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Form 4 students from all the secondary schools in Gozo were invited to attend two sessions for gifted and talented students in Mathematics, which took place during April and May. These activities were held after school hours and were organised by the Mathematics Section within the Curriculum Management and eLearning Department.
Several students attended these sessions, which were held in the Gozo College Boys’ Secondary School. Mr Joseph Mamo, Head of Department (Mathematics) at St Ignatius College and part-time lecturer at University of Malta, animated both sessions.
The first session was about Platonic solids, which are solids whose faces are all congruent regular polygons with the same number of faces meeting at each vertex. The activity included building some of the platonic solids such as the cube and the tetrahedron. The students also explored the mathematics hidden within these solids.The second session featured Secret Codes. During this session, Mr Mamo introduced the students to the world of cryptography, which is the science of sending secret messages. Mr Mamo started by giving the students some historical background about the use of secret messages through the ages.
He also showed the students the importance of cryptography in today’s life, such as in the use of passwords while accessing websites on the internet and also the use of number codes while accessing ATM’s and using credit cards.
The students showed great interest and enthusiasm on both occasions, a fact which encourages the organisers to make this one the first of such activities in Gozo.
Photographs – Top, Mr Joseph Mamo (left) showing three students Joseph Mifsud (from right), Josef Spiteri and Nathaniel Paul Mercieca how to build a platonic solid using modular origami. Below, Students attending the Secret Codes session trying to decrypt the secret message by using a cipher wheel.