Qatar university brings maths to life with interactive exhibition

A week-long event hosted by Qatar University hopes to encourage late primary and early secondary school students to enjoy maths.

DOHA, QATAR (OCTOBER 3, 2015) (REUTERS) – Children and youngsters enjoyed a day of video games and 3D experiences at Qatar University on Saturday (October 3) – all in the name of encouraging them to enjoy maths.

The activities were part of a week-long “MathAlive” exhibition, which the university is hosting to try and encourage primary and secondary school students to get more out of the subject.

“Mathematics education, in the world in general and not only in the Arab World, is facing problems because mathematics is a subject that students can enjoy depending on the way it’s explained to them. When we use technology like video and interactive games like the skateboards, it becomes easy for us to communicate with the students to teach such subjects like acute angles, right angles, etc., using skiboards or explain it using balls,”

said the university’s Saud Abdelaziz.

He said he hoped there would be a new generation of groundbreaking mathematicians in the Arab World.

“We look forward to having a new Ibn al-Haytham, Al-Biruni or Khawarizmi from this generation, because of this relationship (to mathematics),” said Abdelaziz referring to famous Arab and Persian mathematicians from the ninth and tenth centuries.

Muslim mathematicians invented algebra and Muslim astronomers mapped the heavens, during the so-called Islamic Golden Age between the eighth and thirteenth centuries.

But starting in the 17th century, the scientific revolution catapulted Europe far ahead of the Middle East.

In Doha, engineer Alaa al-Rawshdy, who came to the exhibition with his children, said the exhibition was using an approach that worked well with the youngsters.

“The focus is on things that really interest children. Things that are close to fiction, but are becoming a reality nowadays, like high rise buildings, space. All of these things that children see in cartoons and now they try to take part in building them. This somehow makes them understand that mathematics plays an important role,” he said.

Another visitor, Saleh Omar bin Arshid, is a coordinator of Mathematics at a local school. He said it was crucial to show students how maths is applied in real-life situations.

“The more students understand the importance of science in real life, the more it will be attractive for them and they will be motivated when they know that it’s not just numbers and abstract things,” Arshid said.

”MathAlive” is a travelling exhibition that was brought to the Middle East for the first time by Abu Dhabi in 2013.

Since then it has visited several countries in the region including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The exhibition in Doha will be shown until October 8.