Big Mathematics Day

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* Grote_Rekendag (dutch)


A Dutch initiative to have an annual Arithmetic Experience for all students and teachers in primary schools

Students in Dutch primary schools spend quite some time working on mathematics and arithmetic. Most teachers spend time on mathematics and arithmetic almost every school day. In the higher grades students are working between 3 and 7,5 hours per week on mathematics and arithmetic, with an average of 5 hours weekly (Janssen, Van der Schoot & Hemker, 2005). In these lessons teachers in general follow instructions from the textbook. All available textbooks are based on ideas from realistic mathematics education; however, these textbooks do not focus students and teachers on reasoning and negotiating on strategies. Textbooks provide all elements for teaching mathematics and arithmetic; every subject is covered and the educational material offers enough for the time spent on mathematics and arithmetic. We observed that this resulted in a situation where mathematics and arithmetic in many Dutch primary school classrooms is limited to relatively short introductions and for the rest of the time paper and pencil work. As a consequence we see that many students and their teachers do not experience arithmetic and mathematics as an inspiring activity.

A very limited number of primary school teachers choose to professionalize themselves in mathematics and arithmetic teaching. We do not know why that is so, but observe that most schools do not experience mathematics and arithmetic as a problematic teaching area and as a consequence invest in other fields.

Our consideration for developing the National Arithmetic Day was that the above mentioned situation asked for an easily accessible activity that focuses on mathematical reasoning and that inspires both students and teachers.

Year Data Theme Dutch schools
2009 Wednesday 9 April Money
2008 Wednesday 16 April It’s about time 683
2007 Wednesday 17 April Geometry, patterns and art 673
2006 Wednesday 8 March Playing with numbers 637
2005 Friday 25 February Counting, tally, drawing. Collect, order and visualize 398
2004 Wednesday 18 February Geometry and measurement 509
2003 Pilot 20


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