PA/06/19 25 February 2019
Learning maths the fun way
Australia Fest has brought together science communicators and educators in a unique project that will bring to life an innovative exhibition on maths and computational thinking.
The project was conceptualised by Dr Stuart Kohlhagen, Senior Fellow of Science and Learning at Questacon (Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre), and presented in India in collaboration with the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM). It aims to extend the capacity of teachers in India to engage students in mathematics, problem solving and also in the area of computational thinking.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Her Excellency Ms Harinder Sidhu, welcomed the growing science and innovation links between our two countries.
“India is highly regarded for its contributions to mathematics and science. Australia is proud to partner with India in furthering STEMM associations under initiatives such as the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, our largest bilateral fund with any country. We hope that such collaborations can inspire the work of the next generation of scientists and thinkers.”
“I am thrilled that visitors to India’s science museums will be able to experience a small part of Questacon through this project,” added Ms Sidhu.
Phase one of the project took off in October 2018 when Dr Kohlhagen conducted capacity building workshops with 40 education professionals at Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore. These workshops led to the development of over 20 exhibit prototypes relating to computational thinking and mathematics.
Dr Kohlhagen is back in India to facilitate the final development of the interactive models through workshops in Kolkata and Guwahati. The final exhibit models will be displayed at the Birla Industrial & Technological Museum in Kolkata on 27 and 28 February as part of its National Science Day 2019 celebrations.
"The people of India are passionate about maths and science, and the world owes a great debt to the pioneering work of their citizens in these areas, both historically, as well as in recent years. The upcoming program will extend the great work started in 2018 in Bangalore, and bring these topics into focus for teachers, education officers and exhibit curators at the prestigious NCSM. I look forward to the enthusiasm of the participants and the outcome of the program that will enrich both of our countries," said Dr Kohlhagen.
“We want to make mathematics less intimidating and more fun by training teachers and museum professionals in computational thinking. Through such programs, we hope to create learning models and mathematics kits that could be circulated to schools across the country,” said Mr Samarendra Kumar, Director, NCSM.
The National Council of Science Museums plans to roll out the program by March this year in all its 25 centres across the country, by developing learning kits based on this collaborative project.
About Dr Stuart Kohlhagen
Dr Stuart Kohlhagen PSM, has worked with Questacon since 1979. He has led the design and development of interactive exhibits, and also helped shape and deliver many of the programs, shows and demonstrations that form a key part of Questacon’s activities and outreach programs.
Dr Kohlhagen has led the delivery of numerous international workshops on exhibit development and has been especially active in supporting professional development of science centre staff from diverse countries.
Dr Kohlhagen was the President of the Australian Science and Technology Exhibitors Network (ASTEN) from 2012 - 2016. He is closely involved with the University of Canberra’s School of Science and Education in facilitating the development of the new Masters of teaching course and is a member of the education committee of the Australian Academy of Sciences.
About Australia Fest:
On 18 September 2018 Australia’s High Commissioner to India Her Excellency Ms Harinder Sidhu, launched Australia Fest, a six month long celebration of Australian culture and creativity. Australia Fest has been made possible with the generous support of our partners in three major categories: Platinum: State Governments of Victoria and New South Wales; Gold: Deakin University; Silver: ANZ Banking Group, Ashok & Mariam Jacob, CQ University Australia, FCM Travel Solutions, Mahindra, Northern Territory Government, Tata BlueScope Steel, Telstra, Tourism Australia and Woodside Energy. Australia Fest’s hotel partner is the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), airline partner is Singapore Airlines, wine partner is Jacob’s Creek, and promotion partner is BookMyShow.
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