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Relevant initiatives

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Title of Initiative / Project
MaddMaths – Mathematics Didactic Divulgation
Name of Organiser
SIMAI (Società Italiana di Matematica Applicata e Industriale)
Start and ending date of the Initiative
Was the initiative carried out in the framework of a funded project?
Type of deliverables
Online course, Teaching Methodology, Video, On-line Game, Didactical resource
Thematic area
Language of the deliverable
Target Group
Description of the initiative
Maths is the bête noire for all students. Generally speaking, it doesn’t enjoy an excellent reputation in spite of the (sometime heroic) efforts of some valuable and experienced teachers who try to present Maths in a more lively and actractive way.
For this reason, since 2008, in the framework of the initiatives of SIMAI (Italian Society of Applied and Industrial Mathematics), the current project has elaborate a path to change this situation. The project promoters, in fact, believe that Mathematics is one of the key factors to foster the technological innovation and it is necessary to remove the existing prejudices against this subject.
Nowadays, the mathematicians deal with optimization of the industrial process, traffic flow, management of data network, treatment and compression of pictures, web and bank cryptography. They are involved in weather prediction, designing foul sewers, prevention of natural disaster. They are pioneer in genomics and proteonomics and are indispensable for the planning of videogames and special effect for movies. They are behind the algorithms managing the web search engines (Google among all). So, in Italy, but even more abroad, the profession of mathematician has always a bigger importance. But these successes and their potential developments are not well-known. MaddMaths! website aims to become a showcase to promote the role of mathematician in the society (note: the exclamation mark is part of the name. “Madd” is an acronym standing for Mathematics Divulgation and Didactic, even if it alludes to the stereotypes mentioned above).
The website born in March 2009 under the sponsorship of SIMAI and the UMI (Italian Mathematics Union) joined and shared this experience starting from the end of 2012.
The editorial manager is Stefano Pisani, scientific reporter with a degree in Mathematics. There is also a little staff of young mathematicians.
The upgrading of the website is continuous, but substantially it has a bimonthly circulation through the shipping of the newsletter Madd-Letter. An editorial committee is next to the editorial staff and it is composed by mathematician and is coordinated by Roberto Natalini (IAC-CNR) and by Lucia Caporaso (Univ. Roma3).
Maddmaths! aims to become a showcase for the Italian Matematics and a meeting and discussion place for everyone be concerned, starting from the students to the teachers, to whom is more or less keen in Maths.
The purpose of the website is to intrigue and to tell some anecdotes: the in-depth knowledge can come after and through other channels.
On the one side, the user can find interesting and original contents, first hand news, an easy but fine language. On the other side, the contents are quite always written by active mathematicians, people who research in first person and are able to talk with competence and totally mastery in much advanced topics.
More Information
The principal aim of this website is a better quality of scientific disclosure. The potential user, mainly a teacher, will appreciate the efforts of scientists, who have edited this portal to achieve their objective.
Deepening sheets could suggest interesting spurs to integrate didactics in classrooms and in laboratories. From the column “Didamadd” more deepening contents at
Interesting interdisciplinary and maths bringing up to date propositions, for example the connection between mathematics and The Divine Comedy at the link
For less intellectual exercises, but nevertheless training exercises, it is available an puzzle section
The website has in store for inquiring people many resources as the original section “Test di Proust” rearranged in mathematic sense and oriented to mathematicians. In another section there are some humorous short stories about “fantamatematica”(a mix between maths and fantasy) and a math concept’s glossary.
Teachers’ Opinion
Strengths and weaknesses
All the sections of this portal (“Rubriche”, “Persone”, “Divulgazione”) are full of materials. I found several interesting articles (particularly noteworthy are “L’angolo arguto” and its 100 answers to the question “A che serve la matematica… they are really 100! Or “Con quale matematica si mescola un mazzo di carte” or the “Fake News” about the soccer world cup winner.
I find the young researchers’ testimonies really interesting and I think they can engage my students. The portal users will have the impression that this portal has managed by an interesting team made by dynamic people. They deal with scientific topic that are very connected with our daily life.
Other sections, as DIDAMADD of the portal are less interesting. You can find only few didactic suggestions and many of these are not so original (above all according their presentation). There is only one didactic proposal…maybe it is not so appropriate that a website like this can do didactic proposal.
Another weakness is on the level of the divulgation. In spite of the appeal of many topics, their meaning is hard to understand. According to me, the divulgation is a much more complex challenge. For example, the article on how to shuffle the cards is only apparently funny: to reach a deep understanding it needs efforts and a careful reading.

Potential exploitation in class
This is a portal not to be used in class. Except for some videos, it contains mostly articles. You can sponsor this website with the pupils, push them for reading specific articles, comment these articles with the pupils.
The teacher can find some hints to introduce news topics in class in a more engaging way (e.g. starting the topic “Probability” the teacher can present the example of the shuffling of the cards), but the elaboration of the didactic path must be done by the teacher
Students’ Opinion
The website is full of starting points and ideas besides good didactic materials. I find original the choice to link literature and mathematic on the column "Commedia matematica" that facilitate mathematic comprehension.

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Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.