849   Insight talk

Attitudes towards Math in a science festival

Author: Paloma Zubieta
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico

There are many reasons why Math is important in our daily lives: it is all around us and helps everyone to understand the world. Due to several surveys on social perception of science, we are aware of the complex condition towards Math and how context is important for transforming society.

Science communication during festivals might help people improve positive attitudes towards Mathematics. In the Project “Festival Matemático” (FM) from the Instituto de Matemáticas of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México we have been working for ten years in a massive science fair, where different Math hands-on activities aimed for the general public are presented while we try to assess how they impact on people’s attitudes towards Math and Science.

We realize that at the FM, all the activities should help improve positive attitudes on each person that participates, for example, related to why Math are useful for and how do Mathematicians work. So, if there are some activities where we don’t see any changes in attitudes towards Math with our questionnaire it is not because they are not happening, but because they have already been improved during other activity. This shows that we can not assess attitudes the same way in each activity at the FM. 

The present work is a first insight in analyzing how the location of each activity within the Festival plays a major role for assessing attitudes. We also ask about sociodemographic variables and how many events they have participated in before this festival. We find evidence on how the attitudes are gradually improved by several activities and we conclude that the position of each particular activity in the science fair and the frequency for participating in this kind of events is decisive and that they can be measured effectively.

Co-author: Ingrid Midory Monterroso Alfaro
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico

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