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For Immediate Release
COUNTDOWN TO MATH WEEK
Province of Saskatchewan, City of Saskatoon Launch First Ever
Mathematical Sciences Awareness Week, November 15-21
Mathematics considered the language of Saskatchewans knowledge economy
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan November 12, 2009 Its time to calculate the importance of mathematics in our daily lives. Thats the message of the Government of Saskatchewan and the City of Saskatoon in declaring the first ever Mathematical Sciences Awareness Week, November 15-21.
Math is so much more than a school subject, its all around us, said Dr. Ray Spiteri, Computer Science Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. From financial markets and technology to health care and sports, theres no escaping the influence of math in todays world.
Spiteri, who is also Prairies Scientific Director of MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems), a Vancouver-based national research network that connects university-based math researchers with organizations to solve real-world challenges explained that the goal of Mathematical Sciences Awareness Week is to reinforce the message that mathematical sciences plays an essential role in our society and get Saskatoon residents more interested in sharpening their skills.
The world is demanding more and more quantitative skills from people, yet the majority of the population is at a grade six level in math and kids are turning away from mathematical sciences in larger numbers than ever before. This is cause for concern, Spiteri said. In fact, a recent public opinion survey revealed that parents feel more capable about talking to their kids about drug abuse than math. This is something wed like to change, so parents can help inspire their children to take an interest in math.
So, what can Saskatoon residents do to give a boost to a topic that upon mere mention makes 20 per cent of Canadians palms sweat? Here are a few suggestions from MITACS regarding how individuals can participate in Mathematical Sciences Awareness Week:
Review the basics of math by using online programs such as Math.com, Coolmath.com or Mathplayground.com. For those kids who like online gaming, why not give HYPERLINK "http://www.mathamaze.com" www.mathamaze.com a visit. Sites like these offer lessons, games, puzzles and information for parents and children to enjoy together.
Strengthen problem-solving skills through games and puzzles. The card game Set, for example, is a good way for all ages to increase visual perception and pattern-finding abilities. Students in grade one can play and beat adults, even mathematicians.
Any activity that exercises logic will improve a persons math ability. Logic and basic arithmetic puzzles such as Sudoku, Kakuro and Kenken are ideal.
Electronic games such as Minesweeper or Lemmings might not look like math at first glance, but they sharpen ones cognitive abilities. Regular and repeated problem-solving builds the neural pathways that flow between the areas of the brain that are involved with doing math.
Read books to get more comfortable with math at any level. Try Martin Gardners collections of math puzzles, The Colossal Book of Mathematics, or The Colossal Book of Short Puzzles and Problems. Phillip Heaffords Great Book of Math Puzzles is recommended for kids aged nine to 12.
Improving math skills not only benefits individuals on a personal level, but it also plays a central role in building Canadas future knowledge economy. The discoveries and innovations made eventually lead to a better quality of life for everyone, said Spiteri, whose MITACS organization celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.
For more information about Mathematical Sciences Awareness Week, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.mitacs.ca" www.mitacs.ca.
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Gail Bergman or Indira Tarachandra
Gail Bergman PR
Tel: (905) 886-1340 or (905) 886-4091
Fax: (905) 764-8400
E-mail: HYPERLINK "mailto:info@gailbergmanpr.com" info@gailbergmanpr.com
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