Thursday, June 08, 2017

Nick Africa's "Nickelodeon’s Genius" Sparks Youth’s Interest In Maths And Science

A Maths and Science television show has found a way to get school kids aged 9 to 16 interested in these daring subjects.

Over 12 000 kids took part in the preliminary stages of the Nickelodeon’s Genius in a bid to be crowned the smartest kids in South Africa.


Tasania Parsadh, Nickelodeon Africa Channel Director, told OFM that the show aims to make these subjects fun for participants by making contestants tackle physics, algebra, calculus, and life science questions and through quick-fire quizzes and other mental challenges. Parsadh says they also wanted to make the show inclusive in every aspect.

“As we know these are two subjects that, when you’re a kid, you either love it or hate it. The worst part about these subjects is that there is a lot of fear around these subjects. What we wanted to do was to make it fun, to make it engaging. The other key thing that we also wanted to drive was that Maths and Science can be done by both boys and girls. Typically what we would see, as kids get older, is that a lot more boys go into science than girls,” she says.

She explains that they wanted to inculcate a love for the subjects by targeting the learners from a younger age. She says they also wanted to see more girls take part.


From left to right: Eunice High School learners Liane Kleynhans (Grade 10), Baraka Mutambala (Grade 9), and Alanis Alvarez Aranda (Grade 9). Photo: Supplied.

“We were presently surprised to discover that within the teams that we had coming throughout the country, there was a wonderful mix of genders coming through. And a lot of the times it was more about the skills of the team other the gender or even the demographic makeup of the teams,” she adds.

Participants get to represent their schools in teams of three. The winners of the competition will crowned the country’s best Maths and Science masterminds in their age groups and will win a once in a lifetime trip to NASA’s Kennedy Space centre in the United States of America – where they will get to meet real-life astronauts. They will also receive R100 000 each and R30 000 worth of educational material and books for their respective schools.

Students from Eunice High School in Bloemfontein and Voortrekker High School in Bethlehem have beaten thousands of students countrywide to make it to the quarterfinal stages of the well-regarded Maths and Science television quiz show after battling it out in the round robin stages. The episode which features the two teams from the Free State will air on Nickelodeon Africa, DStv channel 308 at 14:45 CAT on Friday 9th June 2017.

Head of Mathematics at Eunice High School, Lanelle Kleinhans, told OFM News it was a wonderful surprise that Liane Kleynhans (Grade 10), Baraka Mutambala (Grade 9) and Alanis Alvarez Aranda (Grade 9) have made it thus far – especially given the fact that they were chosen as wild card entries following the round robin stages in December. She says the students also facilitated their preparations for the competition.

“The girls basically went on their own the whole time. From my part I coordinated a bit. I opened my class for them during break time to practice and to go on a few websites as a team and in the afternoons they tried it on their own.”

She also says her learners didn’t have much time to prepare after they were announced as wild card entrants with only a week to go before the final stages of the competition began.

Grade 9 learners JC Pretorius, Laneri Pretorius and Petrie van Staden, are the other learners representing Bethlehem’s Voortrekker High School in the competition.

Nickelodeon’s Genius is sponsored by ABSA, and supported by the Government’s Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

For more information on the GENIUS quiz show, please log on to www.nickelodeonafrica.com, like Nickelodeon on Facebook or follow Nickelodeon on Twitter @NickAfrica using the hashtag #NickGenius.

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Additional source: LinkedIn.
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