The poor teaching of mathematics in schools is an obstacle to the development of Science and Technology in Brazil. At the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), the performance of Brazilian students in mathematics resulted in the country occupying the 58th place out of 65 participating nations. Several organizations talk about a crisis in the teaching of mathematics, and the new education theories based on neuroscience indicate a greater level of efficacy in the teaching of mathematics in the early school years.

Focusing on the first years of elementary school, O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil project (The Math Circle Brazil) brings to the country the Math Circle approach, created by Robert and Ellen Kaplan, Harvard professors. Its strong point is its pedagogical conception, according to which student participation and reflection are essential elements in order to build up mathematical knowledge and skills. Students from 2nd and 4th grades of public elementary schools and with poor performance indicators in the Basic Education Development Index (Ideb) participate in the project.

In 2013, O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil was held in Belém (PA), Brasília (DF), Fortaleza (CE), Aracaju (SE), Salvador (BA), São Paulo (SP) and Porto Alegre (RS). 50 educators gave 7,113 classes of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil to 6,732 students from 61 schools. The assessment of the project’s impact showed that, in only three months, the students’ math skills improved 5,7%.

In 2014, 14,166 classes of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil were given to 7,912 students from 67 public schools in Belém, Brasília, São Paulo, Fortaleza, Aracaju, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Porto Velho (RO), Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and Duque de Caxias (RJ). Moreover, training programs were carried out with 300 teachers from participating schools in São Paulo, Brasília, Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro. The assessment of the project’s impact showed that the students that participated in the 2014 edition presented a 7,3% improvement in their math skills, on average.

In 2015, 12 cities participated in the project: Aracaju, Belém, Brasília, Duque de Caxias, Fortaleza, Marabá (PA), Manaus (AM), Novo Hamburgo (RS), Porto Alegre, Porto Velho, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. 13.443 classes of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil were given to 5.548 children of 62 public schools. Furthermore, 2.146 teachers and coordinators of public schools participated in training meetings in Manaus, Belém, Marabá, São Luís (MA), Eusébio (CE), Fortaleza, Teresina (PI), Núcleo Bandeirante (DF), Planaltina (DF), Santa Maria (DF), Avaré (SP), Belo Horizonte (MG), Niterói (RJ), Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Lajeado (RS), Novo Hamburgo, Porto Alegre and Sério (RS). Thus, the Círculo approach reached, indirectly, 75.451 students in 2015.

In 2016, 5.774 students of 59 public schools participated in 11.842 Círculo sessions in 12 municipalities: Belém, Manaus, Marabá, Porto Velho, Aracaju, Fortaleza, Brasília, Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Novo Hamburgo and Porto Alegre. On the other hand, the training sessions of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil were carried out to 2.110 teachers and coordinators of public schools from Brasília, Santa Maria, Avaré, Duque de Caxias, Niterói, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Florianópolis (SC), Foz do Iguaçu (PR), Canoas (RS), Sapucaia do Sul (RS), Imperatriz (MA), Fortaleza, Timon (MA), Salvador, Maceió (AL), Belém, Macapá (AP) and Manaus. In total, the approach reached, indirectly, around 76.000 students.

Visit O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil website to find out more about it.