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Didactics of Mathematics

Task 1

Catalina María Álvarez Gómez



Edwin Andrés Londoño

Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia – UNAD

Brazil, the largest country in both South America and Latin
America, is the world’s sixth largest country by population and its
people are truly committed with education and mathematics is
one of their targets.

They are motivating their students to develop their mathematical skills in order
to access to complex knowledge and perform better in society.

Brazilian programs in mathematics

Lately, in Sao Pablo, they have started a new project call
“Tem+Mathematics” a tutoring program for 7th and 9th
low-socioeconomic students who struggle with this
subject. Three of five students of the same grade
gather as a group twice a week for 90 minutes (40% of
the math classes throughout the year) with their own
tutor at the end of the school day.
Tutors are mathematics university students who
check students’ doubts and contents in a friendly
environment. Real bonds and confidence is develop
between students and tutors (who often has the
same socio-economic level and show the students
that it is possible to learn and attend university and
become a professional).

In Brazil there are also two Math Olympics run by the federal government. OBM
includes public and private schools and OBMEP restricts its focus to public schools.
Most schools offering basic education are public (80% of them were public in 2009
and are known to have lower quality than the private ones). This is the major reason
why there is a separated Olympics only for public schools.

The Brazilian Public School Math Olympics (Olimpíada Brasileira

de Matemática das Escolas Públicas, or OBMEP) has been held
yearly since 2005, aiming at motivating students to study
Mathematics and improving basic education.
The OBMEP has a positive and statistically significant impact on school performance
in Mathematics among 9th – 12th graders. This impact increases for schools that
participate in repeated editions of OBMEPs and is larger in higher test score

The cost-benefit analysis shows that the

benefits of OBMEP in terms of the
participants’ future income outweigh its

Each year since its inception, the OBMEP has attracted an increasing number of
participants from schools and students in the sixth through 12th grades. In 2010 the
number of students participating was over 19 million. It is currently considered the
leading school academic competition in the country.

The stated objectives of the OBMEP are to stimulate

and promote the study of Mathematics among public
school students; to contribute to the quality of basic
education; to identify talented young people and
encourage them to pursue careers in science and
technology; to encourage the professional
improvement of public school teachers; to
contribute to the integration of public schools and
public universities, research institutes and scientific
societies; and to promote social inclusion by
spreading knowledge.

All schools that sign up for the Math Olympics

receive a booklet of sample questions and
answers, which is sent to the teachers. Its use
is optional. It is intended not only to prepare
students specifically for the Olympics, but also
to have a positive influence on the overall
teaching of Math at the participating schools
and thus the performance of their students.
This booklet is prepared by professors of the
IMPA and members of the SBM to assure its
high quality.
The most important part of the OBMEP is the scholarship program for
outstanding students and the 197 venues, in which they receive weekend
training for one year and for teachers the IMPA offers ongoing training too, so it
focuses on both: Brazilian students and teachers.
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