“BEAUTIFUL mathematics” was the theme of this year’s MathArt Competition, run annually by Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki’s Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC) – and it drew more than 350 successful submissions from Grade 7 to 12 learners across the country.
“The MathArt competition aims at creating awareness of the connections between mathematics and art, and is central to the vision and mandate of our centre to promote creative problem-solving and STEAM education,” said GMMDC director, Professor Werner Olivier.
STEAM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics education – a shift away from traditional STEM education, and a movement that has been embraced overseas, recognising the valuable role of creativity in the sciences in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Fifty judges working in national and international art, educational and mathematical fields selected the top 20 finalists in each grade.
“Learners had to submit their entries online and then the top 20 in each grade had to send their artworks through to us, for final judging,” said GMMDC competition leader, Carine Steyn.
In addition to their artworks, which could be A4 to A2 size, and making use of any media on paper, from pencil to paint to embroidery and collage, the learners had to send written answers to three questions: What maths did you use? How does your artwork show “Beautiful Mathematics”? Explain why your artwork is creative and original.
“Some of our artworks had a COVID-19 theme. For instance, one artwork depicted a nurse and highlighted the beauty of precise measurements of oxygen levels and medicine,” said Steyn.
One of the gold winners, Grade 7 learner, Kim Davids of Erica Girls’ Primary in Gqeberha, depicted a learner in a mask and was titled The Wonders of Maths During Lockdown.
Other local gold winners were: Grade 10 learner, Lukhanyo Gaisa from Harvest Christian School, and Grade 11 learner, Annabell Oosthuizen from Andrew Rabie High. Local silver winners included Grade 7 Erica Girls’ learners, Fhedzi Tyala and Zenathi Manzini, and Grade 9 learner, Amkitha Fetsha from Westering High.
A local bronze winner was Grade 7 learner, Stephen Douglas-Henry from Grey Junior.
NICKY WILLEMSE, FREELANCE WRITER