- types of problems it addresses
- methods it uses to address these problems
- the results it has achieved
Mathematics relies on both logic and creativity, and it is pursued both for a variety of practical purposes and for its intrinsic interest. Primary and Secondary Mathematics however should focus on a holistic definition encompassing all facets of the subject as a discipline. I would like to explore, again another category generally believed to address Mathematics in its totality:
Mathematics as the prime human endeavor
We teach Reception and all Primary measurement of time for example, years, months, weeks, days, hours. We also teach distance measurement that developed throughout the world. For some people, the essence of mathematics lies in its beauty and its intellectual challenge. Because mathematics plays such a central role in modern culture, students need to perceive mathematics as part of the human endeavor, comprehend the nature of mathematical thinking, and become familiar with key mathematical ideas and skills.
Students and us as teachers tend to define mathematics in terms of what they learn in mathematics class. The instructional and assessment focus tends to be on basic skills and on solving relatively simple problems using these basic skills, this is only part of mathematics.
Beauty in Mathematics
It is important to study enough mathematics so that students understand and appreciate the breadth, depth, complexity, and beauty of the discipline. Mathematicians often talk about the beauty of a particular proof or mathematical result. G. H. Hardy was one of the world’s leading mathematicians in the first half of the 20th century. In his book “A Mathematician’s Apology” he elaborates at length on differences between pure and applied mathematics.
Mathematics is an aid to representing and attempting to resolve problem situations in all disciplines. It is an interdisciplinary tool and language.
Mr Hebert Tapfuma
High School Mathematics
Last week the Year 4’s had to set some personal goals for themselves to end the year in the best possible way. It was wonderful to see all the different goals that the students wanted to achieve. Goals varied from “improving my piano skills”, “respecting and accepting myself for who I am” to “giving my old toys to charity”. I noticed that there were so many students that wanted to do well in their progression tests and achieve a high mark at the end of the year.
It is clear that we’ve reached that time of the year where they might start to feel a bit overwhelmed and stressed about the upcoming tests and assessments. It is so important that we, as teachers and parents, encourage our children to do their best but it should not be something that causes them so much stress and anxiety. I recently read a beautiful quote that really stuck with me:
“Don’t compare your child to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They both shine when it’s their turn” – Unknown
This quote really inspired me to start thinking differently about the way we think about these tests and the way that we speak to our children in general. I read a marvellous article on https://www.momspresso.com that summarized the impact that comparing can have on children:
The article states that every child is different and that in the present age, where competition has spread its tentacles in every walk of life, it is crucial to teach our kids to be grounded. And comparing him at each step will just not help. He should be taught to better himself with each day, not to be better than his counterparts. It is natural to know where our child stands amidst others, in this world of ranks and percentages and wherein everyone is bidding for that coveted seat in a top school or university. But to constantly harrow him as to how others are better than him will fill him with inferiority complex.
Here are some prime reasons as to why we should not compare our children with others:
- It leads to self-doubt.
- It causes pangs of jealousy.
- It can make your child negative.
- They will feel like they don’t have your support.
- It can make them extremely nervous and cause anxiety.Instead of comparing your child to others, rather encourage and motivate them to better themselves and teach them to love and respect themselves.
Here are some easy tips to motivate your child:
- Let them set realistic goals for themselves.
- Celebrate their accomplishments – no matter how small.
- Encourage them.
- Take interest in what they do and spend time with them.
- Discover their passions and use it to help them achieve their goals.
- Always remain positive.
- Ensure that they know you love them no matter what.Inspired by the quote about the moon and the stars, my class had to decorate and colour in a picture of a moon and a sun and was encourage to be as creative as possible. The creativity and uniqueness in their picture reflects their own uniqueness. We are all different and that is what makes us special.
I wish all the students that are studying for the upcoming tests and assessments all of the best.
Always remember: You are worthy, you are blessed and you are loved.
Mrs Ria du Plessis
“Show and Tell” is always a very exciting day in the Reception classes. Students come to school eager to share their presentations with their friends.
Although a fun day, the importance of “Show and Tell” cannot be overlooked. “Show and Tell” gives students the opportunity to share some of their personal experiences and general knowledge with their peers. Preparing a presentation with their mom and dad creates that special time between parent and little one and often they find facts that even the teacher didn’t know.
Our “Show and Tell” this week was all about under the sea and the students came prepared to tell everyone about their favourite sea animal. It is daunting task standing in front of the whole class to do your presentation, and some of the little ones are often shy at the beginning of the year. Though as the year progresses it is amazing to observe the growth in confidence. “Show and Tell” not only builds that self confidence that comes from presenting, but also teaches students respect for their peers, as it is just as important to be a good audience.
How to Prepare for Show and Tell:
(When your child is practising you may need to remind them of the following)
– Keep your head up and look around at your audience as much as possible.
– Use a loud and clear voice.
– Keep your feet still and together on the floor.
– Try to use exciting words or adjectives to describe your adventure or object.
Go to https://speakupstudio.com.au/show-and-tell-part-two-tips-for-show-and-tell for the full article.
We are so proud of our little ones and as always, the teachers also learned some interesting facts. (Who knew there are 440 different species of sharks?)
We have had an immensely busy term thus far and this got me thinking the other day about goals.
We navigate through our lives running from one task to the next, sometimes missing beautiful moments along the way. It feels like we barely blink and our children are walking, going to school, graduating, getting married and suddenly it is time to retire.
Perhaps it would be good practice for us to sit down and take stock of where we have been, where we are now and where we want to go. This is a wonderful exercise to teach our children as they work towards their goal of graduation. However, the ultimate goal of graduation must also be met with balance.
Teaching our children to enjoy the journey will ultimately help them achieve success. It is all too easy to lose sight of your goals when you are overwhelmed and stressed. Taking the time to allow yourself to breathe and enjoy the moment will help you re-evaluate yourself and your goals. This introspection will lead to healthier, happier and more successful individuals entering the adult world with confidence.
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer
As we are nearing the end of the third term, I would like to remind parents to start purchasing the correct uniform for the summer months. It is very important that the students wear the correct uniform and that we, as parents and teachers, encourage them in this endeavor. In doing so, we instill a sense of pride in the students with the end goal that wearing the correct uniform is not a chore, but a matter of honour. I therefore urge parents to prepare now for the change in uniform next term.
Last night was the opening night of our high school’s musical production ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Although a successful opening night, it was disappointing to see the lack of support for our students and for the burgeoning cultural program at our school. The students and teachers have worked incredibly hard to put this performance together and last night was an awe inspiring showcase of their talent. I encourage all our students and parents to purchase tickets for the last two performances as we owe it to the students to support their efforts and to support the growth of arts and culture within our school community.
On Friday the 23rd of August the grade 9-12 art students had the propitious opportunity to attend an outing to visit the Zeitz MOCAA – a stirring occasion that enabled us to view the largest collection of African contemporary art in the world.
In the early morning we departed from school to the V&A Waterfront, where the museum stands. We had arrived slightly early which gave us the chance to explore some of the clever constructions that stood just outside the museum – which included chairs that were built to not stand right up but instead roll around whilst an individual is seated.
After some fun and laughter we were taken through the employee entrance which lead us all the way down to the basement, where you could look above to view the impressive architecture of the monument we stood in. Our introductory guide had explained some brief history of the building and how in the 1920s it had been built as a grain silo but was later altered to house countless works of modern artistry. The historical landmark itself was considered art, not only it’s contents.
The exhibitions were briefly talked about – including the new opening of William Kentridges’ : “Why should I Hesitate.” Although that was not yet open, us students were told to make our way to the 2nd and 4th floors where we could gaze upon the exhibition “Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday,” which spoke about the importance of political and social issues spanning over the continent. We were given a worksheet to complete to aid us in analyzing 3 chosen displays on these floors to help us better understand how we can use these techniques to better convey a message in our art pieces. Once finished with traveling around everyone returned to the basement to complete the write ups.
At lunch time we hopped back onto the bus to take us to the Waterfront food court where everyone ordered food and socialized a bit before leaving back to arrive at school at 2 o’clock that afternoon.
The experience is one that can not be easily forgotten and I believe us students not only enjoyed ourselves greatly but gained more outlook into the world of art and how you can use various mediums to convey a message through space, lines and shapes.
Student Year 12B
What makes a good assignment?
This term, the Year 7 and 8 students had to complete a creative assignment for which they had a variety of options from which to choose. These ranged from practical tasks supported by explanatory theory, including dioramas and masks, to written assignments like articles and essays. All were aimed at revealing student understanding and interpretation of a literary text.
The Year 7’s focused on the drama Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, and the Year 8 students centered theirs around the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Goulding.
Having taught English for many years, I have seen students produce assignments that were of the highest standard, with insight and creativity beyond their years. In stark contrast to this, many students put little to no effort into their work, belying their capabilities.
I am pleased to say that the majority of students at Blouberg International School had my soul singing with their astute, inspired and detailed projects. What is more important is that they took on the challenge and were, through their intensive efforts, beaming with pride in themselves.
One might wonder what it takes to produce a project that will bring a teacher to joyful tears.
Beyond carefully following the instructions and ensuring that all of the necessities are included – which will certainly result in a good mark – there are a few ingredients every student could add to their scholastic recipes.
Below is a list of strategies every student should attempt when tackling their next daunting assignment:
- Begin with the task as soon as it is assigned. Even if you work on it a little every other day, this will provide ample opportunity to clarify concerns you may have with your teacher or to correct any mishaps that may arise.
- Pay attention to the instructions. Use it as a check list to ensure that you have included all of the elements essential to the task. Tackle every objective.
- Use the resources your teacher provides, but conduct your own research as well. There are many reliable sources online.
- When compiling your research data, use only key words and phrases from your sources and rewrite information in your own words unless quoting. Always cite your sources. Your teacher wants to test your skills and understanding, not that of a university graduate – or a parent.
- Include your own opinion, but ensure that it is backed by fact. One should not have the opportunity to question your ideas, they should clearly link to accurate information.
- Thoroughly edit your assignment to safeguard against any trivial errors.
- Work as neatly as possible. A task that is well-organised and tidy immediately appears of a higher quality and will be more pleasant to assess. It is arduous for teachers to mark work that is illegible or poorly structured.
- Use your own initiative, be as creative as possible within the task framework and go the extra mile. Teachers revel in the little details you include and enjoy it when you think outside of the box, sometimes astounding us with components beyond that of the grade requirements and insights we might not have considered.
Students who used all or most of these strategies in this term’s assignments deserve an honourable mention:
– Catherine Fortuin 7B designed a beautiful diorama for which she created clay figures on a stage setting in the throws of an important fight scene between Romeo and Tybalt. Her talent and attention to detail is admirable.
– Marco de Mattos 7A cleverly included a public announcement and advert with his article about the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
– Maya Mthwana of 7A designed a well-written, neat article, closely adhering to layout requirements.
– Mihlali Lumkwana of 7A went to great lengths to create her storyboard for Act IV in Romeo and Juliet.
– Ryan Barker in 8A put great effort into his Lord of the Flies Survival Manual. He’s the one with whom you want to end up stranded on a deserted island.
– Vincent Chamunorwa, 8B, designed an inspiring cartoon for Chapter 11 of Lord of the Flies. He has incredible talent!
– Athena Thomas, 8B, has a gift for watercolour painting. Her contributing explanation as to what Piggy’s glasses in Lord of the Flies represents was thorough.
– Philade Luthango’s poster (8A) about the character, Piggy, immediately caught everyone’s attention due to its bold design and beautiful drawings.
– Layla Moodley, 8A, went the extra mile by designing a symbol to represent each chapter in her plot diagram of Lord of the Flies.
– Taylor Williams, 8A, not only painted an extremely detailed image of the conch from Lord of the Flies, but ingeniously included symbols associated with it and presented her explanation on a creatively designed poster. Her attention to detail is admirable.
– Mia Ross in 8B moulded these fantastic masks to her own face and painted them to represent characters from Lord of the Flies. There is even symbolism in the colours used.
– Oscar Berger, 8B, wrote a fantastic essay in which he explored the theme of Civilization versus Savagery in Lord of the Flies. His oral presentation was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation filled with bold sub-headings and images to bring his points home. This was a far better option than simply reading out his essay.
There are more students I could individually praise, but alas I will simply state that I am ever so proud of all of the Year 7 and 8 students as I know that they put in their best effort.
High School English Teacher
“Have you ever played outside all day and noticed that the length and location of your shadow changed as the hours went by?”
You probably also noticed that the sun changed location in the sky throughout the day too. The sun’s change in location caused a difference in the size, shape and direction of your shadow.
This week our Year 2’s grabbed the opportunity to work with a real sundial and see first-hand how it works.
We set up a “home-made” sundial on our tennis court using a bucket filled with sand, holding a tall stick in its center. Each Year 2 class was taken out to observe this “make-shift” sundial at 3 different points in the day. Every time a child is chosen to draw a line in chalk exactly where the shadow of the tall stick is at that point. The time of observation is written next to the drawing, for the next class to come out a little later to observe and record their results.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the realism and practicality of this experiment. They enjoyed being able to go back to class and record the data they had collected, drawing pictures for each observation taken. They have now seen, first-hand, the way in which a shadow moves throughout the day as well as how and why the sundial came about.
Sundial for Kids: Facts & History
Year 2 Teacher
This past Sunday, the 18th of August, seven of interact members spent the first half of their day assisting the Blouberg Rotary Club stall at the annual One to One event.
One to One is held every year at the Green Point Stadium. It is a day that is focused around differently abled kids and adults from Cape Town and its surrounds. With some people being bussed in from as far as George. One to One is orientated towards providing a fun filled day for them.
There were various games to be played at the many stalls, prizes to be won and lots of free hugs all around.
The day is organized by various clubs, such as Rotary, Lions Club, Roteract and many interact clubs from schools.
The few hours that were spent at the event were filled with laughter, cheering, music and performances. While spreading love we were able to forge new friendships with people from other schools. It was a humbling experience that we all enjoyed being a part of.
We are looking forward to next year’s event with our eyes set on our own Blouberg Interact stall.
Interact Member – Year 10
This has been an exciting week as we celebrated Book Week in our junior school.
We had a visit from South African author Lori-Ann Preston who addressed our Key Stage 2 students. She is a seasoned South African educator with more than twenty years of experience. She has a Bachelor of Education Honours Degree through the University of South Africa.
Lori-Ann won the Golden Baobab Prize in 2016 for her Early Chapter book ‘The Ama-zings!’, a fast-moving, fun-filled adventure story, and received the New Writer of the Year award in 2016 from the South African Writer’s Circle.
She just launched another book called “Thabo, the Space Dude“ which promises to be an interesting and compelling read to our children.
Our choir participated in the West Coast Song Festival last night and the organisation of the event at Woodbridge Primary was exceptional. Thank you to all the parents who came to support our choir.
On Friday we will have our Storybook Dress-up Day and we are looking forward to our students creative costume ideas. This promises to be a fun-filled day at school, signaling the end of another successful Book Week.
Next week we have the opening of our high school’s 2019 musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors. It has been was such a pleasure to see how actively this was promoted by our students this morning as they sang and danced in the car park, inviting parents to come and see the production. They have all worked tremendously hard over the past months to ensure we have a potentially award winning show.
I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead.