Mathegramming Tournament: Creativity meets creative thinking

The core values of Mathegramming Academy are responsibility, equality, and courage to create. The team wanted to bring a change in the systematic thinking of the children who were introduced to visual mathematics using scratch by the Mathegramming Academy. The team wanted to have the following shifts:

  • Mediocracy to excellence
  • From rote learning of concepts to looking at visualization of the concepts and encouraging critical thinking.
  • From Disempowering isms like classism, groupism, and genderism to a creative space.

The Mathegramming Hackathon was organized with each step designed to foster creativity and learning.

94 students from 6th to 9th grade enrolled in this tournament from different schools in and around Auroville. On the day of the event, 87 students came. The children who had registered had been organized with groups that cut across grades and schools so when the children came in they received their group number.  In addition, many youth and children who had been exposed to STEM land in the past including our B.Voc students volunteered as mentors to each support a team. It was enriching to see that we had reached out to so many children/youth in the past who were enthusiastic to support others learn. There was an equal mix of boys and girls at the hackathon and they all worked with each other harmoniously.

We started the day with an introduction to sourcing our inner capacities which they also used to introduce themselves to the other members of their team. This was followed by a session on to power of modular design and providing the children and mentors with general modules created by Mathegramming Academy which could make their coding faster. Breaks were placed to ensure the children remained energized and focused.

We had invited judges from various organizations- Lopa from Ashram, Sanjay, Pratap, Vasanthraj, and Duraiswamy from C3StreamLand Designs, ShankarDevi from Thalam, Julian from Vaasavi International School, Arun from Aura semiconductor, Bridget from Thamarai, Bharani from AIAT and Chitralekha from Pondicherry University.

The themes were prepared from the 7th-grade textbook by the Mathegramming team which are Pythagoras theorem, Pascal’s triangle, Fibonacci series, Integers, Mean Median Mode, Congruence of triangles, Algebraic identities, Decimal number on a number line, and Fraction division.

The tournament showcased the values of equality, responsibility, and the courage to create. It demonstrated the transition from individual to group learning, with strong communication between mentors and mentees. The exchange of ideas between different age groups was a testament to the Academy’s commitment to holistic learning. It was heartening to see the breaking of barriers and the shift from silos thinking to interdependence. The rule for the mentors was that they were not allowed to

Some reflections: My name is Durai.I deeply care about dignity, wisdom, and freedom for myself and others. I was invited to assess the Scratch programs with children based on the following criteria: concept understanding, teamwork, interaction, presentation, and project completion. I found that all the children had the courage to speak in front of a larger audience group and were able to explain their projects more precisely, often using real-world examples, which was impressive. The children could also respond to queries raised by the audience and judges, and the overall assessment session went well. I am delighted to be a part of the assessment team. They were able to connect real-time examples with the concepts.

My name is Pratap. I care about equality and responsibility the program gave me a chance to contribute to the larger picture beyond my work. This program broke the casteism, groupism, and genderism by working with their team on the theme that was given to them. Moving from silos to dependent to independent to interdependent. From the theory what they learn in school to apply to it by making a project and showing their mastery in the theme that they got.  To be a judge I learned all the theme concepts and revisited them. I was in my stand to give scores to them and avoided being biased even though I knew all the children. I interacted with the mentors and also explained the criteria for scoring. I also got an opportunity to choose the two best charts in 33 charts and I see my sincerity and happiness. As a senior, I see my presence was very important and I was valued I held integrity in all I did for that tournament. Even though I encountered so many background conversations and I was able to silence all the background conversations and deeply listen to the children. The gifts were super and the participant certificate was encouraging.

My name is Rajesh. I deeply care about Integrity for myself and others. I volunteered to be a mentor.  I was able to see the Team had diversity, they broke disempowering isms of classism, groupism, and genderism to form a co-creative space. I employed conversation for action by speaking to children.

My name is Vasanth.I am able to see the values of STEM Land throughout the tournament: Equality responsibility and courage to create. I am able to see individual learning to group learning. There is good communication between mentors and mentees. During the workshop mentees also gave some thoughts about the projects and mentors also without any hesitation, incorporated that in the projects. There is learning across different ages. Mentors also learned something from mentees. I was able to witness Students shifting Theoretical learning — visual proof maths learning (both chart work and animation in Scratch).

I am able to see the equality in the group, different children from different schools work together, and this form of new interaction works with other people to make friends. I was able to see the quality of perseverance, determination, and confidence while they worked on the project. I have learnt that when I am on the judging panel I should overcome my background conversation and deeply listen to the children who presenting the project. I also noticed the joy of learning while the children worked on scratch projects.

My name is Poonguzhali. I deeply care about Love and happiness for myself and others. When I participated in the tournament, I experienced a sense of anxiety. However, the “Stand and Fear” session helped me consciously identify my values and felt a strong desire to align my actions with them. I was determined to respond in accordance with my values. I operated at my highest capacity, giving my utmost effort. In my role as a mentor, I actively enhanced my leadership skills and qualities.

The Mathegramming tournament set an example of how education can inspire excellence, equality, and courage in the hearts and minds of our future leaders.

Integral Education

We had a three-day workshop on integral education conducted from October 4th to 6th at Bharat Nivas campus, unity pavilion and amphitheatre in Matrimandir. Around 140 teachers from schools in and around Auroville and others working on education participated in this workshop. It was a residential gathering where people were engaged in different activities from 6AM to 7 PM.

We had a three-day yoga sessions at 6AM, which gave us a different and energizing experience. It helped us develop qualities like unity, responsibility, integrity, joy, happiness, balance, care, and peace.

We want to make positive changes in ourselves. This means moving from being scattered to unified, from an unhealthy to a healthy life, from a wandering mind to a focused one, from laziness to being proactive, and from restlessness to peace.

We also want to share what we’ve learned with others. This way, we can all grow together, promoting unity and peace.

The activities in our yoga sessions include music therapy for concentration, pranayama to refresh our blood, Surya Namaskar for energy, and various asanas (sitting and standing poses) for flexibility.

Yoga has been a transformative journey for us, both mentally and physically. We aim to continue these sessions and expand our circle to spread the benefits of yoga to more individuals.

Integral Education Book reading session:

In our interactive reading sessions, we had the privilege to explore “On Education” by Mother and “Three Principles of Education” by Sri Aurobindo. These sessions were much more than reading; they were discussions where we shared our thoughts, challenges, transformations, and solutions in the realm of education, especially in supporting children.

Here’s a summary of what we’ve learned and discussed:

A Holistic Perspective: Mother emphasized that education is not just about academics. It should encompass four essential aspects: the physical, mental, vital, and psychic dimensions. For education to be truly effective, these elements must align harmoniously.

Teaching vs. Supporting: We’ve realized that teaching isn’t about imposing our ideas on children. It’s about guiding and supporting them in pursuing their interests and passions, making their learning experience beautiful.

Beyond Knowledge: Education isn’t limited to imparting knowledge alone. It’s about nurturing individuals with good qualities, helping them become strong, responsible, and disciplined, and encouraging them to live with a sense of purpose.

Empowering Choices: As educators, our role is not to dictate but to empower. We should give children choices and make them aware of the consequences, allowing them to choose the path that genuinely interests them.

The Art of Connection: Connecting with children is an art we must master. By linking new knowledge to what they already know, we can make learning feel familiar rather than foreign.

Love and Care: Showing love and care is crucial in creating a comfortable and joyful learning environment. When children feel cared for, they embrace learning more beautifully.

System(String) Game in IE workshop:

This was a fun activity where we could see how I engage with my activity, with my team and with systems in general when we deal with complexity

The qualities that we saw throughout the activity were equality, care, full potential, unity, leadership, and creativity. Though we were from different backgrounds, we were all given equal importance throughout the entire workshop. We learned to care for ourselves and others around us. The activity unleashed our full potential by communicating with others, creating new patterns, and working unitedly to bring out innovative ideas.

This activity helped us to address the isms related to gender, age, and nationality. The different ideas shared by each person in the group were very effective in achieving the goal. We were able to realize the importance of independence to interdependence. It was clearly seen that each and every individual took part as a learner and leader. There was no hierarchy. It created space to move from rigid to flexible mindsets and break the silos and work as a whole group rather than smaller units alone.

The three principles of the teaching of Sri Aurobindo were clearly brought out through this activity.

Nothing can be taught – no one told us what the game was about we needed to discover it ourselves.

The mind must be consulted in its own growth – we learned to create our own patterns and we created our own self-assessment criteria for the game.

Near to far – started with what we had and extended it to new ideas

We were able to bring out what we expected through non-verbal communication. It allowed us to accept that there can be multiple solutions for any aspect.

Video Links:
Day 02

Day 03

Pictures of the gathering:
2023-10-04 to 06 Integral Education Workshop

2023-10-05 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day one

2023-10-04 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day one afternoon – photos

2023-10-05 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day two morning – photos

2023-10-05 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day two afternoon – photos

2023-10-06 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day three morning – photos

2023-10-06 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day three afternoon – photos

Pictures of the gathering:
2023-10-04 to 06 Integral Education Workshop

2023-10-05 INTEGRAL EDUCATION workshop – day one

RTL (Radical Transformational Leadership) Sessions:

We have a team building session where everyone comes together to look at their leadership ability – leadership means “my ability to create new future grounded on universal values”. These RTL sessions helps to look at oneself within deeper and reflect on it. We see RTL program as  both personal transformation and a team building program. Initially we were very small team in numbers now we have become a larger team that is working on more and more diverse and high end tech areas. We started working in more and more silos, but this RTL session help to break silos.

The onsite session we are having are easier to engage with other participants as compared to online, but the hybrid model allowed us to learn from the insights and experiences from people around the country.

Saranya: During these sessions I was able to reflect on my actions and noticed where all I need to retain or improve as a person. I learnt that there are multiple ways of saying no and when I decline the requests from others it moves things forward helps them find other ways to get things done.

Elam: I was able to notice that when I am grounded I am being more and more calm inside and I am not stuck. I am able to move forward with the work I do.

Poonguzhali: During the RTL sessions I gained more confidence about my project. When I filled out the SOS (Synergistic Operational strategic) template I saw what I needed to put in place to make it successful. I reflected on my own integrity, this awareness helped me to check alignment with my universal values. I also learned to move from overwhelm into courageous action based on my universal values.

Arunkumar: Reflecting on my past events helped me learn how I could have handled a difficult situation differently in the past from my universal values. I was able to notice the granularity I missed in my project. In SOS I was able to notice that I need to foster an enabling environment for the change I wish to see. In discernment and judgement, I was able to notice that I had reacted in situations and, judged people when I stilled myself and aligned with my universal values I was able to discerned and see things as they are.

Dancing thought breaks were unique and it helped me to overcome my fear of dancing in-front of others and it was a fulfilled activity. The students of the B.Voc program who also participated and also shared their reflections on stage (I noticed courage, not the absence of fear but the ability to act in spite of it).