PE Ledger

Saturday, September 23, 2023

How girls on Prince Edward Island are improving their math skills and confidence

Positive math message is promoted in this pilot project, and abilities are developed through everyday activities.

The 11- and 12-year-old participants in a new pilot initiative targeted at helping Island girls develop their confidence in math have given it high scores.

STEAM P.E.I., a non-profit organisation that provides hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities for children and youth, created Girls Get Math. The program’s goal is to spread good math messages and help students develop abilities through everyday activities.

Emmarie Knockwood, a student at Mount Stewart Consolidated School, remarked, “I feel a lot better and a little more confidence than I used to.” Hers is one of three P.E.I. schools taking part in the experiment. In 2022, it will also be implemented at the French school in Charlottetown.

When Knockwood is learning math in her school, she says the boys in the class frequently scream out the solution first.

“The boys are more confident,” Knockwood said, adding that learning arithmetic through lunchtime sessions with other girls is lot more pleasurable — and it’s simpler to connect with what’s being taught.

“I guess I’d argue that working together, friendship, and having fun with math are all better than having no fun with math.”

In this girls-only group setting, fellow student Chloe Walker also finds it simpler to learn and focus on arithmetic.

“It’s all girls, and it’s different — it’s a nice change,” Walker remarked.

“People in the back may be talking and conversing, but all those little sounds can be a distraction; they’re a tremendous distraction for me.”

This week, the girls made a $1 bag out of several types of candy that were worth different amounts per 100 grammes. The goal is for children to see math as a part of their daily life rather than just a subject studied in class.

“You don’t need a math degree to perform math every day,” Amber Jadis, manager of STEAM P.E.I., explained. “That’s what I want people to understand: just because they don’t have a math degree or aren’t sitting at a computer proving formulae doesn’t imply they’re not brilliant at arithmetic.”

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