Mathematics many love to hate and many just love is something that one cannot shake off in daily life. That’s the message a teacher and the parent of a student of her school are trying to spread among students through their 90-minute documentary, one of the highlights of the two-day Math Fair that kicked off on Friday.
In the last week of December, Purnima Karhade, a teacher with The Orchid School and Jaya Ramesh, mother of a student of the school teamed up and with a handycam in tow, explored various nooks and corners of the city asking people the importance of calculations and numbers in their professions.
A snip, one millimetre off the intended mark can ruin the whole work, a tailor told the duo.
“The tailor was very co-operative and enthusiastically showed us how even a minor mistake can spoil the costume he is working on. He said he cannot stitch even small frock without calculations and keeps changing his ‘formula’ from salvar to churidar and from churidar to patiala,” said Kanade.
The carpenter they interviewed had the same answer, his work demanded mathematical precision.
Every year, the school selects a theme for the annual fair and show students activities connected to the subject to explain its relevance in everyday life. This year, the theme was mathematics.
Sangeeta Kapoor, primary co-ordinator explained why the documentary was made. “It wouldn’t have been feasible to take students to all these places. So we decided to make the documentary and show it to students,” said Kapoor.
Principal Shilpa Solanki said, “Children either love math or hate it. We wanted to demystify math for those who dislike it. The idea was to tell them numbers are vital to life, whether you are educated, semi-educated or well-educated. Everybody needs the subject. Children need to know that whichever walk of life they choose, they cannot be spared from the subject and hence it is meaningful learning.”
The parent-teacher team discovered that the vegetable vendor goes to the wholesale market as early as 3 am to buy stock. He needs to be good with numbers and calculations. “He needs to consider the transport charges, porter charges, and his shop rent before deciding whether he will have a profit if he sells at a particular rate. Calculations in fractions is part of his daily life,” says Ramesh.
The dry cleaner the duo interviewed