Qatar Foundation (QF) has launched an inquiry-based afterschool mathematics programme that is helping high school students to think outside of the box to solve complex equations and word problems.
Organised by QF's Pre-University Education student enrichment programme, weekly sessions are led by mathematics professors from three QF partner universities – Texas A&M University at Qatar (Tamuq), Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar as well as Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
Anthony Weston, associate teaching professor of mathematics at CMU-Q and part of a team of 12 responsible for setting up the programme, said the benefit to students is clear. "It will broaden and deepen their exposure to the mathematical sciences, and it will help them build a platform for university studies and STEM-based careers. They also get a taste of university life and the opportunity to learn from an array of active mathematicians.”
According to Dr Nordine Mir, professor of Mathematics at Tamuq, the programme was established to challenge the misconception that mathematics is just an exercise is memorising numbers and formulas.
“The goal of the QF Math Circle is to correct misconceptions and to show the opposite, that is full of intuition and mostly concerned with understanding abstract concepts and making connections.
“The QF Math Circle has a very flexible format where we can teach material that is outside of the box to students who are motivated and want to go beyond their boundaries. The programme not only provides a different experience for students but also for the professors involved.”
Halima Bensmail, principal scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute, joint Professor at HBKU, and a visiting professor at Tamuq, explains that the goal of the QF Math Circle is to teach students how to solve mathematical problems in an approachable, refined, and creative way.
Huxley Lewis, a 14-year-old student at PUE’s Qatar Academy for Science and Technology and a member of the Math Circles programme, expressed his passion for mathematics and his eagerness to learn about topics not covered in school. He says: “I have a genuine passion for mathematics and I want to learn about interesting topics that we do not study at school. Particularly mathematical thinking.”
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