Cultivating intelligence through mathematical language

El cultivo de la inteligencia a través del lenguaje matemático

Fernando Blasco


This paper sets out different contexts where mathematics helps create a thinking and reasoning habit, with special emphasis on problem solving. Intelligence is thought to be connected to problem solving ability and so we are interested in the relation- ship between intelligence and mathemat- ical problem solving. These problems will be posed in a broad sense, not just consid- ering classical written problems but also problems that appear in situations such as chess, magic tricks, and board games. These settings motivate students better, solving them requires different approaches, and they relate to other fields of knowledge. This paper reports on our experience of posing problems and reasoning with gifted students through magic tricks based on mathemati- cal ideas and we give some examples of the activities we have done with them. We also present recreational mathematics as a dis- cipline that promotes student motivation and increases curiosity and inquiry. We show some ideas from Miguel De Guzmán, Martín Gardner, and Raymond Smullyan that have been used in different frameworks. We de- scribe some games that have been shown to be useful tools for creating reasoning schemas, presenting the particular case of chess as an educational tool. Finally, we set out some conclusions about the introduction of new materials, methods, and ideas for solving problems and we formulate a proposal for continuing this work and applying it in the classroom.

Please, cite this article as follows: Blasco, F. (2021). El cultivo de la inteligencia a través del lenguaje matemático | Cultivating intelligence through ematical language. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 79 (278), 59-75.

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Fernando Blasco is an Associate Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM). He took his undergraduate degree and doctorate in mathematics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. His main research interest is the frontier between non-formal education and scientific outreach. He is a member of the Committee for Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics of the European Mathematical Society and President of the Outreach Committee of the Royal Spanish Mathematical Society. He collaborates on various projects for promoting STEM disciplines.