WHAT IF CHILDREN LIKED MATH?

O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil develops mathematical skills and the affection for the subject in children of public schools

At the heart of it all is The Math Circle approach, created by professors Robert and Ellen Kaplan of Harvard University. In it, mistakes, conjectures, examples and counterexamples given by children are key ingredients in the reflection and grounding of thinking, and lead to the formation and appropriation of mathematical knowledge with confidence. The central idea is “tell me and I will forget it, ask me and I will find it out”. O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil adapts and perfects the contents of The Math Circle to the Brazilian reality.

The project works in two lines:

  • Promotes sessions in the counter-shift school for small classes (7 to 10 students) of students from the 2nd to 4th year of Elementary School (7 to 9 years) in peripheries;
  • Organizes training meetings for Primary School teachers in public schools, in which techniques and instruments used in the project are shared and teaching materials are distributed.

Visit the website of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil to learn more about the initiative
Access the video library of the project, with videos of the trainings, talks with the Kaplan teachers and reflections on education
Get to know and download the didactic materials that are presented to the teachers in the trainings

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE SCENARIO IN WHICH THE PROJECT IS INSERTED?

In the International Program for Student Assessment (PISA) of 2015, Brazil ranked 65th in Maths ranking in a list of 70 countries. From 2012 to 2015, the average of Brazilian students dropped from 391 to 377 points. For comparison, the average of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries is 490 points. 70.25% of Brazilian students are below level 2, considered basic for learning and participation in social life.

There are those who justify the performance of Brazilian students from the imaginary that Mathematics is very difficult and abstract.

Third sector organizations speak of a crisis in Mathematics teaching and highlight the need for early intervention with younger children. New theories of education based on neuroscience also indicate greater efficacy of teaching Mathematics early in school life.

 

 

TIMELINE

2013

  • 6,732 students from 61 schools participated in 7,133 sessions of the project in Belém-PA, Brasília-DF, Fortaleza-CE, Aracaju-SE, Salvador-BA, São Paulo-SP and Porto Alegre-RS

2014

  • 7,912 students from 67 schools participated in 14,166 sessions in Belém-PA, Brasília-DF, São Paulo-SP, Fortaleza-CE, Aracaju-SE, Salvador-BA, Porto Alegre-RS, Porto Velho-RO, Rio de Janeiro-RJ and Duque de Caxias-RJ
  • About 300 teachers were trained in São Paulo-SP, Brasília-DF, Porto Alegre-RS and Rio de Janeiro-RJ – involving, indirectly, 10,000 students

2015

  • 5,548 children from 62 schools participated in 13,443 sessions in Aracaju-SE, Belém-PA, Brasília-DF, Duque de Caxias-RJ, Fortaleza-CE, Marabá-PA, Manaus-AM, Novo Hamburgo-RS, Porto Alegre-RS, Porto Velho-RO, Rio de Janeiro-RJ and São Paulo-SP
  • 2,146 teachers were trained in Manaus-AM, Belém-PA, Marabá-PA, São Luís-MA, Eusébio-CE, Fortaleza-CE, Teresina-PI, Núcleo Bandeirante-DF, Planaltina-DF, Santa Maria-DF, Avaré-SP, Belo Horizonte-MG, Niterói-RJ, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, São Paulo-SP, Lajeado-RS, Novo Hamburgo-RS, Porto Alegre-RS and Sério-RS – involving, indirectly, 75,000 students

2016

  • 5,774 students from 59 schools participated in 11,842 sessions in Belém-PA, Marabá-PA, Manaus-AM, Porto Velho-RO, Aracaju-SE, Fortaleza-CE, Brasília-DF, Duque de Caxias-RJ, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, São Paulo-SP, Novo Hamburgo-RS and Porto Alegre-RS
  • 2,186 teachers were trained in Brasília-DF, Santa Maria-DF, Avaré-SP, Duque de Caxias-RJ, Niterói-RJ, Belo Horizonte-MG, São Paulo-SP, Rio de Janeiro-RJ, Porto Alegre-RS, Florianópolis-SC, Foz do Iguaçu-PR, Canoas-RS, Sapucaia do Sul-RS, Imperatriz-MA, Fortaleza-CE, Timon-MA, Salvador-BA, Maceió-AL, Belém-PA, Macapá-AP and Manaus-AM – involving, indirectly, 76,000 students

 

 

RESULTS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND STORIES

The project’s research, “The Mathematics of Children and Parents”, showed that parents’ knowledge of mathematics, their attitudes toward matter, and engagement in their children’s activities influence children’s performance. Among other conclusions, the study showed that the impact of parental knowledge is equivalent to one and a half years of schooling (80% of the difference between a child being in the 3rd or 5th grade).
Learn more about it: Influence of parents’ knowledge and attitude

In 2016, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) confirmed its institutional support to O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil. According to the institution, the project is aligned with UNESCO’s mandate in the area of increasing and stimulating scientific education through the training of quality teachers in math.

For teachers Bob and Ellen Kaplan, the secret that Mathematics is not synonymous with suffering is in the way of teaching and facing discipline. The authors of The Math Circle approach have selected five tips for mothers and fathers to help their children improve performance in the discipline and see the numbers in a more funny way.
Learn more about it: To help your child like Mathematics

O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil did a research on the basic level of mathematical competences of Brazilian people and found out – among other conclusions – that 75% of adults can not make simple averages and understand fractions. Respondents answered questions about their relationship to math and questions that involved 11 expected core competencies of an adult.
Learn more about it: How good in Mathematics are adults?

In 2014, children who participated in the project improved their Math performance by 7.3%. The most significant results were seen in students from São Paulo (16.8%), Rio de Janeiro (13.9%), Brasília (12.6%), Fortaleza (6.5%), Porto Alegre) and Belém (3.2%). The students who presented the highest variation between the first test grade (applied at the beginning of the project) and the second grade (applied at the end) were those from Brasília (99.02%), Duque de Caxias (81.2%), Belém (80.15%), Fortaleza (73.22%), Porto Alegre (63.6%) and Rio de Janeiro (60.4%).
Learn more about it: Students performance increases 7.3%

In 2013, O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil impact assessment showed that the Math skills of students who participated in the sessions increased 5.7%. The highlight was the students of Porto Alegre, who presented an evolution of 25%. Another city that experienced a high impact was Fortaleza, with 11%.
Learn more about it: Impact of O Círculo da Matemática do Brasil