Menterra Social Impact Fund has invested an undisclosed amount in Vadodara-based Math Buddy, which develops interactive mathematics learning products for CBSE schools. It is now in over 200 schools in 19 States.
Math Buddy will use the money to increase its presence to about 2,000 schools in the next three years. At present, according to Kannan Bharadwaj, co-founder, Math Buddy, the products are used in high-income schools. It wants to target low-income schools, for which it will set up a separate training and support arm to help these schools implement and use the product.
This is the first outside investment in Math Buddy, which has been self-funded. Kannan and Bharathy Bharadwaj, co-founder, are both engineering graduates. Kannan obtained a BTech from IIT Madras and an MBA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, while Bharathy Bharadwaj obtained a BTech from MIT, Chennai, and a Master’s in Computer Science from Eastern Michigan University.
Incorporated in 2010, Math Buddy has 1,500 activities, 800 interactive worksheets and assessments and an online Olympiad. It has created these products based on detailed research on how maths concepts are taught in different parts of the world. The products have a combination of hands-on activities and interactive software and are meant to supplement the effort by teachers, not to replace them, according to Kannan Bharadwaj.
Bharathy Bharadwaj, co-founder, Math Buddy, was quoted in a press release as saying that the venture was working on regional language support and local curriculum alignments so that the products could be used in schools across the country.
The release quoted Mukesh Sharma, Founder and Managing Director, Menterra Venture Advisers, as saying that Menterra was one of the first impact investors to invest in Vadodara, indicating an increasing interest in cultivating a start-up culture in Gujarat. For too long, he said, funding and support had been confined to the big cities, while there was deserving talent in the smaller cities and towns.
Launched in January 2016, Menterra Social Impact Fund I is an impact investment fund that invests Rs 1 – 4 crore for a significant minority stake in early-stage social enterprises in education, health and agriculture.
Five year old Sara is playing with three dolls that came from a set of four.
Passing by, her teacher inquires, “Where is the other doll?”Her teacher overheard Sara saying, “[Pointing to each doll] I’m calling you ‘one.’ You’re ‘two’ and ‘three’. Where is your sister, ‘four’?”
She got engaged with dolls for another minute. “Oh! Here you are ‘Four’.”
Sara, a small girl, incorporated counting to keep track of her dolls. She has unknowingly learnt the basics of counting. Children’s play happens to be their foremost source of ‘pre-mathematical’ experience.
Children start developing math concepts at a very initial stage; which help them in spontaneous recognition and identification of numbers. They usually get into schools with varied levels of math capabilities and understanding. Some are able to understand the crux of concepts without much effort but there are a few who need additional support.
There are some children who would get too much confused and perplexed with math, they seem to be lost completely. That’s a simple case of weak math basics. Without a solid math foundation children will probably get troubled every now and then.
Over the period of time children develop an attitude towards math. These beliefs influence their thinking towards math which is reflected in later years. The “don’t know or don’t understand” factor in a child can develop math anxiety and could make math scarier. A not so strong math foundation may become increasingly difficult and confusing for children, which eventually would end up in poor grades.
Therefore, there has to be a systematic approach to meet the requirements of understanding the concepts, like,
Developing plan of action – A specific and clear action plan is more likely to succeed. Making children understand the process and techniques will encourage them and once they understand the concept they will be able to raise their difficulty level for any given topic.
Measurable goals – Measurable goals are critically essential so that children can have multiple goals on the way to achieving the big goal.
Student preferred learning style – Each child has different capabilities and has a unique way to understand. Teachers use multi-sensory approach because they deal with many students at one point of time. It includes many techniques like,
- Colorful illustrations
- Verbal description
- Study material
- Group activities
- Animations and flash programs
Liberty for exploration – Math is a continuous process of exploration which deals with techniques and skills that result in correct or incorrect answer. Teachers can help children in developing this attitude.
Celebrating on small success – Pat your back when you understand how the concept works for those you had memorized earlier. Feel good when you feel less anxious next time you open your math book. The idea is to build up your confidence that, “You can do Math”.
Math Buddy has been created to build strong math foundation for children. Our curriculum and activities are exclusively designed to provide complete assistance for deep understanding of concepts. Click here to learn more about Math Buddy.