11. – 22.02.2019; In accordance with the project aims and planning, the first journey of the travelling exhibition “Minimathematikum” was to North Macedonia. Its’ first destination was Skopje – the capital, where it was exhibited in the period 11-22 February 2019, in line with the project timeline. This project activity was conducted by the project partner Lifelong Learning Center. In general, this activity was implemented with success, as arranged and planned.
The exhibition was set up in the Public Institution House of Culture “Kocho Racin” – Skopje.
For this purpose, the project and the exhibition were promoted in several schools and kindergartens and other facilities, such as day care centers. In this context, the schools and kindergartens were invited to join in by organizing group visits for their pupils in the age range 4-8 years.
The exhibition was held in the period 11 – 22 February 2019. Three elementary schools (grades 1st to 3rd) and two afterschool day care centers participated. In addition, in the frames of a family day held February 16th, additional children were welcomed. A total of 558 children in the age 4-8 years visited Minimathematikum.
It is important to underline that the schools showed great interest and motivation to get involved in the exhibition.
The team members of Lifelong Learning Center, who received introductory training, were hosting the visits. As recommended, one visit lasted 90 minutes.
The analysis of the project documentation (participants lists, questionnaires) showed following figures:
a) Teaching staff 38
b) Children in total 558 out of which, 298 girls and 260 boys. Out of them, 5 are with disability and 29 are Roma.
c) Parents 13
Information was spread on the FB profile of the Lifelong Learning Center, through which 3132 people were reached through the reporting during the exhibition period.
In addition, Lifelong Learning Center created a separate page Minimathematikum Macedonia, where info and pictures from the exibitions were posted on daily basis. A total of 1143 people were reached through this page in the period of the exhibition in Skopje.
After the completion of the exhibition, the administration of this page was handed over to the partner Sumnal, in order for them to continue reporting with their exhibition.
The participation of the Lifelong Learning Center in this project in general, and the opportunity to organize and host the exhibition Minimathematikum, was a unique experience. For the team of the Center it was a valuable new experience and an extraordinary learning opportunity.
From the two-week hosting and guidance of 22 groups of 558 children, following experiences were made:
- The children are impressed as they enter and see the exhibits and they are euphoric
- The teachers are also amazed and thrilled and also actively play and explore
- In the first 15 – 20 minutes, the children have a rather disoriented behavior, they explore all play stations. After that, they slow down and begin to play with more attention and start choosing to play with preferred play stations.
- The educators’ team of Lifelong Learning Center had the experience that the 90 minutes foreseen for one visit, are too long. It was anticipated that after approx. 60 minutes, children start to get hyperactive and lose attention. Therefore, in most of the cases the sessions lasted 70-75 minutes.
From the discussions led with the managerial staff and the teachers of the elementary schools and their feedback about Minimathematikum, it is clear that this kind of approach in bringing mathematical concepts closer to children, is not present in the formal school education in North Macedonia. Due to various factors, the current circumstances in the constant changing of curricula for children from 1st to 4th grade, there is a gap related to practical educational work, which creates a need for such concepts as Minimathematikum.
The interest and willingness of elementary schools for visiting Minimathematikum was much bigger than the capacities to accept them in the given period of 15 days. From that aspect, there is a need for addressing the lack of practical methods and suitable equipment and learning environment in schools for teaching and learning mathematics. The presence of Minimathematikum for a longer period of time (6 – 12 months), in the form of a project cooperation, would be a possibility to cover more schools, not only in Skopje, but also countrywide.