Math Trails

Two students on a math trail

Math Trails

A mathematics trail (also maths trail or math trail) is a walk where you can discover and solve mathematical problems on real objects. Math Trails are a part of outdoor education. They can be used in school context to offer a reallife experience beside of textbooks. Nevertheless, a math trail requires good preparation and a solid postprocessing in the classroom.

Many examples for tasks coming from geometrical background. It is obvious to ask for the height of building or a statue, as well as asking for the volume of a pond. But there is more to discover, combinatorical problems can be solved, functions can be discovered or even statistics are possible.

Math Trails have been a thing since the 1980s. The project is about bringing this outdoor activity together with the possibility modern mobile devices are offering. A smartphone can display maps, photos of objects, it allows automatic feedback on solutions the users gives as input.

Benefits

First of all, math trails are fun. They started as a way to popularise mathematics in the 80s and 90s for everyone, students, parents and interessted citizens. Also people move around outside when doing a math trail. They get into a better connection to their environment and start to look through the math glasses.

Going on a math trail means to have walk outside and discover not the mathematics, but also the surroundings. Students start to move and to think about mathematical problems, related to real objects.

MathCityMap

One way to do this is the MathCityMap Project (www.mathcitymap.eu). It is a math trail management system, where users can create tasks and trails and share them amongst themselves or with the public. MathCityMap is now part of the wider approach of MoMaTrE.