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« Keep calm and eat Sarmale »; the testimony of a M&L student from Arago high school (Perpignan) about the meeting with their twins in Buzău

« The young and French students we are, got the chance to participate to an exchange program from the first to 8 December along with an incredible and hidden country named Romania.

First, let us define what it is all about. Our high school the « lycée François ARAGO » in Perpignan, South of France, is involved into the project « MATh.en.JEANS » thanks to Miss Diumenge, a maths teacher. Thus, she could create the workshop « Graine de chercheurs* » which is based on working on Maths in another way. This year is quite special because we must make all the research in English and a new teacher joined us, Miss Queru.

Miss Queru supporting the students.

Therefore, the journey started when the plane landed in Bucharest. It was the evening, the night even, and we had to find the hostel, feet in cold pools. The next day, a Bucharest visit was planned, and we met the Romanian teachers and some correspondents. Discovering the capital allowed us to share the first moments of friendship, both within the French group (everyone didn’t know the whole group yet) and the Romanian one. For lunch, we ate our first « Sarmales », the famous traditional meal from Romania. Those little mincemeat balls surrounded with cabbage were… Yummy! At the end of the afternoon, the bus took us to Buzau, a little town in Eastern Romania. There, everybody got make acquaintance with their respective correspondents. We spent the first evening with our « loan » family. Sunday, last day before we started working, we shared some ice-skating adventure! That was very funny because we weren’t used to ice-skating compared to Romanian students. Some of us were taught their first lesson!

The ice-skating experience!

We spent the rest of the week investigating our Maths topics and discovering a new culture. Despite of the fact the education system is very different; we succeeded in working together bounded by the love of math.

Students involved into collaborative work on their shared research topics.

We could participate to an amazing conference by the famous Romanian teacher, Bogdan Enescu. We could present our subject’s advancement at the end of the week, in English! (At least we tried). The 6 December was a great day. Indeed, Romania don’t celebrate Christmas as much as other countries but “Nicolas day”. Certain of us got the surprise to receive some presents in their shoes, another clue which show the families’ kindness. Romanian students reserved us a last surprise with a show, and especially the resume of “Je vole” of Michel Sardou by a young Romanian girl I thought very affecting.  The last evening, we shared a last moment together during a party, last smiles, last laughter before to come back in France.

Arago students presenting their work.. in English!

If we want to resume this journey by a quote, « Do not listen to what they say. Go see » is the best one. All of the pupils and teachers who lived this unforgettable journey are longing to go back. People we met will stay in our memories and I hope the relationships tied will go on for a long time. »

*The Maths&Languages workshop’s name in Arago.

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The MatReLan project rewarded by the eTwinning Romanian agency

The eTwinning project Doing Math as Researchers Do It – MatReLan (2016-2017) was awarded the first prize in the mathematics and sciences category by the Romanian eTwinning national agency.

This is a deserved recognition for Ariana Vacaretu (Colegiul Naţional Emil Racoviţă, Cluj-Napoca) that we all are very happy to have by our side for the next three years.

Ariana Vacaretu, thanking the eTwinning platform proved to be an excellent way to support students cooperation for doing their research

M&L pupils presentation during the inauguration of the Women in mathematics exhibition

The Maths&Languages workshop of Perpignan (Lycée Arago) participated in the inauguration of the Women in mathematics exhibition (Friday 22nd of September, Lycée Jean Lurçat, Perpignan). Two pupils of terminale (girls in the 12th grade) presented their research work about Exotic mathematics in plenary session in order to prove that everybody can be interested in mathematics research without distinction as to gender or age.

M&L pupils presenting their work

This presentation was very well received by the public so the manager of the exhibition, Sylvie Paycha (mathematics researcher at Potsdam University, Germany), decided to upload the pupils’ work on the exhibition website


First dissemination meeting

The MATh.en.JEANS association organized a dissemination meeting about the Maths&Languages project as part of the #ErasmusDays on the 13th of October in Bordeaux. Objectives: present its approach and shape to local partners: Université of Bordeaux, Espe d’Aquitaine, IREM d’Aquitaine, mathematics inspectors, DAREIC, DAAC, CLIL activities representatives and draw the contours of future collaborations.

It gathered 11 people during two hours and the discussions about the M&L approach were very lively and the partnership between the project and local supports in Bordeaux is very promising.

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The M&L project started!

The project officially started on the 1st of September but its cooperation activities began on the 5th and 6th of October via the first transnational meeting. It gathered during two days three representatives of the MATh.en.JEANS association and 22 teachers (mathematics and languages) from the 10 partner schools in Belgium, France, Italy, Poland and Romania.

They were involved in a very intense schedule in order to get to know each other, set up the calendar and the Maths&Languages approach for the next school-year . The opportunity has been given to the participants to get trained to the communication tools they will use among the twinnings and to talk about the administrative and financial follow-up, communication and evaluation of the project.

Plenary session    Group work

More than 20 hours of work for these 25 brave fellows that kept smiling all the way long and look forward to participate in the next transnational meeting (Iasi, Romania 31st of May and 1st of June 2017). In the meantime, the 5 international twinnings will be fully operational passing through at least 3 videoconference meetings and 1 physical one, very regular discussions on the shared research topics. All of this in a foreign language bien sûr ! 

eTwinning training session