“Kon-Yay” West and Christopher Columbus bring math to life for BC high school students

Vancouver, BC, June 9, 2011: “Kon-yay” West and Christopher Columbus gave Grade 8 – 12 students at Vancouver Technical Secondary School a lesson in drama and math today at a sneak preview of Show Math, a live, multimedia comedy play getting set to travel to high schools across British Columbia.

Show Math – a core outreach initiative of Mitacs – is a 60-minute show that uses popular culture context and characters such as Donald Trump to teach students how mathematics is everywhere from history and nature to music, art and technology. The show helps students see how concepts such as geometry, the properties of Pi and probability relate to everyday life and mathematics.

Mitacs is a national organization – headquartered in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia – which creates and manages unique research and training programs aimed at developing the next generation of innovators with vital science and research skills. Its Outreach Program aims to make science and mathematics fun and engaging for children as these skills are essential for future careers in research and technology.

Show Math is scheduled to travel to high schools around British Columbia during the 2011 – 2012 school year. It has been staged since 2005 in Quebec where it continues to receive excellent reviews from both students and teachers. This will be the first time Show Math has toured outside of Quebec.

“Our goal is to show students how mathematics is relevant in their daily lives. A little theatrics, humour and pop culture goes a long way to helping that message hit home for children,” said Dr. Arvind Gupta, CEO & Scientific Director, Mitacs. “Careers in technology, research and engineering all depend on a solid foundation in math, so high school is an ideal time to reach out to students.”

Dr. Moira Stilwell, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Research and Innovation for the Province of British Columbia, was on hand for today’s Show Math preview.

“Math and other science skills open the doors to many of tomorrow’s best jobs in B.C., which is why we’ve been encouraging students to build those strengths through the Year of Science,” said Dr. Stilwell. “By touring Show Math around the province, Mitacs is continuing to spread the word – and prepare students to take their place in B.C.’s growing knowledge economy.”

Teachers interested in having Show Math visit their schools are encouraged to contact Mitacs at info(at)showmath.ca.