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Henry M. Robert

Interactive mathematics..

Goethe-Institut in Ukraine has opened an exhibition aiming to awaken interest in science among children
23 September, 2013 - 18:03
Photo by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

As part of the Week of Germany in Ukraine, the exhibition “Touch the Math!” has opened at the Kyiv Palace of Children and Youth. The project “Schools: Partners of the Future,” a joint effort of Goethe-Institut in Ukraine and the Museum of Mathematics in Giessen (Germany), initiated the event. Dozens of various games, gadgets, computers, e-books, etc. are on display there, offering visitors an opportunity to develop their mathematical and logical thinking potential, engage in creative activities, and more generally, learn that mathematics is interesting and full of fun.

An example is the Leonardo da Vinci Bridge exhibit. Back in his age, the great thinker and artist proposed a way to build a bridge without using a single nail. Visitors are given parts of the bridge and a photo with a tip on assembling it. Another example is the combs game, requiring the player to place six combs around a hexagon so that all of their adjacent faces are of same color. Similarly, the red balls game has the player making a pyramid from them. Assembling three-dimensional objects from geometrical figures helps develop spatial thinking. There are many more games on offer, both funny and stimulating creative thinking.

“Globally, the exhibition has seen more than one million visitors. I hope Ukraine will add a fair number to this statistics. The event’s objective is to awaken interest in mathematics, encourage the development of creative imagination among children, and induce them into problem-solving. It is important to show them that mathematics is not a dry science, that one can master it through simple techniques available online. Such an exhibition will be of interest to everyone,” Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Ukraine Christof Weil said at the opening ceremony.

The organizers told us that the idea of the exhibition’s creation and promotion had come from employees of the Museum of Mathematics in Giessen, in particular Professor Albrecht Beutelspacher. The museum was founded in 2002, quickly becoming very popular throughout Germany.

The exhibition has already been to many countries. Goethe-Institut hopes it will encourage school students to study more thoroughly hard sciences (mathematics, informatics, engineering) and natural sciences. Besides, the organizers put great emphasis on the exhibition as a way to show Ukrainians the German tradition of popularizing science. The interactive museum will be of interest to everyone, including children, their parents, teachers, and all people with a passion for this field. Students of the 167th Gymnasium-School (an advanced German language study school) and cadets from the Kyiv Bohun Military Lyceum were the first to visit the exhibition.

By Oksana MYKOLIUK, The Day
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