Godhra Maths Workshop
Friends, Two days ago I have returned from Godhra after participating in our two day Maths workshop. Here is my report. We had been trying to organize this event for the last four months but due to the demise of one key associate Mr. Thakar, Principal, Technical High School, retiremement of Mr. Mam ji, Principal, Iqbal High School, and clashes with local events and exams this got pulled to March 2-3. On March 12, board exams for class X begin, to be followed by other exams, hence we could not reach the target of attracting 1000 students. Kindly send me your suggestions. Best regards Vipin Tripathi Mathematics Workshop Held in Godhra V. K. Tripathi Sadbhav Mission, in collaboration with Rationalist and Humanist Society, Godhra, organized their second Two-Day Mathematics Workshop in Godhra nn March 2 and 3, 2005. The first workshop was held in November 2004 in which 1000 class X students and 22 teachers had participated. The present workshop was bit subdued, with only 290 class IX students and five teachers. The objectives were: 1) to bring the children of different communities together, 2) to develop confidence in them about basic mathematical operations, decimals, trigonometric functions, height & distance problems. and electrical circuits, 3) to generate awareness about problems of the masses in the district, viz. education, employment and communalism. Dr. Sujaat Vali played the leading role in mobilizing students and teachers from Union Iqbal High School, Navrachna High School, Govt. Technical High School, Iqbal Girls High School, and M.E.T. High School. Dr. A.K. Sharma, from IIT Delhi, also visited these schools three days prior to the workshop. He and Mr. Yaqoob Khan, an engineer from Valsaad, revived contacts with Govt Arts and Science College. This time, however, college students were busy preparing for exams hence their cooperation in the workshop could not be obtained. Mr. Mukund Bhai Sindhav with his continued efforts to promote scientific thinking provided a conducive atmosphere. Mr. Anwar Kurkur and his friend translated the Sadbhav Mission booklet "Mathematics ke Saral Qaide" into Gujrati, typed set it and made copies. Mr. Feroze Khan (Lara Hospital) assisted them in various arrangements. Navrachna High School provided the venue for the workshop, making six of their class rooms and assembly hall available to us. Mr. Suleman Daulti, administrator of the school extended his full cooperation. So did the principal of Technical High School Mr. Ashwin K. Shukla. IIT Delhi friends Dr. Anamika Sharma, Pawan Kumar, Naveen Kumar, Vivek Sajal, Vishwabandhu Pathak, Ashok Kumar, Gagan Kumar, Anuraj and Deepti Pachauri helped develop tutorial sheets and demonstration experiments. The students were divided into six groups. Two brilliant colleagues Mr. Salim J. Shaikh and Mr. Kasim H. Dolti from the last workshop, three new friends Mr. Altaf Sujela, Mr. Sahal Saiyed and Mr. R.F. Shikari from different schools and I took the classes turn by turn. The First three hours we discussed multiplications and divisions by 10, 100, 100, decimals and their graphical representation, expressing km-m, Rs.-Paise, kg-gm in decimals, quantities with milli, kilo, mega and their applications. The first tutorial sheet provided tremendous enthusiasm. Most students solved 40 problems in 20-35 minutes. After a break we discussed addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square root followed by second tutorial sheet. However, by this time students were tired, hence we initiated discussion on masses in different countries of the world. That enthused lot of interest. Next day we began trigonometry with several practical examples of periodic events like rising of the sun, weather cycle, elections, heart beats with different periods of repition and then introduced trigonometric functions and utility of tan theta in estimating heights of distant objects. It proved fascinating. The angle measuring deviices (each comprinsing two card board rods joined at one end and a protractor) proved very exciting. This was followed by discussion on science topics, viz., basic principles of an engine, heat conversion into work, gears etc. for technical high school students. For others we continued with practical applications of mathematics. Electrical circuits were discussed with only a small group as others had not studied these yet in their schools. Towards the end we had a one and a half hour session on social issues: Sufi-saint movement, mass movement for freedom, prejudice, superstition and scientific temper. It was a heartening experience. Students participated in every activity with great enthusiasm. Their inquisitiveness and interest to learn about the world were deep. Most of these children come from very modest backgrounds and may not continue education beyond tenth grade. That thought pained us deeply. We felt we were far far short of what we could have done to them. Regarding maths background, we realized that it can be improved through a sustained effort. 2-day exposure must generate more excitement and clarity on some key concepts. We must prepare few more tutorial sheets and give them to regular mathematics teachers in these schools and motivate them to use them in their classes. A network of volunteers is essential to correct the tutorial sheets solved by the students. Mr. Shaikh Aiyub and Mrs. Boutwala, Mr. Ashwin Shukla, and Mr. Yashwant Shrama extended their support to build such a network. It was also felt that teaching mathematics continuously for seven hours each day becomes too tiring for students. In between we should have lectures and structured discussions on social science. Prof. Bhanot, Dr. Waghela and Mr. Y. Sharma offered to give such lectures. Prof. Bhanot also suggested that The students who have failed in Xth in Mathematics, we should organize six month tutions for them for one hour per day. It should be possible to find a retired teacher to teach three batches of 20 students each (one hour per batch for five days week) for Rs. 3000 per month. With him at the core we can mobilize college students and teachers to voluntarily teach them a few other subjects few times a week. We liked the suggestion and would be working to implement it. On Dr. Vali's suggestion we have decided to hold a one day meeting of activists and like minded people in May 2005 to build the network and chalk out our program for the year. I plan to utilise that opportunity to visit Panderwada help initiate teaching program for out of school children facilitating their admissions in regular schools. We tried several teachers to teach there for three hours daily, but they backed out due unforeseen fears. Budget 1) Booklets: Rs. 2100 2) Writing pads and pens: 900 3) Refreshments 3000 4) Honorarium 2000 5) Tutorial Sheets/ demons. 1000 Total 9000 Dr. Bindu Desai had made a very generous contribution of US $ 500 (Rs. 21,500) last year. We utilized Rs. 10,000 of it in the first workshop, 3000 in Sadbhav Mission Patrika and rest in this workshop. From other friends we have received Rs. 20,000 in the last one year. All that has been utilized in Sadbhav Mission Patrika (4 issues, each costing Rs. 8000, including postage).