The PISA Mathematics framework focuses on the four overarching ideas for Maths. They are not specific topics or contents, but very general ideas about approach to Maths and the shaping of a mathematical mind.One of these ideas is Quantity. It involves, among other things, the concept of number, an understanding of the meaning of operations, and the research of alternative solutions and elegant calculations. In order to get students aware about this idea in a pleasant and stimulating way we have begun with a story. The Italian students have made a small “Maths performance” to tell their Romanian friends about a childhood incident occurred to the famous Mathematician Karl Friederik Gauss.
Actually when he was only 10 years old he could solve a boring and long exercise given by his strict teacher in a simple and practical way. Starting from here the students, have worked on problems about the concept of number, looking for alternative algorithms and elegant solutions. The students of the two teams have faced the “problem of Gauss” in an unconventional way, arriving at the famous formula through the “stairs of numbers” they made themselves, trying to look at the problem “with different eyes”, through Geometry. After we have decided to develop the idea further creating a collaborative follow-up activity of two episodes: Sum of the first whole numbers and A Helping hand from Gauss. The two teams have written the dialogues, shot and edited the videos. Both videos show applications of the same formula and focus on everyday life. Students have really enjoyed using their creative minds and working together!
"Sum of the first whole numbers" video-Behind the scenes