After much thought, I’ve decided to move away from blogging for some time to give me the time to pursue other mathematical (and entrepreneurial) ambitions.

Happy 296th Birthday Maria Gaetana Agnesi

I was particularly pleased this morning to open Google Chrome and find a mathematically-themed doodle.

Google Doodle for Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Why Maria Gaetana Agnesis?

Maria was a brilliant Italian mathematician and a philosopher and although she’s been celebrated for being the first female mathematician of the Western World, one of her major contributions to the World of Mathematics was the

Wit…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7sLeg7-2q8

As a build up to Pi Day, we asked members of the African Leadership Academy to share their thoughts on mathematics.

Credits to Wissem Gamra https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClWY8B6GKz0JnlO6-E3K8Lg

“Fun”, “Laughter”, “Play” and “Excitement” are words not usually associated with mathematics. For almost obvious reasons, “Dread” lies among the top list of words that come to mind when one thinks of mathematics.

This shouldn’t be the case.

A team of 10 people representing 8 different nationalities have begun to change what mathematics education should look like. Under the guidance of the Entrepreneurial Leadership department of the African Leadership Academy (ALA), this team of Rahina Ishawu (Ghana), Irene Chibwaye (Tanzania), Lehlabile Davhana (South Africa), Adaeze Adigwe (Nigeria), Oluwasanya Awe (Nigeria), Senay Tilahun (Ethiopia), Harry Gebremedhin (Ethiopia), Abiy Tibebu (Ethiopia), Roua Agrebi (Tunisia), and Andrew Ross (Egypt) has begun to implement game-based learning in the classroom.

*Angaza*, Swahili for *enlighten*, was created to present Grade 7 students of Zandspruit Primary School with an alternative and fun form of learning through concept-based games. By finding and developing games through the BUILD (Believe-Understand-Invent-Listen-Deliver) Model to Human-Centered Entrepreneurship, the team was able to successfully use games to teach mathematics topics like addition, factors and multiples of numbers.

After realizing that games alone are not sufficient to impart all the mathematics concepts necessary, the team developed a simple approach of *teach, play, practice* to teach mathematics. The *Angaza Way*, described in 3 words, is grounded on the basis that games provide a crucial role in practicing mathematics topics. Along the way, the team has valued the importance of feedback and iteration on its current work. This has been evident in the creation process of its first game, *Factoors*. Factoors has gone through a month of testing with a vast range of diverse people from children as young as 8 to 19-year olds with over 20 students from about 10 countries getting to play and give feedback on the game.

The results of this methodology are gradually becoming evident as the team recorded a 20% increase in the understanding of numbers and operations among Grade 7 students in Zandspruit Primary School. The quantitative data from the first set of students has also included positive remarks like, “I’ll recommend it to my teacher in school” and “It’s fun but challenging”.

As Angaza concludes its term as a 2013/2014 student enterprise, the members of the team look forward to a better year with the incoming team.

One day, when game-based learning has been implemented on a global scale, mathematics classes will no longer be perceived as 40-minute periods of torture but entertaining and engaging learning sessions.

ANGAZA: Games as a Teaching Tool in the Classroom “Fun”, “Laughter”, “Play” and “Excitement” are words not usually associated with mathematics. For almost obvious reasons, “Dread” lies among the top list of words that come to mind when one thinks of mathematics.

BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE: Try creating a tetrahedron-like structure (regular triangular pyramid) with 20 balls or spheres.

Source: Mathigon.org

Today’s the 20th of April and the birthday of an

Evertonian –which explains the image of Everton’s Ross Barkley (20) if you were wondering :)Ross Barkley

As part of the birthday/mathematics series, I’ll be looking at the number 20.

A tetrahedron with 5 layers…

BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE: Pick a line drawing of the Map of Nigeria (like the one below) with the borders of its states included and try to color each state with one of four colors (yellow, red, blue and green) such that no two bordering countries have the same color.

Source: http://www.nigeria-feltp.net/

Colored map with 6 colors. Source: http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk/

Today’s my dad’s birthday and I…

Yesterday happened to be the birthday of some friends so I’ve decided to share some facts about 5 that I found off Number Gossip.

## 5 is a Hungry, Narcissistic number!

Both Hungry and Narcissistic Numbers form sequences of integers with very special properties.

The* k-th* hungry number is the smallest number n such that contains the first k digits of the decimal expansion of . They are named hungry numbers because they try to eat as much “pi” as possible.

A k-digit number* n* is called narcissistic if it is equal to the sum of k-th powers of its digits.

In other words, 5 is the first hungry number because it is the smallest number such that has the first digit of (3). 5, a one-digit number, is also narcissistic because is 5.

Here are other facts about 5:

- It is the smallest number of queens needed to attack every square on a standard chess board
- 5 is the only prime which is the difference of two squares of primes
- 5 is the only polygon that has the same number of sides and diagonals is a pentagon

5 may be hungry and narcissistic but you guys are awesome!

*This post was dedicated to *Tayo ‘Einstein’ Olufuwa, Amani Tinkasimile* and *Samuel Opoku-Agyemang.*

I’ve been messing with Paper, the iOS app, and here are some of my mathematically inspired designs (Click to Enlarge).

*Oluwasanya Awe is a mathematics enthusiast, blogger and educator. He has worked with a number of institutions and corporate organisations in workshops that inspire and **motivate kids to see beauty and fun in mathematics.*

This is what reminds you of why we’re in ALA was created

Tomorrow will be the climax of entrepreneurial leadership for the first year students as they present their Original Ideas for the Development of Africa. The air is currently tensed with first years wrapping up their presentation slides and practicing their ten-minute pitches. We’re all excited about the brilliant ideas that will be coming out of this year’s E-Fest (PenAfrica, one of the startups from E-Fest has gone on to publish the first of its Ekari Book Series).

It’s really exciting seeing first years work so hard on their projects. Visiting each of these classes and seeing the students tired from hours of research, brainstorming, practice, feedback and iteration has actually reminded me of the value of entrepreneurship in Africa. It’s also brought to mind the value of mathematics in this age.

Mathematics should be like this. Seriously.

Mathematics, like entrepreneurship is about finding problems – unsolved, open-ended problems – and developing creative solutions to these problems. Who would have thought that geometry could, one day, be used to solve number theory problems? This is where the overlap between mathematics and entrepreneurship comes. There’s usually no ‘one solution’ type of problem in either of the two fields. If we ever want to develop the next generation of scientists, mathematicians etc. we will need to begin to instill an entrepreneurial mindset into our mathematics students.

The entrepreneurial mindset is very similar to the mathematician’s – seeing every challenge as an opportunity to create something new. Educators do not necessarily have to introduce *Entrepreneurial Thinking 101* into every high school course but we need to begin to show our students that mathematics is more than an arduous subject of rote memorization but an opportunity to take on an unsolved problem while picking up the necessary tools along the way.

Mathematics is more than addition, subtraction, determinants and derivatives but a quest to create change – to solve a problem.

*Oluwasanya Awe is a mathematics enthusiast, blogger and educator. He has worked with a number of institutions and corporate organisations in workshops that inspire and **motivate kids to see beauty and fun in mathematics.*

**Enterprise Fest: Why Mathematicians Need Entrepreneurship**This is what reminds you of why we’re in ALA was created Tomorrow will be the climax of entrepreneurial leadership for the first year students as they present their Original Ideas for the Development of Africa.

GAMING: Threes to the Power of Two

If you’ve been following tech news lately, You might have noticed the fading of the famous Flappy Bird game to the entrance of

Threesand other variants (1024 and 2048).The basic idea behind these games is adding numbers together. For Threes, it’s about adding multiples of three together to get higher numbers. I haven’t played Threes yet but it seems to have pretty good reviews.

On the other…