CAN ENGINEERING STUDENTS LEARN MATHEMATICS BY DOING MATHEMATICS?

M.E. Sánchez- Oreja, J.M. Antón, A.M. Tarquis

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos (SPAIN)
This work is trying to overcome the Bologna Plan application for two mathematical subjects at the first course in the Agronomic Engineering of Madrid (E.T.S.I.A.), which belongs to the Technical University of Madrid (U.P.M.). Because of our students often give those subjects up earlier, a proper planning of teaching and learning is necessary.

The Bologna Plan assumes an education strategy based on creativity and renovation more than on stability and reproduction. A learning aimed at enjoying questions and not only answering them.

Therefore current European legislation orders abandonment of usual didactic action into university classroom purely concentrated on transmitting the knowledge. The docent had traditionally acted as a mediator between students and knowledge.

In order to assess these tasks in the field of mathematics we have started from the following guidelines/premises:
- Only when you have learnt to solve problems then you know mathematics. That is the following step from having learnt the theory
- Selection of disciplines is less important that the proper choice of a way of approaching or a good choice of proper method and later how training students for better practical using of them.

We want to try out a pleasant work method to achieve very flattering results, making the most advantage of the time by doing exercises, problems, questions, tests and exams into the classroom. Then we can reward every individual or collective effort made and our students can be motivated and be encouraged to study these disciplines. In this way students will enjoy Mathematics. We are going to start to apply these innovations in next September and in November we can analyze the results.

At this first innovation phase, we are very interested on accepting the Conference participants’ observations.