Local school runs festival to nurture love for math in students

"When students realize that math is beautiful, they will love it; when they realize the value of math for human beings, they will have a persistent drive to learn."
Dong Jun / SHINE

Students build the shape of π with paper cranes.

Shanghai Soong Ching Ling School celebrated its third Math Festival for world’s Pi Day on Thursday.

About 30 activities related to math were organized around the campus, including a 24-point card game, Sudoku competition, a students’ micro math forum and the painting of famous mathematicians.

Wang Xiaoqin, a professor at East China Normal University, was invited to give a speech on how math fulfilled his life, and some students and teachers from the university also joined hands with seven students at the Soong Ching Ling School to perform selected scenes of a drama about famous Chinese-American mathematician Shiing-shen Chern.

Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). It is observed on March 14 as 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π, while the school has been celebrating the day and its math festival during the week, including March 14, since 2017.

“We insist on providing the right ways for children to learn math based on their individual needs, and the Math Festival fully demonstrates this idea,” said Guo Mengna, leader of the primary school math teaching group of the school’s Chinese division.

“We provide various activities during this annual celebration and children can choose to play what they like,” she added. “Some games might be too difficult for younger students, but when they see their elder brothers and sisters play, they might be inspired and become interested in math.”

Many of its students have received encouragement or discovered confidence in math during the festival, and are now fascinated with it, according to the school.

“Math learning doesn’t means doing exercises, and our education should not be limited to teaching students how to do exercises,” said Chen Shuangshuang, vice president of Soong Ching Ling School. 

“Our teachers should guide students to experience and understand the mathematical way of thinking and teach them to observe, think about and express the world with math. When students realize that math is beautiful, they will love it; when they realize the value of math for human beings, they will have a persistent drive to learn.”

Dong Jun / SHINE

Students build the shape of π with paper cubes containing information about the mathematical constant.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Students do mathematical games.

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