Trail of the month: Exploring the other side of Opuwo
This month we would like to present you a trail from a country that has hardly been visible in the MathCityMap community so far. The Mathtrail of the month December “Exploring the other side of Opuwo” comes from the city of Opuwo in Namibia, where there is a growing enthusiasm for MathCityMap as well. The trail can be accessed in the MCM app under the code 5612172 and can also be found in the web portal.
The trail consists of a total of 5 tasks, which are thematically located primarily in the topics of areas and volume calculation and are suitable in their complexity especially for the 9th and 10th grade level. Often the tasks also have a relation to crafts, which makes the relevance for the everyday world particularly clear.
Highschool teacher Given Kahale Matengu , to whom we owe our new Trail of the Month, already created several other math trails with MathCityMap in the past years. In a short interview he tells us about his experiences with MCM so far. Have fun reading!
How did you come across the MathCityMap project?
I was introduced to the MathCityMap project in 2017 during my M. Ed studies at Rhodes University, South Africa. In one of the contact sessions my supervisor Professor Marc Schäfer invited Professor Matthias Ludwig to Namibia (my home country where we sometimes use to attend contact sessions). It was this time that I learned the operations of the MCM project by creating my tasks through the help and guidance of Professor Matthias Ludwig.
Where is your trail located? What is special about your trail?
“Exploring the other side of Opuwo” math trail is one of the many trails that I have created with my teacher participants around the town of Opuwo. The trail is located at the southwest side of the town and contains five tasks based on the topics of length, area, volume and proportion. This trail is best walked when it is not the rainy season as most of the spots where the tasks are located are prone to flooding.
How do you use MCM and why?
I use the MCM app as a mobile tool to analyse how teachers can use authentic tasks to conceptually teach the topics of length, area, volume, ratio and proportion to grade 9 learners. With a group of nine secondary school teachers, we create tasks within school environments, the town centre as well as the nearby surroundings of the town of Opuwo, and then teachers use these tasks to teach outdoors. The aim is to popularise mathematics within the community and at the same time campaign against policies that prohibit the use of smartphones in teaching and learning contexts in the region and the country at large.
Describe your favorite task on the trail. How can it be solved?
My favourite task in this trail is the “painting wall Task” which asks learners to calculate the quantity of paint in millilitres that is needed to cover the exterior frontside of a building in a situation where a litre of paint covers a surface area of 6 square meters. This task can be solved by first calculating the area of the wall and then subtracting the area of the two rectangular windows. The next step is then to use a ratio of 1 liter : 6 square meters to determine the needed paint.
First, in this task learners get to understand that even in reality, when working outside you need mathematical concepts and modelling skills to calculate the surface that needs to be painted. Secondly, the solving of this task involves measurements, so when solving the task learners can learn how to use a tape measure, how to convert between units as well as learning how to round off to the nearest whole number. Thirdly, this task teaches learners that for one to paint the wall, it would be necessary to have an idea of how much paint to use, hence an informed decision of how much paint to buy. Buying too much paint is a waste of money and buying too little paint can become a total headache, so whoever needs to paint the wall would want to ensure that the estimate is accurate.