Maths institute inspires students to engage in critical thinking

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Institute Students engaged during the maths institute

THE Queen’s College of Guyana Alumni Association New York Chapter (QCAANY) is hosting its third annual Summer Maths Institute to inspire students to engage in critical thinking and to hone their personal capabilities.

Explaining the purpose of the programme, President of the QCAANY, Karen Wharton, said, “We think that Math and STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are a way of thinking and students need to have strong backgrounds in STEM across the field, whether or not they are pursuing studies in these areas.”

And the institute which began on July 23 and will culminate on August 3, has sought to integrate components of mathematics that are not necessarily part of the school curriculum, so that students may harness the critical thinking skills needed. The sessions are held daily and are led by Renowned Professor in Math, Dr. Terrence Blackman and doctoral student in Applied Math at the North Carolina State University, Cleveland Waddell.

“What we are doing is exposing them to a different way of looking at Math, to excite them to get them to see Math as something beyond Algebra, integrals and calculus,” Wharton affirmed, while adding that the two-week programme is not meant to be extra lessons.

Member of the QCAANY, Shindy Johnson, also affirmed that other components of the programme include the promotion writing skills, because the ability to communicate transcends all areas, and the promotion of socialisation among all the students.

Importantly for her also, is to have the students understand the value of what they are bringing to them and to come prepared to benefit.

And though the programme is being hosted at Queen’s College by the alumni body, it has not only benefited QC children, but students from St. Stanislaus College, Bishop’s, St. Roses, Tutorial, St. George’s and Tucville High Schools as well.

For Wharton and the association, the programme is another opportunity to give back to the community and she related, “The goal is to inspire kids.”

These students are exposed to higher-level mathematical theory, but the programme was designed to encourage fun learning, so there have been trips to the University of Guyana (UG) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) in Berbice.

Mathematical software was also introduced, so that students are exposed to use some of theories to apply to everyday situations, according to Wharton.

A challenge to the programme however, is that though it is needed tremendously in Guyana, the organisation can only facilitate so many children. To this end, Wharton called on other organisations to take up the mantle to facilitate such programmes for Guyanese youth.

“It’s hard to put on this calibre of programme on our own, without any support from the government and from the institutions in Guyana,” the President noted and added that while there are some private donors, the institute is majorly funded through the efforts of the QCAANY.

And attesting to the merit of the programme was veteran participant and student Maria Shakoor, who noted that each year the programme affords her an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things.

“It helps you to process faster,” Shakoor said, while noting that she has seen a transformation in the way she views mathematical problems in school.