Education Insight | Maths is Everywhere

Leonardo da Vinci once said that all sciences are based on mathematics. Maths plays a vital role in developing one’s logical and analytical ability, spatial ability and inductive reasoning aptitude. Being a science that trains one’s abstract thinking, many pupils may easily become bored or tired in maths learning.

However, in Huili School Hangzhou the way maths is taught aims to be inspiring and interesting. “Maths is Everywhere”; this is the theme of our exciting Maths Week, which started this Monday. Throughout Maths Week, our teachers are hosting many cross-curricular, enquiry-based activities for pupils, which provide the pupils with an opportunity to proactively apply mathematical thinking into their daily lives and explore the mystery of maths.

Pupils have been encouraged to think about mathematics in unique and interesting ways as a part of Maths Week. For example, after learning about patterns in class, Grade 2 pupils were asked to search for patterns in buildings, galleries, zoos, supermarkets and so on. Some pupils visited museums in Hangzhou and explored them through the lens of mathematics. This gave them a whole new perspective on the items they were learning about at the museums. Other pupils expressed their concern about the environment and climate change, so they used maths concepts to understand the complexities of the problem. In reflecting on these experiences, the pupils have made their learning journey more spirited and vivid. These types of activities allow pupils to see maths from a different perspective, and to “bring the world into the maths classroom, and explore the world using maths”, which is the first theme of our Maths Week.

Through this theme of exploring the world using maths, we aim to raise pupils’ awareness of the fact that maths is everywhere around us. Teachers from different subjects have worked together and designed diverse and integrated cross-disciplinary activities for the pupils, so that they can recognise the widespread application of maths in subjects such as languages, P.E., music, art and so on. Maths has thus changed from being tedious “book knowledge” into a flexible science with extensive application.

Maths Week provides a stage for each Huili pupil to engage in in-depth inquiry and work in groups to improve their teamworking, communication and problem-solving skills.

Pupils have chosen their own inquiry themes and routes, drawn up plans and then completed them step by step, before finally showcasing their group inquiry results in individualised and creative presentations.

The Maths Exhibition is the highlight of Maths week. Here, higher grade pupils have started looking at the history of maths to re-examine maths concepts they learned before from a historical perspective. They have come to the conclusion that none of the maths concepts, formulas, theorems or ideas arise out of blue, but instead carry rich histories behind them. With a historical outlook and using analytical thinking, pupils have subconsciously learned and integrated maths into their daily routines. This activity is in line with pupils’ current cognitive basis and has kindled their learning enthusiasm, as evidenced by their fantastic presentations.

Meanwhile, our younger pupils have explored maths through themes such as “maths in nature”, “maths in architectural design”, “the way I see maths” etc. It is important to encourage them to enhance their understanding of maths concepts with divergent thinking and a range of contexts, because learning is more than answering questions on a piece of paper. We aspire for our children to learn their intrinsic meaning and real life applications. We are delighted to see our pupils enjoying Maths week, valuing the process of inquiry, and seeking solutions for themselves by thinking carefully about the problems being presented.

One can hardly become a mathematician overnight, and we are aware that improving one’s maths is an ongoing process. We are keen to explore and innovate here at Huili School Hangzhou. As a school, we are fully committed to developing pupils’ well-rounded maths competence and enhancing their understanding of maths concepts and applications. We hope our pupils can remain enthusiastic in learning maths and become lifelong maths learners!