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International Day of Mathematics with robotics and coding

Whether you call it Pi Day or International Day of Mathematics, maths fundis around the world let their hair down in celebration. In the third month, on the fourteenth day, and at the fifteenth hour the numbers align as 3.1415! Some folk celebrate quite literally, by eating “pies”. Pi (as represented by the lower-case Greek letter π) is one of the most well-known mathematical constants. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter – hence the choice of a nice round pie. Those with a tooth for maths can dig right in! Here in South Africa, the JumpStart Robotics & Coding team examines instead the circular wheel of a robot used to teach a love of mathematics. From Pi Day to International Day of Mathematics Back in 1988 the American physicist, Larry Shaw, organised a celebratory event at the San Francisco Exploratorium on this day, which also happens to be Albert Einstein’s […]

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“Kasi kids” building robots feature in Mail & Guardian

JumpStart’s robotics and coding programme was featured in the Mail & Guardian as 2020 came to a close. Journalist, Khaya Koko, took an interest in the programme and interviewed Daniella Lekgau, who is the Robotics & Coding Project Manager who successfully took the project online during lockdown. He wrote a comprehensive article about the Grade 5, 6 and 7 learners attending primary schools in Katlehong who have been learning these exciting skills: Township children are being primed to participate in the artificial intelligence industries of the future through an extramural robotics and coding programme that rivals those at private schools. More than 60 children in grades five to seven at nine primary schools in Katlehong, Gauteng, have, since 2016, been part of a programme facilitated by the JumpStart Foundation, which aims to “transform underperforming classrooms into centres of maths and science excellence”, according to its website. According to a report by India-based research firm Markets and […]

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Daniella Lekgau

JumpStart Robotics and Coding goes virtual with Daniella Lekgau

Imagine lifting the lid on the future of Grade 6 and 7 learners. Imagine intermediate phase learners grasping that they have a unique opportunity to do learn the skills that could give them meaningful and exciting work as adults. Daniella Lekgau, Project Manager of JumpStart Robotics Labs, has a big vision. She has seen how children who learn to build and programme robots have to think through a series of complex and difficult processes. When they struggle to grasp concepts they must endure their own frustration and they develop the skills to work through it and arrive at new solutions. Life skills and learning to code A small group of intermediate phase learners in the Ekurhuleni South Education district have enjoyed learning to code while developing creative thinking skills too. These youngsters have been motivated to study harder through the robotics and coding education, which is also highly enjoyable. Until March this year, this talented […]

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Molefe Skosana

Molefe Skosana’s journey from mentee to mentor

Not many alumni travel through JumpStart and JumpCo Software Labs, but Molefe Skosana is now a software developer for a luxury car manufacturer in Midrand, where he continues developing the skills and building on the knowledge that he gained during his internship. We caught up with him to find out what has changed for him in the interim. Back in 2014 when JumpStart started in Sasolburg, Molefe was a BSc (Computer Science) student at UNISA. He joined the NumberSense team as a tutor and thoroughly enjoyed working at Credo Primary. Steve Mahony recognised his potential and invited him to join the JumpCo software labs. With a StudyAssist bursary from SASOL he continued his degree and his career took off from that point. Molefe Skosana, then and now I live in Kagiso now, but I’m in the process of moving house. At 29, it’s time to become a family man. Looking back to my time in JumpStart, […]

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Given Msibi

Life under lockdown #3: Given Msibi in his own words

Given Msibi is a tutor with a fire for words. He observed and articulated the struggles of his colleagues and the learners in his care during lockdown. A drummer in his church band, Given takes every opportunity to stand up as a motivational speaker. Or did… until everything turned upside down this March. However, this aspiring data analyst and software engineer still has big plans. He wants to trouble the world, while yet spreading The Word to those in need. He shares his experience during Youth Month… A little backstory His mother never had the opportunity to get educated but her strength and resilience laid great foundations. She was a domestic worker who single-handedly raised her six children. It’s Given’s plan to make his mother proud. He matriculated in 2010 and then started a BSc at UJ. Without adequate finance, he couldn’t complete his degree. After working in the retail industry, he tried again to […]

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