Twinned mathematics research workshops are excellent opportunities for transdisciplinary teaching.
The Maths&Languages project is a project funded by the KA2 Erasmus+ framework of the European Union. The project was initiated with the desire to share, improve and develop the MATh.en.JEANS approach with (and for) mathematics teachers, foreign language teachers and researchers all over Europe by pairing 10 high-schools in Europe.
Background of the project
The MATh.en.JEANS (MeJ) association has implemented mathematics research workshops for high-school students since 1989. The objective is to make mathematics less abstract by putting students in a researcher’s position and investigating exciting research topics. More than 4,000 school pupils participated in these activities in 2016-2017.
The MatLan project (2014-2016) contributed with a series of new dimensions to the MeJ experience, including:
- the assessment of students' skills (transversal skills and mathematical competences) developed at MeJ’s workshops;
- the inter-cultural aspect;
- and, the possibility for including the MeJ workshop (non-formal education) in schools’ curriculum (in formal education).
The Maths&Languages project (2017-2020), as a full-scale test for the MatLan approach:
- goes further in integrating foreign language teaching into the MeJ research workshops with the total involvement of a teacher from this discipline;
- benefits from the experience of teachers with diverse backgrounds and different nationalities to optimise the approach throughout the three years of the project;
- assesses students’ skills developed at the Maths&Languages workshops in mathematics and in foreign languages;
- creates a guide for setting up an M&L workshop;
- disseminates the guide for setting up an M&L approach in the partner countries and beyond.
Main objectives of the project
- For high-school students: Improve their level of foreign language and mathematics; create a real European “young researchers” community; enable them to discover research and university studies through contact with researchers; encourage them to pursue scientific higher studies giving them an insight of “real” mathematics.
- For teachers: Implement mathematics research workshops for high-school students in a foreign language; enhance/improve their ability to develop CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) activities and lead transdisciplinary programmes; share experiences and practices of teaching with colleagues in other curricular area; improve their teaching practices by cooperating with European colleagues.
- For schools: Develop an interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity by giving an example of a successful project; encourage cooperation with schools in other countries; reinforce their links with local universities; enhance capacities to engage in European projects.
- For teachers, schools and MATh.en.JEANS: Set-up and test the M&L approach; test and promote the Maths&Languages mathematics research workshops (M&L workshops) as CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) activities; provide the MATh.en.JEANS association with feedback on its method from teachers coming from different school systems.
To meet these objectives, the ten partnering schools have been carefully selected based on their characteristics and the motivation and skills of their respective teams. Moreover, to bring to light the strong link between secondary schools and university studies and research in the project, nine universities (or research institutes) have been integrated in the project as associated partners.
Country: Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Romania
Coordinator: MATh.en.JEANS Association, http://www.mathenjeans.fr/
- Colegiul National Emil Racovita Cluj-Napoca, Romania
- Lycée d'Altitude Briancon, France
- Lycée Polyvalent Vaclav Havel Begles, France
- Liceo Scientifico Eugenio Curie Padova, Italy
- Lycée Louis Vicat Souillac, France
- XV Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace im. Narcyzy Zmichowskiej Warszawa, Poland
- Lycée Général et Technologique François Arago Perpignan, France
- Colegiul National B. P. Hasdeu Buzau, Romania
- Collège Sainte-Véronique Liège, Belgium
- Colegiul National Iasi, Romania
- University of Bordeaux (France)
- Uniwersytet Warszawski (Warsaw, Poland) Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics
- Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” din Iași (Iasi, Romania) Faculty of Mathematics
- University of Perpignan (France) Laboratory of Mathematics and Physics (LAMPS)
- Inria Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée Research Centre (Sophia Antipolis, France)
- Université de Liège (Belgium)
- University of Padova (Italy) Department of Mathematics
- Université de Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, France), IRES (Institut de Recherche pour l’Enseignement des Sciences)
- Babeș-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Target groups: researchers, secondary school students, teachers
Topic: Computer science, Information technology, Maths, Technology, Education
Start year: 2017
End year: 2020
Contact person: Ariana-Stanca Vacaretu, Email ariana.vacaretu (at) gmail.com
The mathematics research workshop for students replicates research activities carried out by professional researchers. The workshop capitalises on the students’ inventiveness and creativity, inviting them to discover mathematics (and computer sciences) and to carry out research work in this field. Throughout an academic year, working in small groups, the students look for mathematical solutions and do computer modelling for a problem/research topic launched by researchers in the field of “hard” sciences. The students’ activity is facilitated by a teacher and supported by a professional researcher.
Once the research activities are complete, the students seek opportunities to share the results they have found, for instance, in scientific conferences and students’ congresses. In addition, the students write research report articles, in which they share the research topic, how they approached solving the problem and the results they found. The research report articles authored by students are published on the MATh.en.JEANS website (http://www.mathenjeans.fr/), after they have been reviewed by an editorial board. The annual report of each M&L workshop is published at the end of each school year and contains information about the assessment of the competences that students develop as part of the research workshops. The methodology for assessing the above-mentioned competences was tested and published as part of the MatLan project.
The main activities of the project are the following:
- Six transnational meetings (two in France, one in Belgium, Italy, Poland and Romania).
- Ten short-term exchanges of students (each school hosts its twinned school once during the project).
- Weekly Maths&Languages workshops involving volunteer students and mathematics teachers, language teachers and mathematics researchers to facilitate the students' work.
- Collaborative work between teachers, researchers and volunteers from the MATh.en.JEANS association during the transnational meetings and beyond to set-up, test and approve the M&L approach and produce the guide.
- An international congress gathering all the participants and stakeholders of the project organised by the MATh.en.JEANS association in 2020.
Dissemination of the approach driven by the MATh.en.JEANS association has the following main expected results:
- Joint research productions by pupils from the twinned schools: posters, oral presentations and publications.
- Improvement of mathematics and transversal and language skills of pupils.
- Improvement of teachers’ capacities to cooperate, especially internationally.
- Research topics created by the researchers of the project (reusable and freely available).
- Set-up of the M&L approach.
- Guidelines for setting up M&L workshops.
- Involvement of more schools and universities in this approach in the partner countries and beyond.
- Reinforcement of the link between secondary schools and universities.