Task of the Week: The scooping ‘Dümpfelschöpfer’
The current task of the week is located in Lichtenfels, Germany. In this Franconian town the teacher Jörg Hartmann created the task “Der schöpfende Dümpfelschöpfer“ [engl. “The scooping ‘Dümpfelschöpfer’”] and answered several questions about it.
How did you get in contact with the MathCityMap project?
I first discovered the MathCityMap idea through a teacher training by Matthias Ludwig, head of the MCM team Frankfurt. During a project week at my school, the Meranier-Gymnasium in Lichtenfels, I offered a course on MCM trails.
Supported by six students of the nineth to the eleventh grade I created the math trail “Bergauf und Bergab, über Stock und Stein in Lichtenfels” [engl. “Uphill and downhill, over rough and smooth in Lichtenfels”], which contains the tasks “Der schöpfende Dümpfelschöpfer“. Subsequently I worked several times with different classes on the trail. A preparation of 20 minutes is suitable for this; the pupils then run the trail for two or three school lessons. The joy of the pupils is enormous, while the pupils experience mathematics in the open air – and the pupils learn an amazing amount.
Please describe your task. How can it be solved?
The famous sculpture in Lichtenfels, the so-called “Dümpfelschöpfer”, represent a man scooping water from an irregularly shaped pool. In the task I ask how often the man have to scope until the pool is empty. To solve the task, the students have to divide the problem into smaller subtasks, e.g. what the volume of the pool is or how units can be converted.
Which didactic goals do you want to promote?
I would like to encourage students which work on the math trail to perceive their environment from a mathematical perspective as well as to recognize the connection of school math and the real world. They might ask themselves which mathematical object has a similar shape to the bucket and how to convert a volume in m³ in litres.
Furthermore, I want students to do mental arithmetic and make rough estimation. By working on this task, they should realise how useful rough calculation is in everyday life.
Do you have any further commentary of MathCityMap?
I am enthusiastic about the idea of outdoor mathematics, and my students really enjoy to run a math trail. A lot of mathematical creativity is required to create a math trail. To be honest, at school the time to foster students’ mathematical creativity is limited – unfortunately I think the creation of a trail together with students is only possible during a project week.
Overall, the MathCityMap project is great! I really hope that some other users create trails around Lichtenfels, because I would definitely enjoy working on a “foreign” trail to get new ideas for math trail tasks.