There is no secret about the fact that children find maths difficult and challenging. It is because of this that we developed Magic Maths.

Our purpose in our program is to re-instil a love and passion for maths. A sense of purpose and an acknowledgement of ability for all children. A determination to be able to conquer and succeed in what they previously thought was a difficult and unachievable subject.

For many children, maths has a bad reputation and misconception because, they are unskilled in the concept and deep conceptual understanding of why maths functions like it does.

Maths seems hard because most children have been taught or have learnt maths in a way that is unintuitive and restrictive. Learners are often taught a range of techniques and formulas that they are told to accept as true, often providing little to no explanation of any fundamental reason as to why they should be true. Limitless numbers of learners memorise mathematics formulas like, the quadratic formula without understanding why it functions like it does, or be able to explain why differentiation and integration are inverses.

In creating Magic Maths, the challenge, was to develop a way to enable all learners to cross the barrier to entry in maths and thus allow themselves to be enticed and willing to participate. So, how do you do this ….. where is the Magic?

Every mathematics concept has visual and simple explanations but often these explanations are never given, shown or demonstrated in class in the correct fashion. Learners are able to derive and understand formulas and mathematical grounding in a comprehensive fashion if visual and practical explanations are given. The reality is that maths is a practical and instinctive art but all of its magic is removed in favour of rote learning and unimaginable boredom. Let’s be honest, are you interested in something if you don’t understand it?

So, how do you instil creativity, innovation, imagination, collaboration and most importantly fun into the context of learning maths? What do you do to get learners, to the point, where those who are ordinarily dis-engaged and uninterested, can walk out of a maths classroom and say ‘that was fun and I can’t believe how easy it was, I can’t wait to go back to maths tomorrow” ……… the answer is simple, you adopt the Magic Maths methodology.

Our ‘show me and I understand’ and ‘learning through practical based application’ methodology sees us teach learners to think in new and interesting ways. To facilitate our methodology, we use a range of carefully selected and created mathematics manipulatives which are purposefully selected and aligned to the curriculum across all of the content and topics areas by grade and age appropriation.

Manipulatives are physical objects that are used as teaching tools to engage learners in the hands-on learning of mathematics. They are used to introduce, practice and remediate a concept.

The use of the manipulatives allows us to work with learners through three levels of knowledge – concrete, pictorial and abstract. The benefit which the manipulatives offer is that they allow learners to explore concepts at the first or concrete, level of understanding. It is a proven fact, that when learners manipulate objects, they are taking the necessary steps towards building a solid foundation of deep conceptualisation of maths processes and procedures.

Now, allow us to show you how the practical approach works in context :

Linking the manipulative to the curriculum is imperative in order to justify the expense and the need for the manipulative in the first instance. The image below provides insight into how we link a manipulative to the curriculum and branch out to the stated concepts and topics which can be taught using a practical based application.

At a quick glance, the Magic Maths program is implemented in a school as follows:

How can a school become part of the Magic Maths offerings?

The program or elements of our offerings can be implemented as follows:

- The program including the kit, the manuals, the training, the mentoring and the implementation can be bought as a package. (By Phase or Grade)
- Training on selected concepts and topics with selected manipulatives is available as a day course
- Manipulative manuals are available to provide creativity and best practice for in classroom use.
- Individual manipulatives / products are available for purchase.

Magic Buddies is a structured peer to peer mathematics network program. It is enabled by identifying talented mathematics learners who are offered the opportunity to become a maths mentor. Only learners who are achieving 65% and above for Mathematics are eligible to become a mentor.

Upon acceptance of being a maths mentor, the mentoring learner is appointed as a “Magic Buddy”. Magic Buddies are shadowed with a group of learners who are in need of mathematics support. It is has been noted that Magic Buddies is a successful intervention as many leaners would rather ask their friends for mathematics support on a one-on-one basis then ask help of a teacher in front of a whole class.

Up front training for the Magic Buddies is provided, as well as all the materials in the form of a ‘tool kit’. This tool kit enables the mentors to be able to share their knowledge with their peers through a practical based application and also through worksheets and workbooks.

Mentors and their associated learners are able to obtain support from their schools mathematics teachers as are they provided with access to the Clever Minds Help desk and our teachers and trainers.

Mentors are acknowledged for their contribution to their school, friends and community at the end of the school year. Selected mentors are then afforded the opportunity to advance themselves to Advanced Mathematics and are encouraged to strive towards self-development and academic excellence.

The Thuma Mina campaign is Presidents drive for a call for South Africans to work together to build a new and improved South Africa. The Magic Buddies program is core to the ethos of supporting and helping your fellow South Africans.

To apply to become a Magic Buddy, *click here*.

Application to become a Magic Maths, Magic Buddy or CAPS4CAPS school / mentor