The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) has produced a new and specially formulated mathematics drill that is being incorporated in a supplementary mathematics textbook set to be deployed in elementary schools in Tokyo's Shibuya ward. Around 1,000 students at 18 schools are initially expected to use the new materials, which aim to promote children's learning through an interaction with sport. To mark their release, Tokyo 2020 today hosted a class using the new mathematics drill in Yoyogi Sanya elementary school in Shibuya, with the help of several Japanese Olympians.
Tokyo 2020 devised the new textbook with the support of Olympic and Paralympic athletes and a number of partner organisations. The drill is in two parts, one containing challenges related to Olympic sports and the other with content related to Paralympic sports. It is aimed at helping students to enjoy learning mathematics through interaction with Japanese athletes and sporting bodies and gives students the opportunity to actively participate in educational initiatives linked to the Games.
Special guests at today's event included Naoko Takahashi, marathon gold medallist at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, and Shinji Takahira and Naoki Tsukahara, both members of Japan's bronze-winning 4x100-meter men's relay team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They took on the role of teachers during the class, handing out mathematics drills to each student.
Commented Takahashi, “In today's lesson, I believe the students were able to learn mathematics that can be applied in everyday life rather than just at their desks. And I think that this drill will also help increase students' expectations for the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
Added Takahira, “I was never good at maths when I was young. If there was something like this drill and a way to study maths in a fun way, I might have not become an Olympian. I believe this drill will give schoolchildren a good opportunity to become interested in the Olympics and Paralympics. And I had a lot of fun too taking a part in such a programme. I heard that the second volume will feature some Paralympians - I hope this will leave a legacy for the children.”
The athletes, around 50 of the students and Daichi Suzuki, Commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency, took part in a 50-meter sprint in the school yard, following which a testing session using questions from the textbook was held, including one where students were required to calculate distances using speed and time taken.
Sixth-grader Shuntaro Hatano said, “I don't like maths very much, but I feel like I can put more effort now into learning it because I can also learn interesting things about the Olympics.”
This project forms part of Tokyo 2020's nationwide educational programme “Yoi Don!” (“Get Set”), which brings the Olympic and Paralympic Games into schools across Japan and allows students to actively participate in educational initiatives linked to the Games. Tokyo 2020 is planning to expand the project to additional elementary schools in 2019.
Partners include the Shibuya Board of Education, the Shibuya City Tourism Association, ASICS Corporation, Canon Inc. and Fujitsu Limited.