Experience mathematics in a practical way! – “MathZe” mathematics center opened in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district

"Mathematics is the alphabet that God used to describe the universe," said the polymath Galileo Galilei more than 400 years ago. Not all students share his fascination with mathematics. But there is another way of teaching mathematics! That would like the recently opened Mathematics center of the MINT network in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district prove. As a new extracurricular place of learning, it specifically promotes everyday and action-oriented mathematics lessons at elementary and special schools for the 3rd and 4th school years. The focus is on probabilities and spatial thinking.

The aim is to arouse children's enthusiasm for numbers and their connections. The school lessons should be supplemented in a very practical way. In the playful experience, the children systematically track down apparently random, everyday phenomena. During the opening event, the zdi network presented what and who is behind “MathZe” and in particular what is happening there.

At the opening: (from left): Johannes Böhmer, zdi central office, Claudia Brall, school councilor of the city of Bonn, Christoph Nicodemus, treasurer of the city of Rösrath, district administrator Stephan Santelmann, Hubert Zelmanski, head of the school authority, Stefanie Eßer, head of MathZe Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis, Sophia Tiemann, Head of Education and Integration Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis, Mayor Marcus Mombauer, Britta Hussong, Head of MathZe Bonn and Uschi Resch School Councilor, Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis Photo: Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis/Eva Burger

What is the MathZe?

At the school center in Rösrath, students will get to know mathematics in a completely new way. Two trained primary school teachers work at MathZe RBK. They have set themselves the goal of making mathematics lessons relevant to everyday life, exciting and sustainable. The director Stefanie Eßer gives a little insight: "Regardless of whether it's about probabilities or geometry in the head, when they visit MathZe, the children and teachers find a themed room in which they can spend a morning discovering and experiencing a mathematical topic can.” In the “Think what you can’t see” theme room, which belongs to the discipline of head geometry, spatial orientation and imagination is trained through a multifaceted, everyday approach. The thematic room "Probably isn't certain?!" aims to track down apparently random, everyday phenomena more and more systematically and thus make chance calculable to a limited extent. “A visit to MathZe should not be seen as a separate visit to a extracurricular place of learning understood, but as an in-depth offer of teaching work that enriches and further improves mathematics teaching," explains Stefanie Eßer.

The overall goal of MathZe is clear. It is intended to take away the fear of mathematics from a very early age by showing them the benefits in everyday life and at work. In the future, small and medium-sized companies in the region will need specialists with mathematical skills more than ever in order to be able to successfully manage the digital transformation in business and the world of work (Industry 4.0). Pupils are thus introduced to a key competence of the future in a playful way even in elementary school.

Practical offer that is based on the needs of the industry

The sponsors of the MathZe in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district are the Rheinisch-Bergisch District Office for Education and Integration, the Rheinisch-Bergisch District Lower School Inspectorate and the city of Rösrath. The implementation takes place in cooperation with the city of Bonn, the lower school supervisory authority in Bonn and the Telekom Foundation in Bonn.

The city of Bonn plays a special role here. Because the successful running Mathematics Center in Bonn served as a template. "We see the implementation of our concept in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district as a win-win situation for both MathZe, which can support and develop each other through the cooperation," explains Hubert Zelmanski, head of the school authority of the city of Bonn. For example, new content modules are being developed in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district, which in turn can be implemented in the Bonn Mathematics Center.

Together, the project partners determine the need for specialists with a connection to mathematics. The findings then flow into the design of suitable offers for career orientation. The formats and materials should be characterized by the greatest possible practical relevance to the professional and working world. 

And the demand is great! The MathZe courses in Rösrath are already fully booked until May 2021. 

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