New Delhi: The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has come up with a book that teaches maths by the way of poems, activities, riddles and games. The book, Mazedaar Hai Ganit (Mathematics is fun), is in Hindi and is meant for elementary classes (classes 1 and 2). It aims to make learning maths fun and simple for children.
The book, however, is extra reading prescribed by the council.
It has rhymes, poetry, stories and activities to teach students basic concepts off mathematics such as counting, shapes and sizes and various measurement methods like calculating weight, height and length. Through stories, the book also attempts to teach calculation, addition and subtraction.
Teaching maths through stories
The book looks to simplify basic concepts, particularly through stories.
For instance, there is a story of seven friends where one person always forgets to count himself and thinks that the group is made up of six people — this is meant to teach students about calculations. Another story is about a girl who forgets the days of the week. This is meant to teach them about the number and names of the days in a week.
Examples from daily life are used to illustrate the importance of knowing basics. For instance, to teach children counting from 1 to 5, the book relies on limericks such as this:
Ek naak hai, chehra ek, do ankhen hai gin kar dekh (you have one nose, one face, two eyes, count and see), teen pahiyon ka riksha aya, char pair ka har chaupaya (the rickshaw has three wheels, the cot has four legs), panch ungliyon ka hai haath, mutthi baandho ab ek saath (a hand has five fingers, clench your fist and see).
NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapathy told ThePrint the book is a way to address students losing interest in the subject.
“Mathematics in schools is still based on rote learning method, which makes it stressful and there is a need to change that,” Senapathy said. “Because of the methods of teaching, students are slowing losing interest in the subject. With an attempt to teach maths in a fun way to kids at the initial level, we have come up with the book,” he added.
“This book has been developed by the elementary education wing of NCERT and can be used for teaching kids measurements, shapes, sizes, numbers and language.”
Other initiatives to make maths easy
This is one of the many initiatives that the government is taking to make sure learning mathematics is easy for students. In 2018, the Ministry of Human Resource and Development had constituted a committee to work on ways in which learning the subject can be made easier. The committee that consists of subject experts, educationists and faculty from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is likely to submit its final report in the next couple of months.
In its initial recommendations, the committee had suggested taking immediate reforms such as making maths learning fun and having two mathematics papers for Class 10 students. The board came up with two maths question papers for Class 10 students, easy for those who do not want to pursue the paper beyond Class 10 and tough for those who want to take the subject in higher classes.