Making maths tangible and answering the question “Where would I ever use this?”

Today is International Day of Mathematics and this year’s theme is “mathematics is for everyone”. But if mathematics is for everyone, why then do so few students enjoy the subject? Studies show that one of the biggest gripes students having about mathematics is that it is hard to understand when and where they will use the concepts they learn about in the classroom later in life. This means that to break through students’ resistance to the subject, teachers need to teach mathematics in a way that makes it tangible. And one of the best ways to do that, is using a unique approach to teaching and learning known as “project-based learning”.

South Africa’s mathematics outcomes are amongst the worst in the world. While there are many studies detailing that the poor quality of teaching in this area bears much of the blame, the truth is that if students cannot connect what they are learning to what interests them, it is harder to engage them and create a positive attitude towards a subject too.

“Mathematics is a rich and complex subject filled with many real-life applications. However, due to the large volume of work mathematics teachers are expected to impart during the school year, it often means that teachers race through the content quickly in a lecturing style and then rely on students to practice these concepts in order for students to grasp them. When this happens, the result is that students may be able to apply formulas, go through the steps and algorithms and even score high in tests, but when it comes to solving a real-life problem using mathematical concepts outside of the maths classroom they really struggle. But with project-based learning (or PBL), all that changes,” explains educationist and founder of Future Nation Schools, Sizwe Nxasana.

In PBL, students are tasked with answering or solving a real-world problem in an authentic, inter-disciplinary and meaningful way over an extended period of time and in a multi- and inter-disciplinary way.

“Studies show that when students are personally invested, they understand content more deeply and retain what they learn longer. One of the biggest advantages to teaching mathematics through PBL is that it the authenticity of a project can help shift a students’ relationship with math because it ensures that students remain interested in the topic. When it comes to improving our country’s mathematics outcomes, personal investment and a positive attitude is vital. By solving mathematics projects situated in the real world, students discover connections to their own lives and develop a sense of ownership and accomplishment. These activities create memorable learning experiences and, by extension, not only improve their relationship with mathematics but proves that mathematics is not just for everyone, it is also for me” adds Nxasana.

Mar 14, 2023|Categories: PBL in Action|Tags: |

Future Nation Schools “does things differently” and celebrates with a 100% Matric pass

Today, we celebrate being different and achieving the most. Our Matric Class of 2022 achieved a 100% pass rate, 60 distinctions and 36 bachelor passes in their National Senior Certificate results under the Independent Examination Board (IEB).


Future Nation Schools (FNS), founded by Sizwe Nxasana and Dr Judy Dlamini, is no ordinary school.

This network of independent schools aims to lead the African Education Revolution by providing relevant, futuristic, Africa-focused and technology-enabled education and does so by teaching an enhanced National CAPS curriculum, delivered through Project Based Learning (PBL).

“PBL prepares learners to solve real-world problems through inquiry rather than merely preparing learners with the ability to answer essay- and exam-based questions,” explains Nxasana. “It is about empowering pupils to inquire, discover, research, solve problems, work with one another and think critically. This multidisciplinary way of teaching uses technology alongside traditional teaching methods to create a highly effective learning model where learners are more engaged with the content and build critical and creative thinking, collaboration, problem-solving, leadership and effective communication skills – all of which are essential as learners head into the world of work.”

It is a dramatic shift away from the way South African learners are traditionally taught. Since teaching takes on a learning-by-doing approach, learners essentially become active participants in their own educational development.

Does it work?

Looking at FNS’s Matric results, the answer is a resounding “yes!”

2022 matrics at FNS not only achieved a 100% pass rate, but they also achieved 60 distinctions (an average of 1.46 per learner), 36 bachelor passes, 4 diplomae and 1 higher certificate pass.

The 2022 cohort is also the second group of learners to complete their full high school education using PBL since FNS opened its doors in 2017. Both cohorts achieved 100% passes in their final matric examinations.

“We are immensely proud of the FNS Class of 2022 and are particularly delighted with the achievements of our seven top achievers who brought in a combined 20 distinctions between them. The Class of 2022 is proof of what can be achieved when you work hard, approach learning with dedication and embrace doing things differently. We can’t wait to see what each one of them does as they head into their tertiary studies and the world of work,” concludes Nxasana.

Class of 2022 Top Achievers


Jan 18, 2023|Categories: Events, Matric Results, PBL in Action|Tags: , , |


Cracking the Code: Creating Meaningful Opportunities for the Future

How Coding and Robotics are applied in School?

Understanding Early Childhood Development (ECD)

How Can We Create a Model School for a Racially Diverse Society?

Project-Based Learning with Mampho Langa and Sizwe Nxasana

Decolonising and Africanising the School Curriculum

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