Maths Fest 2015

Math Fest 2015 was held on August 3, 2015. It was a school-wide event involving children from all classes, pre-school to class XII. They were all engaged in hands-on interactive problem solving of some kind or the other. The event had an explorative festival like atmosphere.

Spiral of Theodorus (square-root spiral)
Spiral of Theodorus (square-root spiral)

The idea behind the Math Fest was to provide mathematical challenges to children and present an exposition of mathematical concepts in a visual form to make them accessible to a diverse audience.

There were about forty activity stations, each one focusing on a key math concept presented in the form of a problem, pattern, exploration, game or puzzle. Many of the activities were organised around the theme of symmetry.

Vitruvian Man and Golden ratio
Vitruvian Man and Golden ratio

During the preparatory build-up to the event, children worked collaboratively in pairs or groups of four to make presentations to the visitors. Solving these problems required both basic mathematical skills as well as higher order thinking skills.

All the activities were hands-on and interactive. At some stations, geometric shapes and geometric 3-D models which had been prepared by the students were used, and at other counters, seeds and paper strips were used. Many of the tasks could be attempted at different levels, thus meeting the needs of young students as well as holding out a challenge for the older ones as well.

Explaining the geodesic structure
Explaining the geodesic structure

At the end of the day, two short films were screened, each with a mathematical theme. One of them was The Dot and the Line – a romance in lower dimensions; it is a charming story about geometrical entities, with extremely witty dialogues. The other one was Flatland; it is based on a novel of the same name, written by Edwin Abbott more than a century back. It features an imaginary two-dimensional world in which a few of the inhabitants become aware of the third dimension and of attempts by the State to conceal this fact. Children seemed to enjoy both the movies greatly.

Solving a puzzle
Solving a puzzle

Children and teachers alike seemed to enjoy the event, but a few felt that it could have been spread out over two days rather than be packed into a single day. We hope to have another such event a year later.

– Mathematics faculty of Sahyadri School

Colours of Sahyadri

Nature was, for the longest period of time, something I had read about or oohed and aahed over when I went on picnics and vacations. The words to describe the sights would come easily to anyone who has read any travel article—the cerulean blue of the sky, the fluffy clouds that look like cotton candy, dewdrops shining like diamonds on blades of grass, a lake shimmering like a sheet of glass, the brilliant disc of the full moon, the ink-blue night sky dotted with crystals, the stormy grey of a rain-cloud filled sky—I could go on and on…

Little did I imagine that I would one day be living in the midst of all those words I had read! I had first visited Sahyadri towards the end of March. The hillsides were dappled with shades of brown. Green was visible in patches on tree tops and the lake was far, far away looking as though someone had accidentally set a large sheet of glass with jagged edges in the valley.

I came back towards the end of May and the colours had not changed much—the bright blue sky overhead, the Impressionist orange-red glow of the sunsets, the varying shades of grey-blue on the lake’s surface, mirroring the porcelain white clouds.

... the Astachal sky
… the Astachal sky

The monsoon blew into Sahyadri and how the landscape changed! A riot of colours unfurled itself. The greens came first, from the palest yellow-green of baby leaves to the deep, dark rich green of the older ones who had seen a few summers. The blue of the sky changed to iron grey, molten grey and silver grey depending on the whims of the rain gods. The white clouds turned grey and then black with the effort of holding in all the raindrops. Then came the flowers in the deepest of butter yellows to the fieriest of reds, oranges, an artist’s palette of blues and violets, and the babiest of baby pinks, milky whites, and waxy creams. The jagged edges of the glass lake seemed to smoothen themselves out and reflect the spectacle of the grey and black skies.

Bheema at the outset of the Monsoon
Bheema at the outset of the Monsoon

I have been here for four months now and each day has brought fresh enchantment as I watch the myriad shades of sunshine through the leaves, butterflies clad in the colours of the skies, the leaves and the flowers, and make fresh discoveries, such as the pale-green Moon Moth, the fierce-looking Owl Moth, the humongous Atlas Moth.

I now look forward to the next term and seeing the greens fade into yellows and the yellows into browns, the skies regaining their porcelain shimmer, the clouds their candy fluff, and the sunsets their vibrant oranges.

– Seema Srinivas