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Thursday, October 5 • 3:15pm - 3:45pm
Math instead of chocolate: What German kids really want for Christmas

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“Mathe im Advent” is an ‘online advent calendar’ for school kids (www.mathe-im-advent.de). The German Mathematical Society introduced it in 2008, so has been developing for a decade now. With interesting mathematical problems and concepts, it reveals to the students the often-surprising message: Math can be fun and very useful!

For two difficulty levels a new problem is published every day from December 1–24. They come in form of a short and fun story about the elves organizing the “Christmas Gift Business” and every day life in their North Pole village. These stories are immensely popular, each year up to 150,000 German pupils play along [extra-curricular], over 50% of them being female. As a special teaser, the students can participate in a built-in Germany-wide competition and win attractive prices both as single competitors and together with their classes.
The “Mathe im Advent” project aims at school students of all abilities aged 9-15. Our puzzles – together with a detailed answer and the section “The Wider Angle” about the thematic background beyond mathematics – show mathematics as a multi-facetted cultural achievement, a useful toolbox, a way of thinking ahead, and vital basis for decision-making. They are especially designed for fostering students in creative exploring, analyzing, logic reasoning, and problem solving, and through that a confidence in their own abilities. In the long run, we aim to raise general numeracy and digital literacy as well as interest in mathematical careers in science and economy. 

We want to show the characteristics of the competition and the storytelling, then discuss its benefit – on different valuable layers – to the students and the other stakeholders like teachers, parents, education research, and funders. We also want to raise the question if and how this project could be transferred to other countries and cultures like the United States.

Thursday October 5, 2017 3:15pm - 3:45pm PDT
Emerald Bay A