formulas. Students of mathematics are often not able to visualize and conceptualise mathematical concepts, and therefore regularly fail to understand the real math. This mundane method of learning generally makes students scared of math and leads to only a handful of students go ahead with the subject. The Subject of mathematics must include an understanding of how to use technology to arrive meaningfully at solutions to problems instead of endless attention to increasingly outdated computational tedium.

Math Ed Labs proposes a learning culture which revolves around the student and keeping his flame and excitement to observe and perceive the world, alive. The math box empowers the student to generalise from particulars. It saves the time spent in cramming which can be utilized to reason about things learnt.

The resources designed are highly recommended by researchers, educationists and people who believe that math is a universal language that needs to be communicated via observations and experiments.

So, if you are a parent, a learner, a teacher, a brother or anyone who considers math significant in the development of child, dig in this link www.mathedlabs.com (coming soon) and get your first math box to experience learning Mathematics in a unique and effective way.

Introduction to culture of it, that we vouch for:

Currently the school system is going through a renaissance in terms of methodologies being adopted in the classroom. Ranging from ICT tools to pedagogical innovation. The structure is evolving slowly from the traditional methods to the new methods which instill an interest to study and develops a positive attitude to learn and construct knowledge.

Since education is the foundation matter of world’s humans, so there is a need to consider it seriously as it is at the core of development.

Due to increase in number of students in a class and dynamic requirements of learners, the role of a teacher is expanding gradually; from a teacher to a facilitator and also a manager. Teacher also needs to be at par with the current trends in education. The responsibility to provide a learning environment which includes the modern ways of teaching lies on the shoulders of the teaching staff and the administration. Expectations from the parents and the increasing cut throat competition make the traditional ways insufficient to match the level. Such circumstances, create the need for an external body to cater to the teachers as well as the students and take the required responsibility to facilitate learning procedure more efficiently and productively.

As an education organisation, we would keep the following as our guidelines and direct ourselves to create an effective learning environment which would make mathematics learners to construct their knowledge while experimenting, and teachers and teachers will be accustomed with the new trends in education:

  • Students learn to enjoy mathematics.
  • Mathematics is a part of children’s life experience which they talk about.
  • Students pose and solve meaningful problems.
  • Students use abstractions to perceive relationships and structure.
  • Students understand the basic structure of mathematics.
  • Teachers expect to engage every child in class.

Allow us to bring your attention briefly to Mathematical communication, as a result of correct Math education and not just marks in exams. When students talk they should know about units, about currency, about measurement, about weight. There is a dire need that students approximate well. By this sentence I mean to lay emphasis on the use of math not only communication but other aspects also. As good approximation leads to effective decision making and problem solving.

If you are a school reading this, we want to tell you that although we are a startup, we are looking for right set of circumstances to traverse our innovation and set up a platform for practicing, improving and experiencing the MATH CULTURE in schools. If given a chance to work with your school, it will be an honour and an exciting opportunity as well. Be assured that we would give our best to make this effort as effective as possible.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

This is our 7th product for trigonometry. It’s still under development.

Study Table — Let’s meet and talk about this, because why not?

Math Ed Labs, here brings to you an experience which reflects the essence of mathematics and aims at creating thinkers and leaders for tomorrow. It packages math in a box for you to communicate with mathematics through tangible tools and understand the dynamics of the content. The box focuses on the learning of mathematical concepts in a totally unique way that gives the power to the learner to learn on their own pace and construct own knowledge.

Our Observation

Since school education is the first step in the development of any country or society, there is a need to build a force of thinkers and doers who can lead the society to its betterment. But the present stage and feedback from organisations that survey along, does not provide a result which anywhere seems to be aimed at this direction. A heavy bag on shoulders and completing the syllabus should have never been the priority of schooling, but understanding what the books contains, generating a logical ability, nurturing a learner to make him/her a better individual and the other aspects which cater to the philosophical aim of educating and learning should be considered in the first place. Since the system does not permit interferences at a very big level, there is less number of chances to include anything new or to experiment certain strategies that may require certain changes in the structure.

Since school education is the first step in the development of any country or society, there is a need to build a force of thinkers and doers who can lead the society to its betterment. But the present stage and feedback from organisations that survey along, does not provide a result which anywhere seems to be aimed at this direction. A heavy bag on shoulders and completing the syllabus should have never been the priority of schooling, but understanding what the books contains, generating a logical ability, nurturing a learner to make him/her a better individual and the other aspects which cater to the philosophical aim of educating and learning should be considered in the first place. Since the system does not permit interferences at a very big level, there is less number of chances to include anything new or to experiment certain strategies that may require certain changes in the structure.

THE PROBLEM

Since the system is already so inflexible that any kind of innovation or change in the system is too difficult to incorporate, furthermore, there are problems that already exist. All this does not leave scope for any kind of experimentation or improvisation in the teaching methodology even if the school intends to do so.

During the research and at other various times, the conversation with teachers had a general consensus of believing that their classroom practices are insufficient for the learners and does not let them achieve the target being set for them. This is basically due to the framework being so rigid and the other clerical responsibilities of a teacher. The student-teacher ratio, which is not less than a skyscraper, which reflects in the amount of time in correcting a large number of notebooks, is also a primary reason of teachers not being able to make that extra effort. With all these issues already in place, they are left with very less time and lesser energy to do anything outside of their normal teaching methods or to try out any innovation in the classroom.

THE AID & SCOPE

In these circumstances, a school may refer to organisations which provide service in the field of education and specialize in pedagogical creativity and understand the basic idea behind education.

This allows the school authorities to get moving in this direction and improvise upon the pedagogical skills of the teacher as well as the learning experience of the learners.

Keeping all the difficulties in mind and the barriers due to the system, because of which it is unable to solve these issues, we have developed a parallel program for students and teachers of schools. With the assistance of Math Ed. Labs, a school can implement a number of innovative schemes that will make it easier in improving the mathematics education in the school, that too without making any changes in the curriculum, which is in fact an area of concern. It is high time to do, then to crib over it. The material created and the resources developed have been made by after a thorough research and under the guidance of experienced educationists. Also, every aid has been field tested and has shown an unbelievable improvement in the learning and understanding of learners.

Math Ed. Labs will be an added advantage for the teachers to explore something new and different as part of their normal teaching methods, Moreover will also help students to experiment and experience a different learning style which will eventually help them understand concepts and enjoy their participation in their own learning. Our team assures a healthy yet fruitful journey in this exploration of students, teachers and parents.

THE SOLUTION

We also asses what and how much is our student learning’

The thought process behind a product is the problem faced by the student to understand and develop interest in a particular concept. The reasons behind these problems play a significant role in the development of the solution (product). The products are innovative and are designed to give the learner a never before experience.

Please visit our website to know our solution.

I would also like to leave you with another article throwing light on ‘why math’.


What is the problem?

The problem is the incorrect or little conceptualisation of concepts.

The concepts are not constructed

Rote memorisation of formulae

Who has the problem?

The student has the problem to comprehend

The teacher has the problem to cater individuality because of a rigid system

Problem: Math phobia

The fear with students of mathematics because of long problems and learning formulae. This fear basically arises because of the thought that mathematics is solving sums and proving theorems. The learners not being able to do the above mentioned develop the fear of the subject.

Math misconceptions

Misconceptions develop in a learner because of being taught with limited number of permutations of a concept. Mathematics misconceptions develop because of faulty thinking as there is single instruction to multiple students in a class, also because of skipping conceptualisation and using shortcuts.

For example: for a learner the symbol “1”is the only thing that he remembers when he listens or looks at the quantity ”one” irrespective of the object of which the quantity is. Similarly the concept of finding factors of a number is not only the tables that have the product as the number but is more than that, it is basically the division of the parent number into subsequent parts or groups of smaller numbers.

Competition: For the same amount of time, dance class, exercise, playing, watching tv, music, socialising, surfing the internet, for the same amount of money

pizza, burger, toys, board games, sport items, gadgets

For the same type of learning

YouTube, books, Legos, tuition, E-learning(BYJU’s)

Solution: Mathematics Lab: An annual subscription for the school, with a dedicated representative in the premises that works with the teacher and students to create the learning culture proposed.

Hands on toys mapped to the grade and chapter from the school textbooks (which also includes the content for learning and assessment), with each toy kit being concept driven not grade specific.

Workshops: For students, where immediate results are showed in learning. For teachers, who are oriented towards the use of toys in the teaching process.

  • Why does this problem with math education exist?

Because math is always taught through imagination (blackboard)

Because formulae are always memorised and rote learned

Because math discussions are not taken out of the classroom

  • Why is the current state as such

Traditional pedagogy

Rigid structure in the school

Few or no resources available to complement the learning

Rest of the videos can be found here:

  • Co editor — Syed Shahzar