Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Euclid returns to maths lessons

20.12.2005


Knowing how a mathematical theory developed improves a pupil’s understanding of it. This is the conclusion of Dutch researcher Iris van Gulik, who investigated how the history of mathematics can help pupils to learn this subject.



Van Gulik developed two teaching methods in which a mathematical theory was taught based on the history of its development. Firstly for 13 to 15-year-old high school pupils, geometry was introduced by studying 17th-century Dutch surveying in small groups. Secondly 16 to 18-year-old high school pupils learnt about proofs in plane geometry by working in groups on the history of non-Euclidean geometry.

Deeper understanding


After the lessons had been completed, Van Gulik investigated the motivation of the pupils and their results, and the experiences of the teachers. The history of non-Euclidean geometry was particularly successful. The pupils acquired a deeper understanding and the teachers indicated that they found the subject challenging and inspiring. In addition to this the new teaching method led to a livelier learning process and higher motivation among the pupils.

The study of 17th-century surveying did not directly lead to a deeper understanding or a higher motivation among pupils. However the 14 to 15-year-old pupils responded more positively to the integration of history in mathematics lessons than the 13 to 14-year-old pupils. The practical assignment in the curriculum was experienced as positive. A particular disadvantage of this method was the use of many texts written in old Dutch. Moreover the cooperation between the teachers of mathematics and Dutch was better at some schools than at others.

The inclusion of historical sources in the teaching material for mathematics is definitely effective. However the extent to which such historical source materials need to be processed should be established. A detailed teacher’s handbook for the teaching methods is also vitally important.

Historical development

At the turn of the 20th century it was common practice to use the history of how mathematics developed as a starting point for teaching this subject. Systematically following the most important steps in the development of mathematics was considered to be the most natural and efficient way of learning the subject. A century later these opinions have become more nuanced and new teaching methods have made their debut. However there are clear parallels between the mistakes pupils make in learning a mathematical theory and the problems encountered during the theory’s development.

Iris Van Gulik’s research was funded by NWO.

Iris van Gulik-Gulikers | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_6JSHE5_Eng

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>