Why is math almost always considered to be boring? And what can we do to change it?
This were the questions that inspired me to start a new project with my students that included treasure hunt and math. Think about it. They were practicing math, working in teams, solving all problems I have prepared for them. All of that, without even knowing they are actually learning new things.
But my big question was can we do this on international level?
With my colleagues from school we started project ‘From game to stem’, in which the students of our school (Gimnazija Zajecar), together with students from schools from Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria and Poland, will show that science is interesting and that even better results are achieved through games. The goal of the project is to animate students to engage not just in math but in STEM general. Also, they worked together on different projects and ideas.
My role was to find the best way to introduce math to children and show them that it can be fun is to have fun as they learn. And this is where our treasure hunt started.
To find put more about project you can check our website. We are still at start, and pandemic has slowed us down, but we are not backing out.
How did we do this?
The first step was to create international teams so that there would be one student from each country in the team. Before the start of the competition, each team held a video meeting, where they met, discussed the project and chose the team leaders. The role of the team leader is to coordinate with their team, organize meetings to solve tasks and communicate with the competition organizer. What I wanted to do with this part was to set up communication between them, as this skill is on most of the 4C skills lists. It was funny to see how teams chosen different types of tools for communication such as Google Meet. Zoom, Discord. Facebook messenger.
After that, all teams were given First level problems. These were logical tasks, of a lower level of difficulty. Each team organized a meeting where they solved tasks together. When they agree on a solution, they send the solutions to me. If all the solutions are correct, they would get a Second level problems. If not all solutions are correct, the team would receive feedback what they need to revise in their solutions. And that’s how we are establishing collaboration and on international level no less.
The competition had 4 levels. In the last level, the students had the opposite task. Instead of giving them problem I gave them solutions and it was up to them to devise a task. This was a great way for them to express creativity and critical thinking at same time.
The team that solve the tasks first at all levels won an award. The prize will be delivered as soon as we can travel again. The teams needed different time to solve the tasks. An indicator of how interesting it is for the students that all the teams were trying to reach the end, even though they knew that they can’t win.
What did I learn from this?
This way of learning mathematics is showing that it is very interesting for students and that they find it easier to accept learning if it is presenting to them in an interesting way. Since the teams were international, the exchange of different ideas and approaches to problems is especially good. Students shared their ideas and approaches as well as accepted others.
Al results have been prepared in a special eBook which can be found here.