The 2nd Bahir Dar University Math Camp 1st -13th July 2014
After hosting a very successful math camp for students and teachers last summer, in 2013, Bahir Dar University is again hosting a 2nd math camp from July 1 through July 13. The theme of the camp is “Learning Mathematics through Fun” and the main objective is to instill a love and passion for mathematics among local students. Mathematical concepts are taught through games, computer programs, and sports.
The opening ceremony was held on Monday July 7 and the students were welcomed by Dr. Essey Kebede, the Dean of Science College, and Dr. Desalegn Ejigu, the Coordinator of Research and Community Service in Science College.
A total of 90 students from grades 7 to 11 and from 20 different governmental and private schools participated (Teyma, Tsehay Gibat, Sertse Dingil, Tana Haik, Ghion, Dilchibo, Meskerem, Yekatit, Kukual Meda, Dona Berber, Fasilo and Bahir Dar Zuria, SOS secondary and preparatory School, Catholic secondary and preparatory school, ADM secondary school, Bahir Dar Academy, Horizon Academy,), accompanied by eight teachers. 2 Bahir Dar University graduating class students and 8 last summer camp participant students are also participating in the camp. The Camp is organized by 14 lecturers from Bahir Dar University (13 from Mathematics and 1 from Physics department) together with 1 regional and 5 international volunteers, bringing the total number of participants to 120.
The two weeks are split into the preparation week which ran from the 1st to the 5th and the actual camp week from the 6th to the 13th. It was during the preparation week that ideas about the content for the Camp sessions were discussed, the logistics were ironed out, and the materials for the sessions were prepared. The Bahir Dar University Math Camp has many interesting sessions, which include among others: functions modulo with strings, computer programs such as Logo, Scratch and Minesweeper, shift cipher, modulo arithmetic, animations using Geogebra, and card tricks among others. These sessions are alternated with sports activities that make use of mathematical concepts, including among others “Wizards, Giants and Fairies”, “Untie the Knot”, “Balloon Relay Race”, “Three-legged Race” and “Dodge Ball”. In addition, every day the students are challenged to solve daily puzzles and asked to write journals on their experience about the Camp.
The Camp activities include a very interesting excursion to the Blue Nile falls and the sources of the Blue Nile, a most renowned natural site in Ethiopia, which gave the chance to discuss about the development of hydroelectric power in the country, and its relation to the country’s development. The “house competition” made the camp more exciting as students are divided in four groups (each group named by a famous mathematician: Euler, Gauss, Pascal and Pythagoras) and each group has to try and win as many tokens as they could during the camp activities. Different houses have different colors for their t-shirt; Green for Pythagoras, Red for Gauss, Yellow for Pascal and blue for Euler. The winning house is to be the first to reach the top of the Foot ball field poster. At the end of the Camp, one house will be pronounced the winner during the Closing Ceremony that will be held at July 12, in the afternoon.
The commitment and enthusiasm of Bahir Dar University lecturers’ and International volunteers is remarkable, and the students’ enjoyment is their highest reward. One of the students wrote in his journal:
“There is one thing about the maths camp the system that they use is really amazing. I wish if they could consult the education minister so that each and every Ethiopian learned like that. The more we are learned like that the more successful we are.”
“As far as the maths camp is mainly targeted with improving students’ thinking and problem solving capacity besides having fun with mathematics!”
“Maths camp was awesome. We learned things we kind of knew but never quite got it.”
“I am grateful of our team & our communication. But I am more grateful for this maths camp, which helped me look maths in different fun way.”
“Day after the day maths camp program becomes more interesting. I love it too!”