August 16, 2012 A deeper understanding and appreciation of mathematics is being nurtured in 34 Form Two and Three students from Mayaro and environs through a special vacation workshop sponsored by BP Trinidad and Tobago at the Mayaro Resource Centre. Conceptualised by educator Arlene Smith, energy company bpTT recognised the importance of the ‘Mathematics Can Be Fun’ workshops implemented the vacation programme on an annual basis from 2007. A beaming Chezlee Wells, of Rio Claro West Secondary, explained his perspective of the camp: “I just wanted to be better at mathematics and this camp is showing me that I really can achieve that goal. When something is this much fun, you don’t even realise how much you’re learning. When I pick up my maths book now, I understand so much more and that is a wonderful feeling.” According to Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT, “Education is a fundamental aspect of personal development, and for a number of reasons mathematics is a stumbling block for many students. By making the approach fun and interactive, these students are learning to overcome their aversion to the subject and actually embrace and enjoy learning. It also demonstrates that maths is an integral part of their everyday lives and has important practical applications. This workshop energises their minds and shows them that mathematics can be fun. Come September, they will be much more confident and capable in approaching this critical subject area.” The workshop focuses on revisiting a number of core areas in the study of mathematics and uses non-traditional methods, including games and craft to re-enforce important concepts including the vocabulary associated with the study of mathematics. Further to this, contact is maintained with each of the students by bpTT representatives and facilitator, Arlene Smith, to ensure that progress is being made. “Mathematics is one of the problem areas for most students and it all links back to their attitude to the subject. This camp serves to correct the deficiencies by removing the typical classroom structure and making learning fun through application of a more kinesthetic style, that is, learning by doing. This camp has enjoyed a great deal of success because we awaken and nurture a love for the subject, which takes them to the highest levels of accomplishment. At the end of it all, the victory and success are all theirs,” Smith noted. The positive changes that are being nurtured by the camp were reflected in the words of Vanessa Charles of Mayaro Secondary School. “When I enter Form Three in September I know that I’ll be a better mathematics student. I have greater knowledge of the subject, and even more than that, I have a new attitude with regard to learning itself, which will help me in all subject areas. Ms. Smith and bpTT have changed our lives with this camp and the only way we can repay them is to fulfill our potential and make everyone proud,” Charles said.