AIMS (Alternatives for Innovative Math Study)
Project title: AIMS (Alternatives for Innovative Math Study)
Project coordinator: Valentina Cuadrado Marcos
School: IES Alonso de Madrigal (Castile and León)
Age category: from 12 to 15 years
AIMS is an eTwinning-Comenius project with the fundamental aim of motivating students to study Mathematics by investigating Multiple Intelligences (MI) the theory expounded by Howard Gardner. The project is designed for the school’s bilingual department using the CLIL a methodology which includes the area of mathematics.
We would like to emphasize how intensely the students and teachers have worked on this project to produce an extensive catalogue of available end products, and the originality and diversity of the activities and the different formats and supports used. We also would like to underline the creativity developed by the students in their problem solving, poem writing, the aesthetics of their presentations, their plays, magazines and craft work, etc.
We will let Valentina Cuadrado Marcos, the project coordinator at the IES Alonso de Madrigal school (Ávila) tell us how this project developed and the impact it has had on her school.
AIMS is an eTwinning-Comenius project involving 7 secondary schools from Rumania, the coordinating school, France, Holland, Italy, Poland, Greece and Spain. It is not the first time that this team of teachers has worked together, which is a positive value for the project in terms of the level of requirements and commitment.
Although it is still not finished it has already generated many end products and a great variety of activities which can be found on the Twin Space.
Description, objectives, results and implication
AIMS, as its title indicates, works on the search for innovative alternatives for studying mathematics by exploring Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences in order to discover and develop the particular interests, needs and abilities of the students.
In this sense the team of teachers differentiates and adapts its methodological system to these particularities.
The main objective of the project is to increase motivation and interest in the study of mathematics among the participants, especially among those whose results are below average.
Another objective is to stimulate curiosity and an investigating spirit in the participants by connecting mathematics to everyday life and using a great variety of ICT tools. The aim is to encourage autonomy and independent learning abilities in order to generate a climate of self-esteem among the students.
The main strong points are based on designing specific activities for each one of the intelligences and distributing the tasks among the associated schools.
All of the schools carry out activities for each one of the intelligences, like crosswords, puzzles, videos, songs, treasure hunts, concept maps, flipped classes, diagrams, photos with elements from mathematics, etc.
Furthermore each school takes on a central task within the project.
Spain is in charge of creating a DVD which will form part of a Teachers’ kit or guide, which will include a selection of the activities considered most useful for each type of intelligence from the point of view of the results and the methodology. This material is published in the blog.
The main difficulty comes from the great variety of sub-topics considered, as each of the intelligences requires a different treatment. Given the diversity of activities it is not easy to ensure that all of them achieve the same level of acceptance and participation with the students, although it is evident that, as Gardner proposes, catering for the different types of intelligence favours learning. This possibility of differentiating systems helps to overcome the obstacles.
The level of implication and active participation among the teachers and students is very positive. They work in the English Workshops in the English Bilingual Department, in the Mathematics and Technology classes taught in English. So the results are not only positive in mathematics but also in English.
The multidisciplinary character of the project implies greater collaboration among the departments which are directly involved and with others that are necessary collaborators; for example from the Department of Language and Literature, to the Advertising Workshop or to the Drawing Department.
Academic and social relations also improve among the participants as three years of the Bilingual Area are involved, emphasizing the value of the CLIL methodology. Last but not least, participating in the project enriches the school and brings it visibility. The materials produced for the kit of end products, the Teachers’ Guide with its DVD, published in the blog with others which can be seen in the TS can be adapted for use in other schools. Moreover as they are also uploaded to the EST portal they offer a more generalized use.
In the professional context, the recognition of the work carried out in the AIMS project with this 2015 National Prize is extremely important for me, especially in the year in which eTwinning celebrates its 10th birthday.
I have been working in eTwinning since it began and, as I mentioned on another occasion, the change which it brought to my career as a teacher was totally successful as it supported my search for new methodologies.
Given that AIMS is a mathematics project, it has also meant a great challenge for me as an English teacher. I have only managed to overcome these difficulties thanks to the collaborative work of all my fellow teachers and the students at the IES Alonso de Madrigal school and the teachers from the other partner schools, especially the Comenius coordinator Irina Vasilescu.
Our school has won several national prizes and one European one which I am very proud of. However, this 2015 National Prize has special value for me as I have won it in the year in which I will end my career as a teacher.
Thank you very much for your support and the opportunities you have offered.
Source of the images: project TwinSpace and blog.