Coding in Maths – Newsletter

coding in maths


Hello Maths @ Sharp Friend,

Happy term 2! Recently I met a teacher who receives these newsletters – and in surprise she said “Oh, you’re a real person!” I couldnt help but laugh 😀 With the recent MrD “I’m Megan” ad-campaign, I can totally understand her confusion. (Here’s the ad I am referring to in case you haven’t seen it.)
But yes, in case you were wondering, I am a real person 😉 I have two beautiful little girls that keep me busy, and a husband that I adore. I have been working for Sharp for over 12 years and in that time I have gone from a brunette, to a redhead, to a blonde and then back again, all in an effort to hide the fact that I am, in fact, grey 😉 I am also a student (again) studying part time at the University of Witwatersrand which has been incredibly rewarding and reminds me that you are only as young as the people you write exams with 🙂 
We are living a digital world. Things like coding and robotics are no longer far out concepts for the distant future or wierd movies, but something our learners have to grapple with daily. 
Recently we hosted two maths days (thanks again to Westville Girls in Durban and Roedean Girls in Johannesburg for hosting us) with the theme coding in maths. And what came through in each day was the very strong connection between coding and maths. 
Coding and maths are both a series of logical statements. They each follow specific rules and based on these rules, we get a specific outcome. We can use coding to teach things like measuring (think the World Robotics Olympiad map), patterns, and even an introduction to algebra (variables for the win). Coding teaches us algorithmic and computational thinking. It teaches us processes – and this is a skill that we use all the time in maths.
So, how do you get started with coding at your school? There are several great solutions with varying pricetags. Cambridge has some great textbook options for grade 1 – 3 learners that dont actually use the expensive robotics bits but focus on the basics and using recyclable materials to make different “robots”. They also host teacher workshops.
Tshidi from Steam4Kids hosts workshops for learners and teachers both online and in person. Her banana piano (in the picture at the top of the email), captured our attention and imagination – and explains the concept of completing a circuit. Her dynamic energy will make you want to learn more and more, and you will have fun doing it.
HandsonTech offers a Lego Robotics solution and also hosts the World Robotics Olympiad. Handsontech also offers an “unplugged”  option which uses the 6-bricks set (in other words, a set of 6 duplo bricks of different colours). Registration for the World Robotics Olympiad for South Africa is open until the 1st of June 2024. 
What is great about these competitions is that they build a sense of community. Now if you are a maths teacher and looking for a sense of community, The Answer Series has created a series of WhatsApp groups that you can join to hear the latest maths news, and to ask for help from a community of maths teachers. There are also communities for Science (natural, life and physical) and they have also launched an Economics group. For links etc, you can download this pdf. Remember to be kind and share this with your colleagues 🙂 


Are you ready to take on coding? If you can follow processes for maths, you can definitely do coding 😉 
I look forward to hearing your stories,


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