CityU promotes mathematics education for primary school children

Karen Lai

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City University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Association for Science and Mathematics Education and secondary schools from 11 districts in Hong Kong organized an awards presentation ceremony on 11 February for participants in the Joint Primary School Mathematics Competition which took place in January.

The competition is the largest mathematics contest of its kind in Hong Kong. More than 2,000 students from 230 primary schools took part. It demonstrates CityU's commitment to promoting mathematics education in primary and secondary schools.

The aim of the competition is to stimulate students' interest in mathematics by relating subject knowledge to everyday life, instead of focusing only on testing their speed and accuracy in arithmetic. The contest targets Primary Six students and comprises three parts: arithmetic by pen and paper; the math trail; and information technology. The students work in groups of three and are judged on their ability to calculate, work in teams and solve problems.

Students from CityU's Department of Mathematics (MA) helped devise the questions. The idea was to encourage university students to use their academic knowledge to create interesting games that aroused primary school students' interest in mathematics and logical thinking. The contest proved to be a valuable experience for both CityU students and the school children.

"CityU's Faculty of Science and Engineering is committed to organizing a range of outreach programmes that promote science and technology and enhance public awareness of the importance of science in our daily lives," said Professor C H Chan, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

"We organize the competition to test students' ability in arithmetic and instill in them a creative mind and strong motivation to learn,” he added.

The four MA undergraduates who devised the questions—Harris Ho, Celia Lam, Ivy Leung, and Harvey Tseng—said they were able to apply successfully what they had learned at CityU to devising questions for the contest. Harris Ho said when developing the math trail activities, they incorporated cases from everyday life such as calculating the area of the school playground and the fare saved using an Octopus Card. "Coming up with questions for primary school kids is challenging. We had to consider whether the questions were too

difficult and what possible mistakes contestants would make. As a result, I have acquired practical skills in devising questions in real life," he added.

CityU is committed to promoting mathematics and science education in Hong Kong. Last year, the University teamed up with secondary schools to set up a Working Group on Outreach Activities. The Group has used human and technology resources from different sectors to promote science and mathematics education in Hong Kong.

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