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ATOM, a new way to study mathematics

2011  |  



Did you know that numbers can be amusing, bad tempered or mischievous? This is something that the ATOM project from the Alonso de Madrigal School in Madrid and its Rumanian, Bulgarian, Dutch, Italian and Greek partners tells its participants. Using a multidisciplinary approach the boys and girls have discovered that mathematics are more part of their lives than they had imagined.

Thanks to good planning and close collaboration among the teachers from the different participating countries, ATOM has proposed a great variety of activities related to this Science discipline. Mathematics have escaped from their books to meet up with poetry, art or cooking. The result is surprising. A pizza or some spaghetti become ingredients for devising mathematical puzzles. An example: calculate the area of a rectangle using 400 grams of this delicious pasta.


The project stands out, not only because of the variety of the tools used, but also because they are included in the whole working process in a creative fashion. For example, the pupils introduce themselves with interactive characters and films created with applications like VOKI. By way of these virtual animations they tell their partners about their age, their hobbies, etc. in a very attractive manner.

In ATOM, the students, between 12 and 16, actively look for information to discover different things, like for example that the golden rectangle was the geometric shape that the Ancient Greeks liked most. But the most outstanding aspect of the project is linked to the mathematical puzzles that the pupils of one country set for their partners. The result, a project in which collaboration is present all the time as are ICTs when the efforts of the pupils are recorded in videos and image galleries which they upload to the TwinSpace. This is how the new technologies and mathematics manage to introduce themselves into the learning process of the students in the most natural way imaginable.


The cultural exchanges happen almost spontaneously. But they go a step further in the case of ATOM. Mathematics enter into the traditions, recipes and stories which the participants share. They not only bring them closer together but each of them learns from their partners. Puzzles, jigsaws and an endless number of enjoyable activities complete this initiative to get the boys and girls hooked on mathematics.

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