MKN & Fields Institute: Ask a Mathematician Program

Earlier in the year, the MKN and the Fields Institute partnered on an Ask a Mathematician  outreach program for online school during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program teaches a math lesson in an online classroom with a class of students (primary, junior or intermediate) who can engage with a real mathematician. The online sessions include one or two educators teaching a lesson to the students who work through the lesson together over the session. Part of the goal is to keep students inspired to learn about math with fun lesson plans and make math more accessible for students in all classrooms.

The program pilot included 6 virtual visits with grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12 students. Teachers were surveyed and their feedback was very positive. The students were highly engaged, asking the mathematicians questions and talking about their own math classroom projects.

Feedback from the pilot project also indicated that the students appreciated learning what a ‘real mathematician’ does and hearing about how the math taught in schools could be extended to various fields related to what the math expert studied. Furthermore, studies in math education , have shown that students, especially those who are functioning at a lower level in mathematics, are far more engaged and successful when they are challenged with higher order mathematics skills, which is something the math experts involved in this program are well suited to provide.

While the math content associated with the pilot focused on the current COVID situation (including mathematical data modelling) the extension program will focus on other areas of math as well. The extension program will run from May to August.

Stay tune for more information on Ask a Mathematician program posted on the MKN website!