This guest post is by Cynthia Margeson, a retired teacher from Arlington, Virginia, who has been teaching for the past five years at the Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH), a U.S.- supported primary school located in poverty-stricken rural Eastern Uganda. The school, with 325 students from 1st through 7th grades, was founded by Arlington residents John and Joyce Wanda, who emigrated from Uganda in 1996.
MathDice have traveled all the way to Uganda!
Students at AAH learn largely by rote. They have few learning materials other than books. Using manipulatives similar to MathDice is unheard of in most Ugandan schools. We were so excited when ThinkFun donated MathDice to AAH — we knew this would be a fun and engaging way to help students develop critical thinking skills.
In January 2009, I took 100 sets of MathDice with me on my annual trip to AAH. Upon my arrival in Uganda, I held a workshop for teachers to teach them how children can learn to apply their math skills through games such as MathDice. I then taught them to play MathDice. The upper grade teachers were immediately convinced and introduced MathDice to their students. Teachers of younger grades decided to simplify the game for their students by using just the operations of addition and subtraction to reach the target number.
The students love playing MathDice. We always have a group of eager learners. It is wonderful to see how they are learning as they play. In addition to class time, they usually play during lunch. The photos show AAH students playing MathDice in the library and the courtyard.
AAH plans to share MathDice with its graduates who are in secondary school when they come back to the village during term breaks. Current Primary 6 (6th grade) and Primary 7 (7th grade) students are excitedly looking forward to challenging the graduates to a Math Dice tournament! AAH also hopes to introduce MathDice to neighboring villages.
AAH is extremely grateful to ThinkFun for donating these MathDice to them. MathDice are making a huge difference at this school in rural Uganda by expanding the AAH students’ math skills, and they are having fun doing it! Thank you, Bill and Charlotte!
MathDice have made it to international status!