874   Insight talk

10 years of math hands-on activities in Mexico

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

The majority of societies have a misconception of what Mathematics really are and cannot understand what are they important for. That is probably why they developed emotions, attitudes and beliefs that are not favorable for their Mathematical thinking. The main question we are addressing here is how hands-on activities can contribute to modify misconceptions about Mathematics and, therefore, start —or not— a transformation on the way society perceives and understands Math and Science. 

For almost a decade, we have been working on hands-on activities from a scicom perspective in two different academical institutions —the Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas (CIMAT) at Guanajuato and at the Instituto de Matemáticas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (IMUNAM) at Mexico City— with similar approaches and at a variety of urban and rural environments reaching over one million people. We think that in Mexico, as in other countries, this Math communication products ought to modify perceptions and are useful in many different ways to contribute to social transformation else than just surprising and entertaining, as they already do.

Our aim is to discuss and find the biggest challenges and best practices for Math hands-on activities and how they can be implemented in different scenarios —outside schools—, maximizing their impact on diverse publics, where every person could enjoy activities that involve new ways to relate them to Mathematics, developing their scientific culture for transforming societies and truly assimilating Math at their daily life, generating public understanding and engagement with science.

Co-author: Mariana Carnalla
Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas (CIMAT-Guanajuato), Mexico

Co-author: Paulina de Graaf
Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas (CIMAT-Guanajuato), Mexico

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