UCLan Students African Adventure
Life as a Mathematics student at UCLan is not all about Functions, Vectors & Calculus. Students have the option to develop a variety of skills through an international travel experience. One such experience being a recent trip to Benin to gain experience of teaching maths to different cultures.
The group arrived in the city of Cotonou for a two-week trip in early June before travelling to Nati to visit the local schools and radio station.
The trip was to formalise educational projects and educational facilities across the world, including showing both teachers and students a different way of teaching maths.
Davide Penazzi, Maths Lecturer at UCLan, detailed the significant moments of the trip:
“We visited two schools, one of these was EPP Kouaba. We went to this school to formalise the collaboration in terms of educational projects and material support. After observing the students, it was noticeable that they are really well behaved and are extremely participative.
“On the second day we had ice breaking activities with the students which went very well. We did a “distances and maps” activity which was done with some smaller activities.
“The next day, we briefly visit a school on the way to Kouande with the teachers being interested in the practical way of introducing mathematical notions. We allowed the Beninese students to explore the solution of the actual task rather than just telling them how to solve it.
“In the evening I led a conference called “Mathematics in Life.” attended by local students. We discussed topics such as “logic and numerability” and “mathematical biology and vaccinations.” The delegates appreciated the application of mathematics to real problems, being to implement a strategy of vaccination for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“The Benin trip was a great success with our students who gained a richer university experience by not only delivering activities but by exploring the African nation, its historic background and culture.”