Another edition of the project by the Academy of Young Scholars and Artists and the Mathematical Institute of the University of Wrocław “Math doesn’t bite” started in October 2014. The pilot version was carried out in the first term of the academic year 2013/2014 in seven high schools in Wrocław. Because both the form and the implementation met the expectations of the school directors and math teachers and they were highly rated by the students themselves, the program was continued in the winter term of the 2014/2015 academic year. During the enrollment for the 2nd edition 13 post-secondary schools in Wrocław signed up. Due to limited funds only ten of them qualified to participate in the program however the duration time of the project was extended and the amount of class hours in each of the schools has been increased.

Project initiators

Let’s remember that the Program was initiated by the members of the Academy of Young Scholars and Artists: Prof. Dr. habil. Dariusz Buraczewski, Prof. Dr. habil. Piotr Śniady, Bartłomiej Skowron (PhD) and Jakub Jernajczyk (PhD). All operations between the schools and the university were coordinated by Małgorzata Mikołajczyk, MA – Head of the Mathematics Didactics Department at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Wrocław.

The aim of the project

The project aims at lowering the students’ fear of mathematics by showing them its universal and applied character and how incredibly applicable it is in almost all areas of knowledge and human activity. The organizers also wanted to encourage the participants to take part in other popular science events for young people organized by the Mathematical Faculty of the University of Wrocław. In the future, the objective of these actions is to encourage high school students to consider the possibility of studying sciences or in technical departments at university (these are commonly seen as significantly more difficult and demanding than liberal arts university programs).

Description of the endeavors

Within the program once a month the schools invited famous lecturers and popularizers of science from the University of Wrocław and the Academy of Young Scholars and Artists with two hour multimedia shows on the relationship of math and various areas of life. The addressees of the workshops were pupils from first and second grade of non-mathematic profile classes from 10 high schools in Wrocław: high schools no. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15 and the Aviation Science High School. In this edition the project did not include high school no. 2 and 17 and the Tele-information and Electronics Schools in Wrocław although they also applied to participate. The organizers also received applications from a few schools outside of Wrocław but their participation was impossible due to the fact that the financing of the event was done by the city of Wrocław.

In each of the schools accepted to the program a lecture for a group of 50 to 100 pupils and teachers took place. After the classes the participants received didactic materials and the most active participants were awarded with T-shirts advertising the mathematical faculty at the University of Wrocław in the form of an algebraph to solve (see below) and other gadgets (for example posters with caricatures of the World’s most famous mathematicians by a Wrocław artist Tomasz Broda – their originals are hung in the hall of the Mathematical Institute of University of Wrocław.

Topics of lectures

The list of proposals of lecture topics which was given to the schools was extensive and allowed them to be adapted to pupils’ interests due to diverse interdisciplinary relationships between them.

  • Mathematics and statistics
    Does a cuckoo think? – Andrzej Dąbrowski
    Statistics for dummies – Kamil Dyba
  • Mathematics and biology
    Spotted and speckled – Grzegorz Karch
    Secrets of genetics – Paweł Błażej
  • Mathematics and medicine
    Mathematician in war – Andrzej Dąbrowski
    Point to cancer with mathematics – Małgorzata Bogdan
  • Mathematics and history
    Archimedes – antique or contemporary scientist? Małgorzata Mikołajczyk
    Mathematics as a motor in the development of human thought – Roman Duda
  • Mathematics and technology
    Visualization of reality – Krzysztof Omiljanowski
    Why does a mathematician need a computer? – Michał Śliwiński
  • Mathematics and logic
    Mathematical frauds – Jarosław Wróblewski
    Paradox, sophism, aporia – Małgorzata Mikołajczyk
  • Mathematics and linguistics
    How much math is there in a language? – Michał Śliwiński
    On artificial intelligence – Andrzej Kisielewicz
  • Mathematics and visual arts
    Painted with mathematics – Jacek Świątkowski
    Art inspired by mathematics – Jakub Jernajczyk
  • Mathematics and music
    Why is it impossible to tune a piano? – Marek Bożejko
    Sound in a graph – Kamil Dyba
  • Mathematics and business
    What does an actuary do? – Paweł Kawa
    Mathematics and finance – Krystian Bekała

30 lectures from that rich selection have been carried out, three lectures in each school. The lectures took place once a month (October, November and December). The schools chose the following subjects:

  • High school no. 1: Art inspired by mathematics, Mathematics and finance, On artificial intelligence
  • High school no. 3: Why is it impossible to tune a piano? On artificial intelligence, Spotted and speckled…
  • High school no. 5: Archimedes – antique or contemporary scientist? Secrets of genetics Visualization of reality
  • High school no. 7: Art inspired by mathematics, Spotted and speckled…,Visualization of reality,
  • High school no. 9: Archimedes – antique or contemporary scientist, Mathematics as a motor in the development of human thought, Mathematics and finance
  • High school no. 10: Does a cuckoo think? Spotted and speckled… On artificial intelligence.
  • High school no. 12: Why is it impossible to tune a piano? How much math is there in a language? Secrets of genetics
  • High school no. 13: Mathematics and finance, Archimedes – antique or contemporary scientist, Mathematics as a motor in the development of human thought
  • High school no. 15: Mathematics and finance, Does a cuckoo think? Why is it impossible to tune a piano?
  • Aviation Science High School: Does a cuckoo think? Visualization of reality, Art inspired by mathematics

Due to the big interest in the project and its high rating by the participants and the lecturers the Mathematical Institute of University of Wrocław will make effort to continue the project in both schools in Wrocław and in five other cities of the Lower Silesian-Opole region in the next academic year.

 

Project’s website: http://www.fmw.uni.wroc.pl/?q=dla-uczni%C3%B3w/matma-nie-gryzie/matma-nie-gryzie