Archive for March, 2017

In Uganda students join the Advanced Level of Education (A-level) at the age of 17/18 years. This is the second part of education at secondary level and after this they join university education. It is therefore important that we teach them how to work in groups, research, discuss and present their views on a given matter or demonstrate their understanding of a certain concept. At the start of A-level when joining Senior Five this poses a challenge especially if the students did not attempt doing this in their earlier classes which is normally the case with the rote learning and examination oriented approach to our education system in Uganda and you would like them to change over instantly.

At Gayaza High School, we receive girls at Senior Five from a varied number of schools with our own as the majority. So from the on start there is a gap between the new and the old girls and the teacher must manage this difference within their class and push forward with group work making sure that the students are posted to groups randomly to increase on collaboration among the class members.

It is against this background that we spend almost a week trying to orientate the girls into the A-level structure of needs as well as grounding them into the Gayaza culture. There is much more that we expect the girls to learn throughout their course than just academics. As they excel at Academics we would like to produce leaders at all levels who are resourceful and God fearing. During this week we also introduce the girls to team work and this year I was given the task of delivering this much needed introduction to team work and below is the process we followed and hopefully we are now a team of teams.

Activity one:

When I walked into chapel on day two of our senior five students I quickly discovered that the first row was made up of 13 students and the majority were new girls to the school. On greeting my audience I noted that all the back benchers were old students of the school. Immediately I introduced myself as Mr.Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head teacher in charge of Academics and a teacher of Mathematics. I also indicated to my students that I will be teaching Principal mathematics at the Applied level and subsidiary mathematics which two subjects cover almost 98% of the students. I also added that I am In charge of ICT developments at the school so those who are to offer computer science we would meet at some point. This enabled me to attract the attention of the whole group at 100% since I was going to meet them in class at some point. It is interesting how students pay attention to the teachers who teach them in class and keep their mind away from those they just meet on the compound not knowing that the unwritten education is as important as the mathematics taught in class if not even more important.

Quickly I assigned them numbers counting from 1 to 122 which gave us an idea of how many students had reported to school the day before. I also insisted that these numbers would be very helpful in other places such as the sewing room when receiving uniforms. Hence we kept them dearly well written down in our diaries of small pocket books.So I explained why mathematics is very important and that counting is the first step. We agreed to group these numbers in the following order with my non-suspecting friends. I asked the students who had pens to write down the matrix below and those who did not were to do it when they return to their dormitories. So in short we were only sorting numbers to form groups of items.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52
53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65
66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78
79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91
92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104
105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117
118 119 120 121 122                


After this exercise we discovered that we can make 13 teams each having 9-10 members. So I quickly asked my students to keenly observe in which of the thirteen columns their numbers stands and the other numbers in their column would be their teammates. So I assigned the leadership of the teams to the owners of numbers 1-13 and of course the new girls who had sat in front took on the leadership of the groups. We stood up group by group and it was exciting to see the new formations. I asked them to go out on the compound and their first task was to introduce themselves to each other stating; name, former school, combination and career wish. Each of the groupmates had the task of listening carefully and be able to introduce the others when called upon. So we spent another 1 hour in our groups bonding and learning about each other which was also an exciting moment.



Activity 2:

Now that we had formed groups and learnt much about each other we needed to go deeper and try to understand each other’s abilities, temperaments, likes and dislikes. But we could not just talk about it over a cup of tea.

We therefore agreed to learn about Agribusiness and see whether in future these teams will go into business together. After a discussion with Mr.Kibirige Brian our Farm manager we agreed to carry out a few activities at the farm that would help us build our team spirit further. I requested for permission from the school to take the girls to the farm on 8th March 2017 from 9:00a.m to mid-day and specifically to visit the Animal nutrition unit, the Banana garden and the Dairy section.

Animal Nutrition:

In this unit we were introduced to the growing of napier grass and cutting it into silage that would provide a nutritious meal for the dairy animals. The girls worked in their groups and participated actively although some started off reluctantly because this was new to them. In fact the questions were, “how do you go to school and end up at the farm?” To the Gayaza old girls this was not new because they had been our pioneer class at senior one in the horticulture section. I was later to learn that in many schools Agriculture is not part of their curriculum and in others it is taught theoretically. However we overcame this shock and joined in happily only for a few to be disoriented with the scratches from the grass.

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Banana garden:

This was a familiar place to many since they had planted a banana sucker while in senior three ,2015 and now the bananas had grown producing big bunches and the market was near. We had three sets of activities here;

  1. The old girls were required to identify their personalized plants with a nametag corresponding to their name and then help the new girls in their groups to adopt a plant that was planted by the girls who had not returned at A-level. It was all joy re-uniting with their plants and this gave us the teachers the energy to continue growing this project.
  2. Then each one had to weed the area around their plant, water it and collect maize stalk overs and mulch.
  3. I set out a mathematics lesson that introduced the students to Statistics which involves collection of data.
  4. Instructions included:
  • In your group, take the shortest person and use them to measure the circumference of the stem of your banana. Make use of the available raw materials in form of strings and a ruler. Record down your value in your book.
  • Repeat (a) above for the other plants that belong to your group mates and ensure that you have recorded down all the values (10 or more).
  • Share your results with 4 other groups writing down each other’s values until you have generated 50 or more values well written down in 5 columns with 10 or more rows.
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    Activity 3:

    The data we collected was then taken into class and tabulated to provide an introduction to the topic of statistics. We then organised the data into groups and formulated a frequency table and went ahead to manipulate this data. We did all our work on computers within the Warrene computer centre. This helped us to develop both mathematical skills and computer skills. The students who did computer science at O-level were our tutors and this activity was very refreshing for me as a teacher. By the end of the lesson, I had learnt a lot of technology manipulations from my students and the class had benefitted from peer learning which is in support of team work.

    new mathematics

     Frequency table generated.

    Lower boundary Upper boundary          f Class mark,X Width       fx
    24.95 29.95 3 27.45 5 82.35 17 -11.1538 124.4083 373.2249 3
    29.95 34.95 16 32.45 5 519.2 89 -6.15385
    605.9172 19
    34.95 39.95 19 37.45 5 711.55 105 -1.15385 1.331361 25.29586 38
    39.95 44.95 19 42.45 5 806.55 105 3.846154 14.7929 281.0651 57
    44.95 49.95 7 47.45 5 332.15 39 8.846154 78.25444 547.7811 64
    49.95 54.95 0 52.45 5 0 0 13.84615 191.716 0 64
    54.95 59.95 1 57.45 5 57.45 6 18.84615 355.1775 355.1775 65
    65 2509.25 38.60385 360 2188.462


    Activity 4:



    Working in your group, you are required to follow instructions given by the Foods and Nutrition teachers in order to bake a cake that will be shared with your team parents at the class day on 14th March 2017. Inquire to know the cost of production of the cake and plan to auction it to raise money for your company’s projects in future.

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    This was the climax of our teamwork activities and we now wait to see if the process developed teams and team work among the members of the class.

Report on the activities for February 2017

The Technovation programme is helping us learn how to develop mobile applications that can be used to solve challenges faced by our community members.

How many students or teams have you worked with over the past month?

We are currently working with 9(Nine)  teams and a total of 43 girls and 4 teachers.

What goals have you accomplished since last month?

  • Identification of community problems
  • Designing solutions to these community problems using technology
  • Learning about App inventor as a coding language
  • Opening an email and Registration at the Technovation platform

What were some of the challenges you faced this month?

  • The school activities are so many and fitting in our training sessions was very difficult and we have to meet on Sundays when we should be with our families.
  • Doing research online and learning about App inventor has had a constraint on our working budget requiring us to buy substantial band width to complete the activities.
  • We have not had many teachers joining in this programme yet they would have loved because we work mostly on Sunday when they are off compound.

What are some of the things you can do, or people you can involve to help you address the issue or issues? Do you need increased focus, or a change of resources?

  • We shall keep our meetings on Sunday and we just have to keep the sessions lively and motivational to the girls.
  • We shall have to look for local partners who can help us pick up the budgets for the smooth running of the project. We intend to install an offline version of App Inventor which will reduce the cost on band width
  • We will negotiate with the school to support the programme by offering transport refund, break tea and lunch to the teachers who work over the weekends.

What are your goals for next month?

  • Consolidating the structure of the Mobile App design for each group
  • Learning about creating a business and marketing plans
  • Start to prepare the pitches for all the groups.

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