Teaching how to think is the objective of the mathematical space that the Government of the Community of Madrid will launch next year in the municipality of Leganés. The subject will leave the classroom and will not be reduced to making equations on a blank sheet of paper or calculating the area of a triangle on a blackboard. To learn, and learn well, you have to touch materials, manipulate them, make mistakes and start from scratch, materialize all the theorems that appear in books and be able to apply them in day-to-day problems.
The Madrid Society of Mathematics Teachers Emma Castelnuovo will be in charge of guiding this kind of museum that will be located in the IES Gabriel García Márquez, an educational center that has provided several spaces to install more than 2,000 pieces of teaching material, hold workshops and organize conferences for students and teachers from all schools and institutes who want to visit them.
“Mathematics is in fashion and people realize that. They help to solve problems, to think. Tell me where the math isn't now," says José Luis Muñoz, teacher and president of the Emma Castelnuovo society. In the classroom they put the finishing touches to the materials and pieces that a group of teachers, before the creation of the society, made in the year 2000 to commemorate the world year of mathematics. “That is the germ of the exhibition here. The materials are the result of the work of more than 20 years”, explains Muñoz.
The tour is organized in corners. The first is dedicated to the golden ratio; labyrinths follow with the Jordan curve and turns of 90 or 180 degrees; the Pythagorean theorem through puzzles and symmetries with polyhedrons. "The exhibition in the room is about geometry because it is very visual and we have detected a deficit in manipulative geometry," says Puri Montesinos, coordinator. “All the activities have instructions so that each student reading the poster knows how to do them. The general public would learn without having mathematical concepts, "says the teacher.
After the visit to the exhibition area, the students and teachers from each center will go on to do their own workshops with materials similar to those they have seen. “We want them not to be afraid to experiment. Let them see the strategies, and improve the methodology and didactics”, emphasizes Montesinos. There will also be strategy and mental calculation games that the teachers will do independently with the students, after a guided tour by some of the 260 Primary and Secondary teachers who make up the Madrid Society of Mathematics Teachers.
In order to carry it out, the IES Gabriel García Márquez has ceded the area that previously housed the online computer systems training cycle. The students of this public center will be among the first to access the facilities when they are operational next year and learn by touching and manipulating.
«It will be the first space of these characteristics opened in the Community of Madrid», they affirm from the Ministry of Education and Universities directed by Enrique Ossorio: «The aim is to approach mathematics in a different way. That learning be through a visual and manipulative methodology to verify principles, conclusions and investigations». Although from the regional government they do not close the door to all types of public, they do insist that it will be mainly aimed at school visits, although open for all activities that are organized.