Creating a captivating tour about maths 

1. Creating a captivating tour 

A city tour, or any tour at all, consists in showing tourists a good sight of the place they are visiting. The purpose is to walk or drive around the most interesting places and to reveal some beautiful hidden spots. With the rise of the internet in the last couple of decades, travel agencies have had to adapt (Bearne, 2016): first of all, tourists can find all the information they want on the place they want to visit even before they get there, and hotels have had to provide a more personalized experience to attract customers. 

Figure 1 Austrian Palace (Imodeen, Pixabay, 2017)

These concerns are to be taken into account when creating our own tours. Indeed, finding information on the place you want to visit is easier than ever, so the element of surprise cannot only reside in the location. Teenagers have access to the internet and can sometimes be excited – or not – about the places they are about to go to, depending on the pictures or the opinion of those who have gone before them. Their memories of the tour will therefore depend on the activities they will perform during the visits (Roc, 2022). Pupils, just like adults, will ask for something “more” to make their tour interesting. 

2. Crafting unforgettable math tours 

Although the fact that these tours will be included in the school curriculum may look like a difficulty – after all, the participating pupils did not ask to be here – this is also an opportunity to surprise teenagers with a new way of learning maths. Indeed, creating math tours all around Europe is a way to offer schools several options when it comes to engaging their pupils in math activities. They can focus on their surroundings: in this scenario, the pupils are led to have a new look at buildings they might already know, or to discover a concrete approach to mathematic concepts in a familiar environment. They can focus on other tours, too: this would allow students to discover other countries, perhaps to plan a visit to where the tour takes place. When it comes to budgeting, do not worry: our tours will be designed with travel difficulties in mind, which means you will be able to see the main points of attention from the comfort of your classroom. 

Having such an approach encourages multidisciplinary teaching, which is a way to motivate students by adding a very practical approach to mathematics. Indeed, mathematics is not an isolated school subject: it has very down-to-earth uses, particularly in architecture and city-mapping, which can be observed simply by going outside for a moment. The only thing pupils need is to know where and how to look. 

Figure 2 Pythagoras statue in Samos (Matthias Groeneveld, Pixabay, 2018)

In addition, those tours can be made entertaining: do not focus only on showing a building to the class and having your pupils answer a question. Indeed, planning a tour requires a bit of magic to interest your class: think games and storytelling. Of course, you do not have to develop too much on that – an entertaining lesson does not have to contain dozens of games – but providing a bit of context and a bit of fun will certainly engage your pupils more. Do not hesitate to get fully involved in the story, since it will help with engagement too. And if you are not too sure about what story to create or which monuments to visit, the VisitMath project will have you covered. Check our page to see our upcoming mathematic tours! 

3. Summary 

When it comes to creating an engaging tour about mathematics, the sky is the limit! Think about what you, as a teacher, would like to experience when going on your next journey. Obviously, the main focus of the tour is to remain educational and to bring your pupils tools that will help them in their school year, but this does not mean that you should forget about how useful a good story can be!


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