I am not checking your maths!!!

During KAA++ we had all maths around us – buying food in the train, buying our daily snacks, giving change, keeping our accounts to know how much one has spent, shopping in village haat, sharing chocolate equally to know how many grams (65 grams for Rs50) and so on.

One child was calculating how much change to give. I was just throwing some more calculations to him, he asked me “are you checking my math?” I paused and shared “I am creating opportunities for you to use maths in your daily life”.

After this, kids were INTO the calculations. Every time I used to ask them “so how much do we pay?’, I used to add “I know this calculation, but I am creating the opportunity?” And the whole group used to discuss the calculations, even when they were eating food, they would discuss how this final number came? Every time they would give me answer I used to ask “HOW”? Irrespective of the right or wrong answer, I used to send them to their peers to share “how this calculations came” and most of the time this used to bring in lot of understanding of the concept and discussion would spill over our dinner time too.

Seeing us with calculations, one of the participants threw some more maths problems “If I buy 10 apples for Rs10 then what…………..” After some time he gave up because kids were not responding.

Some thoughts

  1. Clarifying that I do not want to teach them or check their maths, was comforting to them. And the genuineness and honesty built trust with them.
  2. The calculations were experiential and real – they were buying, eating, and making mistakes too :). The calculations were not thrown any time to TEACH them.
  3. And for me biggest thing was “no rights and wrongs”. They were free to explore and construct their concepts, discuss, convince, re-calculate………………….and finally stay with their own understanding and build understanding bit by bit by doing MORE and MORE. And every time my questions “HOW” and while the child used to explain I used to be mum and throw again “how”…….so If 50+25 is 60 then how did I get Rs 25 back? Even if the child would get 75, I used to ask HOW?

I enjoyed EVERY interaction with kids. Maths was fun while we travelled to villages of Maharatsta and met many many people and learned many other skills.