**By Chandan Ghughtyal**

In my interaction with a group of educators at the Regional Science Centre, I was asked how we can integrate mathematics with science subjects. Do you consider math as a science? The educators and scientists were highly enthusiastic about discussing the incorporation of technology in the teaching-learning process. As a math educator with nearly three decades of experience, having taught CBSE, ICSE, ISC, IGCSE, and IB curriculums, I am a consistent learner, and believe in strengthening pedagogy and technology.

Pedagogy, a Greek word meaning “lead to the child”, is considered, both, the art of teaching and the science of learning. Technology integration means making concepts easier to understand and visualise. It provides a better learning experience and deepens understanding.

The 21st century is the era of technology, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution closely intertwined with Education 4.0. Both are spreading rapidly, and new job opportunities are primarily available to those who have integrated technology into their skill sets. According to the National Science Foundation (USA), individuals receiving STEM education will have a 10.8 percent job growth opportunity in the next ten years, compared to only 4.9 percent for non-STEM job seekers. Notably, approximately 24% of the workforce comprises STEM-educated individuals. STEM education is increasingly significant in the present scenario as Education 4.0 has revolutionised our educational system. The three components of STEM—Science, Technology, and Engineering—are well integrated. However, Mathematics was initially considered separate and added much later. Even today, many colleges treat mathematics merely as a tool rather than a core component. In reality, mathematics is like the handle of the umbrella that supports and connects all sciences; it is the backbone of all sciences.

This article will highlight the importance of mathematics and provide concrete ideas for integrating it into STEM learning. For instance, developing project-based learning can enable students to incorporate their robotics and coding skills. Similarly, learners can be encouraged to engage in engineering design, rocket modelling, science experiments, meteorology observations, using simulation software, and modelling structures. By doing so, students can gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of how mathematics underpins and enhances all STEM fields. The encouraging fact is that NEP 2020 also supports essential training for STEM education, promoting holistic development for children. STEM education fosters creative thinking among students and helps them become socially responsible citizens. Moreover, it equips them with important skills for the future, enhancing their employability.

The relationship between science and mathematics is unique and symbiotic. Science provides mathematics with interesting problems to investigate, while mathematics equips science with powerful tools for analysing data. Mathematics is often referred to as the chief language of science, used to rigorously analyse scientific ideas and data. Carl Friedrich Gauss, one of the greatest mathematicians, famously defined this relationship by saying, “Mathematics is the queen of the sciences and number theory is the queen of mathematics.” This underscores that mathematics is an integral part of the teaching-learning process, present in everything we do.

In science experiments, students can collect data, create graphs, and analyse the results. For example, in a biology experiment on plant growth, students can measure and graph the height of plants over time, calculate averages, and determine statistical significance. Integrating math with meteorology can involve students analysing weather data, calculating averages, interpreting graphs, and making predictions based on statistical models. Technology plays a crucial role in this integration. Tools like graphing calculators, Desmos, and GeoGebra allow students to explore mathematical concepts such as functions, equations, and geometry by visualising and manipulating graphs and shapes. Simulation software can model real-world scenarios, such as using a physics simulator to explore projectile motion, where students calculate angles, velocities, and distances using algebra and trigonometry.

Project-based learning further enhances this integration. Students can create scale models of buildings, requiring an understanding of ratios, proportions, and geometry. Designing and building solar-powered devices involves calculating energy output, efficiency, and optimal solar panel positioning, integrating math with physics and environmental science. In environmental studies, students can collect data on local pollution levels, analyse it using statistical methods, and present their findings, blending math with environmental science and technology. Health-related projects also benefit from this integration. For instance, students studying the spread of diseases can use math to model infection rates, analyse data, and understand statistical concepts used in epidemiology. These interdisciplinary projects not only deepen students’ understanding of math and science but also prepare them with essential skills for the future.

The encouraging fact is that NEP 2020 supports essential training for STEM education, promoting holistic development for children. STEM education fosters creative thinking, social responsibility, and employability by equipping students with important skills for the future. By integrating math with science through practical, technology-enhanced projects, we can make learning more engaging and meaningful for students.

To bring a more interdisciplinary approach and engage students in purposeful learning, it is essential to explore the mathematical principles behind various subjects. For instance, examining the math behind music—such as frequencies, rhythms, and scales—can be fascinating. Students can create their own musical instruments and analyse the math involved in producing different sounds. Math can also be integrated with art by studying patterns, symmetry, and proportions. Students can create art projects involving geometric shapes, tessellations, and fractals, allowing them to appreciate the beauty of math in visual forms. Engaging students in projects such as designing a city layout can be highly educational. They can calculate areas, plan budgets, and optimise resource allocation, involving geometry, algebra, and financial math. In agricultural studies, students can calculate crop yields, analyse soil data, and optimise planting strategies using mathematical models, demonstrating the practical application of math in everyday life. Incorporating 3D printing into math lessons is another innovative approach. Students can design and print objects, requiring an understanding of geometric shapes, measurements, and spatial reasoning. This hands-on experience makes math practical and interesting, helping students learn better and stay engaged.

Once in a seminar, I had the opportunity to interact with the Vice Chancellor of Petroleum University, Dr Sunil Rai, a math enthusiast and scientist. He mentioned that India could have tested a nuclear bomb before 1974 if there had been proper integration of math with science and technology. Earlier, each of these enthusiasts worked in their own silos. These words motivated me, and as a teacher, I advocate for my subject, saying that math is the ladder and link between science and technology. All derivations and problems are solved with mathematical principles, and technological advancements occur through systematic study and application of math. I motivate the young generation to study math and science, encouraging them to develop projects. I urge them to study these subjects with purpose and a questioning, awakened mindset.

In my own classroom, I witnessed remarkable examples of STEM integration. For instance, an IB student used Fourier Transformation to model the sound of our school’s bell. Another student explored free-fall dynamics through a paper plane experiment, later applying this understanding to a parachute jump. I was equally impressed when a student applied Laplace Transformation to simplify complex expressions and functions.

These experiences vividly demonstrated the practical application of STEM education. In another instance, a student observed a pug following its owner on our school field and traced their path, discovering it formed a tractrix curve. This year, I witnessed a student analyse the sales of Gulab Jamuns across different restaurants in Dehradun. He investigated whether selling 2 pieces or 3 pieces in one bowl yielded better sales. These practical applications of mathematics highlight its relevance in our daily lives. These instances showcase how our students at The Doon School Dehradun, seamlessly integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills.

Thus, popularising STEM education is crucial for fostering holistic learning and preparing students for future challenges. These disciplines help students develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity. By integrating math and science, students not only deepen their understanding of core concepts but also gain the tools to innovate and contribute meaningfully to society. This interdisciplinary approach cultivates a well-rounded education, empowering students to confidently tackle real-world challenges with ingenuity and skill.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Professor Durgesh Pant, Director General, Uttarakhand Council for Science and Technology (UCOST), for his untiring work in science popularisation in the state, the eminent scientist, former-Director General of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) Govt of India, and Advisor for Science City, Dehradun, Dr GS Rautela; Consulting Advisor of UCOST, and Sanchar Shree Awardee, Prahlad Adhikari; and UCOST scientists Dr Piyush Joshi and entrepreneur Dr Tarun Bhatia, along with all other participating scientists and educators.

**(Chandan Ghughtyal is HOD, Mathematics, The Doon School)**