If you want to teach high school students the mathematical concept of fractions or percentage,let them play basketball,cricket,kabaddi or gilli danda.
Divesh Bathijia has been doing that.
The problem with mathematics is that the subject is looked at as a problem by students,says Bathijia. Armed with the experience he gained in London as student of finance and its pleasant contrast with the idea he had during his school days in Mumbai,the 24-year-old is now out do his bit to change this mindset and make understanding mathematical concepts as easy as playing a game.
His Maths Through Games modules are helping students of Class 5 to Class 10 in some Mumbai schools. He began it as a paid service to schools but has now extended it free to municipal schools.
Professors in London did not say things like leave this chapter because it is not important for the exam. I saw a zeal to learn in students because studying was not just about scoring. All through my school life in Mumbai,it had always been about memorising,mugging and getting marks. I thought of starting the Dinasim Learning Centre to focus on at least teaching mathematics,if not other subjects,the right way, said Bathijia.
A year ago,he quit his job as a property evaluator. I found parents complaining that their child is not scoring well. I tried telling them that learning is not just about scoring but they failed to see my point. I decided to approach schools. The aim was to introduce topics within maths syllabus for class 5-10 in a fun way before students come across these in textbooks, said Bathijia.
Bathijia developed Maths Through Games modules. While he admits to having faced some hesitation from principals,he managed to convince six private schools to try his method. He conducts sessions thrice a week.
These games apply the concepts in real-life situations, said Bathijia.
An example is teaching fractions/percentage to Class 6 students through a game of basketball where students are given unequal number of chances to shoot at a basket.
When scores are compared,students realise that the success rate of someone who scores two out of three is higher than that of one who scores five out of 10.
He has spiced up statistics with cricket. Teams find out the run-rate,economy rate of batsmen,strike rate and represent them through bars and graphs.
He offers his services to private schools at minimal cost to cover basic expenses on logistics. Recently he launched a programme,DReflect for underprivileged students.
He holds sessions in Colaba Municipal School and Bharat High School in Diva. Two batches of 40 students each are learning maths his way and the modules are based on games like kabaddi and gilli danda. Funding has been coming in through donations from friends and family,Bathijia said.