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 The classroom of tomorrow – DFKI and TUK open lab for new digital teaching and learning methods
03.05.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Studying outdoors is better
06.02.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>