Jugaad is a Punjabi term word that essentially means using innovative approaches to solve problems effectively given limited resources and, as such, was chosen as the name for this UK-India collaborative educational research project into the role of Maths in Technology. For the past five weeks Year 9 pupils from Southfields Academy, London, and Bluebells School, New Delhi, have been investigating the role of maths in an area of technology that interests them; last week was the deadline for submissions and the standard of work has surpassed all expectations! These 13 and 14 year old pupils have completed extensive research into topics as diverse as maths in medicine and maths in space, and discovered, for themselves, topics that go way beyond the KS3 curriculum such as The Bernouilli Principle and calculus.
With STEM subjects critical to the emerging Global Knowledge Economy, Project Jugaad was established with the aim of providing pupils with a real world, open-ended project which would not only develop their subject knowledge but, in addition, foster key skills such as inquiry, collaboration, communication, leadership, global awareness, and cultural understanding which will be crucial to success in further education and employment. Given that some pupils did not even have an e-mail address at the beginning of the project, levels of digital development have been tremendous with documentaries being produced, websites designed, and videos on living in New Delhi which the Indian Tourist Board would be proud of!
Given the high ability of these pupils, the project was open-ended but pupils were invited to submit proposals and drafts in order to receive feedback. The purpose of this was to promote a growth mindset with pupils looking for ways of how they could improve the content of their presentations, in the absence of a grade or score, rather than allowing them to get demoralised by being told what they had done wrong. Groups consisted of 2 pupils from each school and although they were free to communicate however they saw fit (Facebook, BBM, Skype etc) their activities were scaffolded by the fact that each member had to adopt a specific role (Project Manager, Chief Researcher, Digital Engineer, Communications Director). Whilst some groups did struggle to establish contact at first, as the deadlines approached the was a hive of activity and nearly all groups established effective communication in order to submit their projects on time.
The array of topics covered by the pupils was huge and the deliberations involved in shortlisting the final four were agonising. Eventually, the four groups selected for The Dean’s List were agreed upon and the pupils set about preparing to present their findings. This was a more intimidating task than normal, however; not only did the pupils have to present to a class full of pupils and a panel of judges sitting in front of them but, via Skype, they were also addressing pupils and judges in a class 5,000 miles away where the other 2 members of their group were. Coordinating such a presentation within the strict 5 minute time list required thorough planning and it was brilliant to see how all the groups managed to achieve this with aplomb!
The pupils have relished the opportunity to complete a project which extends beyond the confines of the classroom, and in so doing, have developed new approaches to thinking about the role of maths in the technology that surrounds them, and formed new friendships with their peers in an international collaborative environment which seeks to simulate what pupils can expect to find when they embark on a career in the Global Knowledge Economy.
The winner of the inaugural Project Jugaad Berners-Lee cup will be selected on Wednesday 20th March up until which point you can view and comment on all four projects in The Dean’s List here.
For additional information on Project Jugaad, please visit the project website.