Posted by: David Omondi
In January Riley Orton Foundation held a 2-week Akili STEMarts Maths camp in partnership with African Maths Initiative from 9th January to 20th January 2023 at Akili STEMarts academy. The math camp brought together students from 18 secondary schools nationwide and local teachers from around as volunteers. The main aim of the camp was to bring students and teachers together in a shared learning environment, exploring rich ideas that go far beyond what is traditionally taught in class.
In the first week, there was an initial planning meeting from 9th January to 14th January where teachers and volunteers met for a week to prepare for the camp and to be trained as Math’s envoys with excitement to support everyone to think through inclusive, fun activities. The volunteers were very excited throughout the training as they learned that mathematics can be taught using fun games, physical activities, and math puzzles that make learning more interesting and enjoyable for students.
In the second week, students were taken through 8 themes that integrated technology and collaborative activities that included programming and Robotics, Modeling, mathematical thinking, puzzles and games, houses, physical activities, data science, and journals. It provided students the opportunity to learn about mathematics in a fun and interactive way, while also developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Throughout the week, students participated in a variety of activities and workshops that challenged and helped them learn new things.
One of the highlights of the camp was a series of sessions that focused on coding and programming. Students were introduced to edblock a programing language for the Edison robot and they were so excited as they also learned to program it using barcodes, they also related this to real-life experience as they gave examples of places barcodes are used e.g in supermarkets to scan prices for good.
Another exciting aspect of the camp was students learning maths concepts through physical activities and mathematical thinking. For the physical activities and games, they played fun games such as find the ball, buzz game, flag games, etc. that promoted mastering, counting, knowing multiple numbers, and collaboration. On mathematical thinking students solved maths without using pens or books, this allowed them to think critically to give answers. In the end, students appreciated and loved being taken through the themes.
Overall, the Akili Maths camp was a huge success. We trained 10 volunteer teachers to be maths envoys. Students learned new things, developed problem-solving skills, and improved their critical thinking skills. Students left the camp feeling inspired and motivated to continue learning about maths and looking forward to more camps. Such similar STEM camps are important to students from rural areas since they do not have such opportunities frequently. As an organization, we are looking forward to making Akili STEMarts a STEM hub for more rural girls and boys to have the opportunity to increase their agency and interest to take up STEM subjects.
Thank you to everyone who contributed and supported us and made this camp a success.
Riley Orton Foundation
Riley Orton Foundation (ROF) provides holistic education and promotes gender equality in STEM education to ensure girls and a community with the agency to realize their full potential