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    April 2016

    • Routing school buses

    • Abstract

      Schools have busses for taking pupils to school in many countries. A school bus picks up pupils in the morning and drops them off at the end of the day at designated stops on the bus route. With school busses, total time on the bus is always the most important dimension (pupils have to get to school on time), and there is a known time of travel between any two bus stops. Since children must be picked up at every bus stop, a tour of all the sites (starting and ending at the school) is required.

      Since the bus repeats its route every day during the school year, finding an optimal tour is crucial.

      Pupils have to solve a problem of transport management and should make a map sketch of the particular locality, label roads and bus stops.

      Discipline: Mathematics
      Duration: 2 lessons (90 minutes)
      Target Group: Lower Secondary School (can be adopted to Upper Secondary School)
      Age range: 12-14

    • Task in detail

    • Discussion

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  • March 2016

    • Chicken Egg

    • Abstract

      As scientific advisor in your district’s Public Health Information Service, you are assigned a task of clarifying the question whether eggs produced by so-called free-range hens are healthier than the regular ones. The background for this task is the raging debate about the above question with people claiming the opposite, in which case it is not justified to pay higher price for free-range eggs. Do healthy chickens have healthy eggs? Systematic investigation is to be planned and carried out scientifically. The results of the investigation shall be reported, i.e. in writing. The product will then be the report.

      Discipline: Biology, chemistry
      Duration: 180 min
      Target Group: primary, lower secondary and upper secondary
      Age range: 11-18

    • Task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below, and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • FEBRUARY 2016

    • Drug concentration

    • Abstract

      Most medication requires a certain level of medicine in the bloodstream to be effective. On the other hand, if the level rises too high some medications may be harmful. Farmacologist study which dose of medications is effective. In this task students use mathematics to explore how the level of medication in blood changes over time and what happens if the daily dose is changed, skipped or a double dose is taken. They write a report that can be a leaflet for patients.

      Discipline: Mathematics
      Duration: 100 min
      Target Group: Upper Secondary Education
      Age range: 15-18

    • Task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below, and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • JANUARY 2016

    • Building a safe staircase

    • Abstract

      The task introduces the workplace task of building a safe staircase for a private domestic dwelling, using a conventional wooden construction. The construction work is normally undertaken by a carpenter/joiner. The staircase may be based on plans from a designer or architect who has considered the space available and outlined a design that complies with the building regulations. There are two approaches to calculating the measurements and building a staircase with the appropriate dimensions: (a) using a ‘rule of thumb’ method, or (b) working from stated regulations. In this lessons (or lessons) students will: • Develop two staircase designs by working in small groups using the ‘rule of thumb’ method; • Explain and compare designs between groups; • Explore alternative statements of requirements for staircases from building regulations used in the workplace (optional extension) The problem involves making choices and justifying design decisions with scope for interesting discussion about levels of estimation, priorities in designs and the reasons for regulations (which theoretically link to anthropology).

      Discipline: Mathematics
      Duration: 120 min
      Target Group: Lower Secondary Education
      Age range: 11-15

    • Task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below, and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • December 2015

    • Do we know how much and what we eat?

    • Abstract

      Answer to the question how much and what we eat is very important for our life, so everybody should consider the energy value of food, rules for and structure of healthy eating. Moreover, regional, cultural differences and physical load should be also taken into account. In other words, not only personal responsibility, but also new professions focusing on optimizing the nutrition appeared. Thus new branches dealing with analysis and toxicology of food, bio-agriculture, nutrition consultancy join the traditional ones, e.g. agriculture, food industry, biotechnologies etc. The students work as professionals in the area of food analysis in a company/institute oriented to optimizing the quantity and content (quality) of nutrition. They use calculation instruments (accessible from the Web) for quantitative analysis and nutrition portals (accessible from the Web) for qualitative analysis of food and interpret the results of their analysis from the view of cultural differences, within the national and regional, or also international context.

      Food

      Discipline: Interdisciplinary, between Mathematics and Natural Sciences (mainly Chemistry, Biology, Ecology), partly connected with Culture and Social Education

      Duration: depending on the concrete task, from 1 lesson (45 minutes) to a few-week project

      Target Group: Lower and Upper Secondary Education

      Age range: 11 –18 years

    • Task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below, and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • NOVEMBER 2015

    Design and build your own vacuum cleaner, hair dryer or toy car

    • Abstract

      In this task, participants were asked to solve a problem by developing and improving a technology. They were asked to design and build their own vacuum cleaner, hair dryer or toy car. Students generate creative solutions to a challenging problem and works like engineers. These tasks focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) practice and the relationships among STEM practices and concepts. Through such practical real-world connections, students have an opportunity to see how STEM is part of their everyday world. Highlighting the nature of a task by considering its strengths and weaknesses in relation to gender balance in STEM activities is also an important aspect of the task. In this respect, this activity informs teachers to be aware of possible preferences of boys and girls while making decisions for classroom tasks.

      Discipline:
      - Mathematics ✓
      - Biology
      - Physics ✓
      - Chemistry
      - Engineering ✓

      Duration:
      The inquiry, planning and design (30 minutes), the building of a chosen artifact (60 minutes), presenting present their design/actual artifact to their classmates (30 minutes)

      Target Group:
      - Primary Education
      - Lower Secondary Education ✓
      - Upper Secondary Education


      Age range: 11-15

    • Task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • OCTOBER 2015

    Nesting box

    • Abstract

      All European countries seek to conserve all bird species by protecting their habitats and, through this, to work for the world's biological diversity and the sustainability of human use of natural resources. Most of endangered species of birds could disappear without the help of humans. One of the possible ways to help birds is to build nesting-boxes. These small houses for birds could determine if birds can survive in a particular place. The student works as a carpenter or designer in a company which produces wooden things. The company was asked to build 1000 nesting-boxes for birds. These nesting-boxes will be hung on trees in a particular forest.

      Discipline: Interdisciplinary between Mathematics and Science (Biology), Design & Technology

      Duration: 2 lessons for design (90 minutes), and 2-3 lessons for building (90-125 minutes)

      Target Group: Upper Primary, Lower Secondary Education

      Age range: 10–12 years

    • Nesting box task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • September 2015

    IQ game design

    • Abstract

      The basic task is to design an IQ game (like the Detective game/zebra puzzle, a Happy Cube, an Impuzzable cube or a wood and ring puzzle). But from the viewpoint of a game designer this is only the starting point, because you have to develop different levels of difficulty, or games satisfying different requirements like: recommended for a given age group, with several solutions or with hidden educational aims. Depending on the age of your students and the timeframe you have, students can start from making their own IQ game and ending up with analyzing difficulty levels or producing software versions (even telephone apps) for the invented IQ game.

      Discipline: Mathematics, engineering, computer science

      Duration: from 2x90 minutes to long projects (depending on how deep you want)

      Target Group: main target group is upper secondary, but with small modifications the activity can be used from primary to PD courses with focus depending on the age group

      Age range: 9 years – 99 years

    • IQ game design task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • June 2015

    House insulation

    • Abstract

      House insulation and energy consumption from inadequate insulation are common issues in our societies. In this activity we ask students to examine two different factors that might contribute to different energy consumption from house heating in two houses that appear to be the same. Finally, based on the outcomes of the investigation we invite students to construct their own model of a house with good insulation and discuss practices that building engineers and architects use when they design houses.

      • Using different materials to construct a house,
      • Using different insulation techniques,
      • Combination of the aforementioned.

      Discipline:  Physics with links to Mathematics

      Duration:  90 minutes

      Target Group:  elementary school students

      Age range:  12-15 

    • House insulation task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • May 2015

    Design of a parking entrance to a basement garage

    • Abstract

      The aim of this task is to facilitate the parking entrance from the street to the basement of different types of cars and other moving objects such as baby carriages, wheelchairs, etc. The natural intention is to make the passage from the street to the basement as short as possible.
      This task is inspired by (and is a continuation of) the Parking Problem proposed by the UK Mascil team (http://www.mascil-project.eu/classroom-material).
      The problem implements mathematical ideas in the context of road construction, car design, architecture, traffic control (speed bumps).

      The students are expected to explore a real-life situation by means of paper models and dynamic geometry software. Based on experiments they enhance their intuition for the situation under consideration, formulate and verify conjectures and, finally, find practically acceptable solutions.

      Discipline: Mathematics, Information Technology (IT)
      Target groups: Lower Secondary, Upper Secondary   
      Age group: 12-17 years,but can be adapted to other age groups
      Duration: Two lessons (90 minutes), Part 1 and Part 2, with homework in between.

    • Parking entrance task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • April 2015

    Regulating pH in fish-holding tanks

    • Abstract

      Aquacultures and units of fish hatcheries are an important factor of primary production in Greece as well as in many other countries. Keeping the appropriate conditions in the fish-holding tanks is an everyday problem/care in the stations of fish production. One of the basic parameters that need to be controlled and maintained daily is the pH of water in the fish-holding tanks. Monitoring pH is taking place many times per day.

      This specific task asks students to experience one of the systematic activities that people working in a unit fish hatchery face: the control and regulation of the pH in the water of specific number of fish-holding tanks.

      Fish hatchery

      Discipline: Chemistry, Biology  
      Target group: Lower Secondary, Upper Secondary  
      Age group: 14-15
      Duration: 1-2 teaching sessions (90 minutes)

    • Regulating pH task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • March 2015

    Forest and timber management

    • Abstract

      Forest areas need to be managed. Many landowners engage a forest management company for this. In this task students calculate, as employees of a forest management company, the volume of wood in a forest area as well as the necessary amount of trees for the afforestation of a felling site. Both are services requested from the private owner of a piece of land. From a list of plant species students can select young trees and give an evaluation of the costs to be expected.

      Timber logs

      Discipline: Cross-disciplinary between Mathematics and Science (Biology

      Duration:Two – three lessons (100 -150 minutes).

      Target Group: Lower Secondary Education

      Age range: 12­–14 years, but can be adapted to other age groups

    • Forest and timber task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • FEBRUARY 2015

    Pipe clamp

  • January 2015

    Counting people

    • Abstract

      Children start counting from a very early age.  Counting is a key mathematical competency in Early Childhood Education and the first grades of Primary School. However, counting goes beyond school and it is an essential activity in many professional fields such as biology, ecology, geology, medicine, journalism, sociology…

      In contrast with the ‘world of school’ where counting is normally an unproblematic and straightforward activity, in the ‘world of work’ counting can become a really challenging task.  In this activity, students will have to devise their own plan for counting the number of people in a big public area.

      Counting people

      Discipline: Mathematics

      Duration: 2-3 lessons (55 minutes each)

      Target Group: Upper Primary or Lower Secondary Education

      Age range: 10-12, or 12-14.

    • Counting people task in detail

    • Discussion

      Would you like to discuss about this problem of the month? Would you like to share your experiences when using this problem with your students? 

      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • December 2014

    Problem of hearing

    • Abstract

      Even mild or moderate hearing loss can have significant social effects on individuals and is therefore an important health concern. Hearing impairments may be caused by problems in different parts of the ear.

      Audiologists carry out a series of tests to diagnose the source and extent of any hearing loss. In this lessons (or lessons) students will:

      • Design a simple hearing test;
      • Use their test to construct their own definition of what is meant by 'normal' hearing;
      • Critically compare their designs and results with others;
      • Learn about different types of hearing loss and how they are diagnosed;
      • Understand some of the work carried out by an audiologist;
      • Act in the role of an audiologist to diagnose common hearing problems from audiograms

      Discipline: Biology, physics, engineering.

      Duration: Two lessons

      Target group: Lower secondary education

      Age range: 12-15

    • Problem of hearing, in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • November 2014

    Bicycle insurance

    • Abstract

      Every now and then a bicycle is stolen. Therefore, it can be convenient to have bicycle insurance. In this task the students are asked to create an instruction for an insurance company on how to calculate a “fair” insurance for a bicycle and a “fair” compensation for a stolen bicycle.

      The problem involves making choices, justifying and defending decisions and comparing different solutions. 

       

      Discipline: Mathematics

      Duration: Two lessons (90 min)

      Target group: Lower secondary education

      Age range: 12-15, but can be adapted other age groups

    • Bicycle insurance task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.

  • October 2014

    Brine

    • Abstract

      The students get a brine (with selected impurities) and have to develop an experimental setup to separate the different substances from each other. The experiment should result in a clean substance (table salt) which might be used for cooking. The experimental setup is compared to production processes in industry and evaluated. 

      Discipline: Chemistry.

      Duration: Two lessons (90 minutes).

      Target group: Lower Secondary Education.

      Age range: 13-15 years old, but can be adapted to younger students.

    • Brine task in detail

    • Discussion

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      Please, visit our forum within the ‘International Teachers communication’ area by clicking the button below and share your ideas with teachers across Europe.