NaDiMa Motivation via Natural Differentiation in Mathematics
NaDiMa (2008-2010) aimed to improve students' understanding of mathematical concepts, taking into account students' individual personalities and the advantages of learning in groups.
The basic idea behind the project is that by considering both the learner's individuality and the demands of the education content, learners' motivation to study maths increases.
The innovative aspect of the project is connected with a conceptual change in the minds of both teachers and pupils, which should lead to a change in classroom culture and a sound attitude towards the nature of mathematics.
NaDiMa is aimed at primary school pupils:
• to support the development of their learning competences;
• to raise awareness of mathematics as a part of our culture;
• to encourage their motivation to learn mathematics;
• to realize pupils' individual (cognitive) potentials;
• to enable them to experience success in the process of problem solving;
The project designed, developed and tested various examples of Substantial Learning Environments (lesson plans) easily adaptable to variety of specific educational settings, and materials for teachers explaining the concept of NaDiMa and describing the learning environments developed.
Country: Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Poland
Coordinator: University of Rzeszów, Institute of Mathematics, www.univ.rzeszow.pl
Target groups: primary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, under school-age kids
Start year: 2008
End year: 2010
Contact person: Ewa Swoboda, University of Rzeszów, Institute of Mathematics, swoboda (at) univ.rzeszow
The key theoretical basis of NaDiMa is the concept of the Substantial Learning Environment, which allows "natural differentiation". The unique point with this kind of differentiation is that all students are given the same learning material, on which they work together, in accordance with their individual competences.
For learners, this natural differentiation should contribute to a deeper mathematical understanding as well as to the development of general learning strategies that can lead to learners' higher motivation to study mathematics.
The project developed and tested the following examples of Substantial Learning Environments:
• "number chains"
• "number triangles"
• "a route"
• "big problems" (related to multiplication and division, percentages and fractions)
Supporting materials for teachers include:
• Three-volume publication "Ideas for Natural Differentiation in Primary Mathematics Classrooms" (vol. 1 - Arithmetical Environment, vol. 2 – Geometry, vol. 3 - Bigger contextual problems), with chapters on natural differentiation, motivation, and description of Substantial Learning Environment.
• Description of teachers' activities that support natural differentiation in the classroom.
• Video examples of best practice (classroom teaching, interviews with teachers, interviews with pupils).
All materials are available to registered users only.
NaDiMa also organised over 10 workshops for teachers to support the implementation of the method in the classroom.