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, Pascalís 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.