Developing Astronomy-themed Math Problems for Grade 5 to 10
Mathematics in Astronomy
Illustration: Eleen Hammer unter Verwendung eines Bildes von NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI) and the Westerlund 2 Science Team
Development of astronomy problemsImage: F. Eberhardt
This project is aimed at developing math problems for grade 5 to 10 of secondary schools, solely utilizing contexts of astronomy to train and practice mathematical skills. Studies found that students’ keen interest in astronomy can raise their motivation for problem solving, thus promoting math education. Anchoring astronomical knowledge in turn, equally benefits the subject of astronomy, especially since it has been omitted from curricula of several federal states of Germany.
The project is subdivided into different phases. After assessing the current state of textbook exercises and finding criteria to evaluate these math problems, new classroom materials are created. These include astronomical math problems and their solutions, additional comments for teachers, and classifications in terms of pre-knowledge and educational requirements. The final phase consists of an advanced training for secondary school teachers to promote this new approach and the collection of astronomy-centered math problems we created.