MATHEMATICAL EDUCATION AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY: PROMOTING PUBLIC AWARENESS OF MATHEMATICS IN THE AZORES

Ricardo Cunha Teixeira, João Miguel Ferreira

Abstract


Mathematical literacy in Portugal is very unsatisfactory in what concerns international standards. Even more disturbingly, the Azores archipelago ranks as one of the worst regions of Portugal in this respect. We reason that the popularisation of Mathematics through interactive exhibitions and activities can contribute actively to disseminate mathematical knowledge, increase awareness of the importance of Mathematics in today’s world and change its negative perception by the majority of the citizens. Although a significant investment has been undertaken by the local regional government in creating several science centres for the popularisation of Science, there is no centre for the popularisation of Mathematics. We present our first steps towards bringing Mathematics to unconventional settings by means of hands-on activities. We describe in some detail three activities. One activity has to do with applying trigonometry to measure distances in Astronomy, which can also be applied to Earth objects. Another activity concerns the presence of numerical patterns in the Azorean flora. The third activity explores geometrical patterns in the Azorean cultural heritage. It is our understanding that the implementation of these and other easy-to-follow and challenging activities will contribute to the awareness of the importance and beauty of Mathematics.

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European Scientific Journal (ESJ)

 

ISSN: 1857 - 7881 (Print)
ISSN: 1857 - 7431 (Online)

 

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