IMH and Lahore Science Mela 2018
The Lahore Science Mela 2018 is a science fest organized by the Khwarizmi Science Society. showcased inventions, discoveries, experiments, science models and artifacts recieved from all parts of Pakistan. It will be an opportunity to engage all citizens, especially the children in celebrating science. Our focus is on the wonder aspects of practical science accomplished through practical activities such as hands-on games and experiments that will appeal to our young boys and girls. There is no entry fee and the Mela will remain open for all citizens of Pakistan.
Isfahan Mathematics House will take part at this festival for the first time.
The second Lahore Science Exhibition was held on January 27 and 28, 2018 at the Ali Institute of Education in Lahore, Pakistan. In this exhibition, educational institutions, students and university students from various cities in Pakistan exhibited research achievements. Isfahan Mathematics House (IMH) also participated in the program at the invitation of the Foundation for Science of the Economic Cooperation (ECO Science Foundation) that operates in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. IMH exhibited some of its activities that were suitable for students. In addition, activities for the blind were presented to illustrate the tile's mathematical aspects. At the end of the exhibition, all the tools and equipments of IMH were donated to the institute.
The presence of Isfahan Mathematics House was a good opportunity to share some of activities of IMH and other teachers. High school students, even university students and parents, were involved in activities and challenges, and they observed the application of some mathematical concepts at high level in the form of games and issues that were related to everyday life such as nodes, graph theory, the four-color theorem, coding, and so on.
The School of Education (SOE), the fifth School at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), hosted an information session on January 30, 2018, titled, “What are Mathematics Houses: How do you Promote a Culture of Mathematics in Society?”, to focus on the importance of developing effective methods to aid Mathematics education in society. The event was attended by 300 enthusiastic participants, which included members from leading educational institutions of Punjab, including Allied Schools, Beaconhouse School System, Lahore College for Women University, Quaid-e-Azam Academy for Educational Development, along with members of the LUMS student body and faculty.
As the moderator, Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Associate Dean, LUMS SOE, inaugurated the session with a welcome note and a brief introduction of the MPhil Education Leadership and Management programme. The distinguished panel included two eminent mathematicians from Isfahan Mathematics Society, in Iran – Ms. Sharareh Raghi Dastjerdi and Ms. Fatemeh Hani Tabaei Zavareh – and members of the LUMS faculty, Dr. Adnan Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Dr. Muhammad Farooq Naseer, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics Department.
The discussion centred on developing tools for educators that can contribute towards a better understanding of Mathematics. The need for alternative teaching methods and curriculum, which encouraged critical thinking and a shift away from rote learning, was emphasised. The Iranian mathematicians highlighted features of a mathematics house; a new concept that aims to offer workshops and tools to students and teachers for promoting a greater understanding of the subject. Ms. Sharareh states: “There are problems in the formal education of Mathematics. People prefer to use shortcuts, and are not focusing on learning to clarify their concepts. They want the easy and fast way out”.
Dr. Mariam Chughtai said, “There is an emerging need for the development and implementation of improved educational techniques. We need programmes like the MPhil Education Leadership and Management programme to produce leaders who can reform the education landscape of Pakistan.”
Dr. Adnan Khan talked about the need to teach Mathematics by placing it in the Pakistani context: “In subjects like Science and Mathematics, there is no ‘culturization’, they are taught as universal subjects. It should not be just a test of memory; students are taught how to represent data, but are not given direction on what to do with that data.”
Dr. Farooq Naseer pointed out how there is also a need for better quality textbooks, and that the government can regulate the process of producing these textbooks so that they are subsidized and accessible to all.
The question answer session provided insight into the practical workings of the educational institutions in Pakistan, and how teaching and administrative methods can be modified according to the growing demands of the 21st century. Shazia Afzal, former LUMS faculty and currently running a school for underprivileged children, highlighted how language is one of the biggest barriers in learning; the language of instruction makes it difficult for students to understand the concept, which is why they resort to rote learning. Methods of assessment and their effectiveness were also discussed.