Education/News/January 2018/Bertsomate: using Basque oral poetry to illustrate math concepts
Bertsomate: using Basque oral poetry to illustrate math concepts
Author: Galder Gonzalez
Summary: When we created our Education Program aiming to create high quality articles on basic topics, we started thinking on the didactic of sciences, and how we could make better content for articles. Basque oral poetry is widely known by Basque schoolchildren, and the recently held Main Championship attracted more than 14,000 people to see it live. So we decided to merge both disciplines and try to explain mathematical concepts by using oral poetry.
Our contact in this somehow crazy idea was eu:Jone Uria, a semi-finalist bertsolari and Ph.D in Mathematics, who saw this as a personal challenge. We sent her a list of 100 basic math concepts we have developed for our program and she sent us eight poems, so that we could record her.
Basque oral poetry is improvised. When the gai-jartzaile ("topic-proponent") gives them a topic to sing, with a closed metric and rhyme, the bertsolari, or troubadour, should create something beautiful, meaningful, and do it fast along the constraints of that specific metric. This time the poems were not improvised, but written down. However, the magic of something rhymed that can be understood is still there.
Tags: Basque Education Program, interdisciplinary programs, poetry, mathematics