IkamvaYouth and EwB joined hands to build future Mathematicians. Knowing that pass rates are low in mathematics at grade 12, a closer look has been taken to understand why learners perform so badly in maths. One of the major points that came up is the foundation of mathematics; maths is like ladder: you can’t jump one step and expect not to fall. Without understanding grade 8-level maths it makes it difficult to fully grasp grade 9 maths and the chain continues to grade 12. For example, with some learners, it’s not that they don’t understand the trigonometry, but it’s the fraction within the trigonometry with which they’re struggling and leads them to get the math wrong. Yes We Can Maths provides the platform to understanding these basics through the yellow and green books at grade 8 level; they start at the basic core of mathematics Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. From there the books provide opportunities for learners to practice applying all of those skills to complex maths like fractions, exponents, etc.
This being basic mathematics, most learners they don’t think they need it due to the use of calculators. However, once one starts to challenge learners about how much they are depending on calculators, they realise that they don’t even know the methods of solving simple multiplication. Through this project we are tearing down a fundamental problem of mathematics education in South Africa.
Some highlights and challenges from the learners’ perspective, we asked couple of questions: How do they feel about the books? Is there anything would like to change about the class or tutor? And do you think the books are helping in your school work?
“To me the books are not easy at the same time not it’s not difficult, because some of activities are easy but some of them it’s hard to understand so I am in between.”
“There is nothing I want to change about the class it’s alright and my tutor Nicholas does a perfect job.”
“It was helping on term 1 but now it does not, because now we are doing equations in school and that book it’s no fractions so it’s not helping much. I would like the book to change to book 2 to have equation solving for x, expression and exponents”
“I feel very excited when I see the books, it’s because it helps me very much. It’s easy to understand all the equations in the book.”
It has been wonderful having these grade 8 learners join IkamvaYouth. In addition to the EWB project they have also been exposed to English tutoring and the full range of holiday programme activities.
Thank you to EWB for enabling us to work with these learners.