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A Simple Maths Project

"M@ths on Fingertips" is a very simple project on the constructivist approach to teaching Mathematics to Lower Secondary School pupils. The project was initiated due to a Comenius in-service training. It is connected to a parallel teaching experiment that took place simultaneously in two schools: College Jean Rostand (France) and School no. 92, Bucharest (Romania). The French and the Romanian teacher organized this experiment in order to compare their reactions and the way they solved the tasks. After comparing our syllabus, we decided to work with the 5th grade in Romania (11years old) and the 6th (12 years old) grade in France, because there were many similarities in the curriculum.
The experiment consisted in teaching Geometry in a constructivist manner to 11-12 years old pupils. We wanted to compare the way our students react to this new approach. We also hoped this would be a way to diversify or teaching techniques, bring to life the ideas of constructivist teaching, use ICT for describing and reporting our experiences and to communicate, share our pupils' results, ideas, our educational environment, compare our curriculum etc.
As both classes were getting the fist Geometry notions, both in plane and solid Geometry, we decided to help them by teaching a few Geometry lessons in a constructivist manner. This would give the pupils a different experience of already known concepts such as perimeter and area of a rectangle, nets of a cube etc.
The main differences between the usual teaching manner and the way we solved the tasks were that the pupils made and manipulated the objects themselves, worked in their own pace and their own manner, with no indications or algorithm, with different tools, worked in groups all the time, not just for a sequence of the lesson, and decided their own group strategy.
The French teachers and I exchanged opinions and compared our pupils reactions by emails. We elaborated Powerpoint presentations of the tasks and I also uploaded photo-galleries, videos and short task descriptions on the eTwinning portal, to show how the tasks had been solved.

Our aims were :
* to experiment the constructivist approach in teaching Mathematics, comparing it to the traditional, transmissive way of teaching;
* to share the results and our experience;
* to use ICT to share our results as well as a communication tool for both teachers and pupils;
* to collaborate and communicate with teachers and students in another part of Europe;
* to improve our collaborative skills and our group work methods and spirit;
* to enhance our students' interest in Mathematics, their curiosity and investigation spirit by using concrete representation of Mathematical objects;
* to develop their ability to transfer abstract knowledge into every-day life and the opposite;
* to analyze and compare the educational environment in our schools.
The project is not completed yet, there are still some materials to be added, but you can see our work so far at http://twinspace.etwinning.net/launcher.cfm?lang=en&cid=27882

Irina Vasilescu, School no. 92, Bucharest, Romania

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