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European Commission - Comenius

European Commission - Education and Culture

Project Details

MAking MAThEmatics TEAchers MObile

129543-CP-1-2006-1 -IT-COMENIUS-C21


Project span

Project Coordinator

CAFRE Centro di Ateneo di Formazione e Ricerca Educativa
Università di Pisa

Contact person


Project Partners

(AT) Universität Wien

(CZ) Univerzita Karlova v Praze

(DK) University College Lillebælt, Skårup Seminarium

(FR) Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres de l'Académie de Créteil

Participating Schools
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Italian participating school and Mathematics topics

SchoolMathematical topicsTextbooks

Santa Caterina entrance

“Santa Caterina” School

“Santa Caterina” school was founded in 1784 in the former Dominican monastery of Santa Caterina, by the Archbishop of Pisa, His Excellency Mons. Angelo Franceschi, authorised by Pietro Leopoldo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Santa Caterina garden

“Santa Caterina” school is an independent (paritaria) public school, releasing qualifications equivalent to State schools. Independent schools were recognised by the Italian school system in year 2000: independent schools must ensure the observance of the same regulations that hold for State schools, as concerns taught subjects, curricula, school hours, length of the school year, procedures for both intermediate and final examinations etc. Independent schools may be run by either privates (e.g. religious institutions, workers’ cooperatives …) or public institutions (Communes, Provinces, Regions) and they are equivalent to State schools, thus belonging to the National educational system.
“Santa Caterina” School, belonging to the Archdiocese of Pisa, is run by a cooperative made up by school employees (teaching and administrative staff) and by external individuals who care for young people’s education. The School, similarly to all independent schools, is financially supported by the Commune (as concerns Infant school) and by the State, (as concerns Infant and Primary schools). Pupils’ families are requested to contribute with tuition fees to fulfil budget needs. If this funding is not enough, the Archdiocese of Pisa guarantees the residual financial support.

The school and the territory

In the Province of Pisa, “Santa Caterina” School is the only educational institution that offers pupils the opportunity to start and finish the whole school career within the same school: from infant school (two years long), to primary school (five years long), to lower secondary school (usually called middle school, three years long), up to higher secondary school (Liceo Scientifico, five years long).
S. Caterina School is in the city centre and it is chosen by most parents because of the offered opportunities, services and, most of all, educational values. Due to its uniqueness and characteristics, pupils come from various areas of Pisa and its surroundings. The school accepts all pupils, with no distinctions based on race, gender, ethnic group, language, religion, political opinions, social and psychophysical conditions.
The location in the centre of Pisa, close to three higher education institutions (the University, the Scuola Normale Superiore and the School of Advanced Studies “Sant’Anna”), favours contacts and interactions with these institutions and creates conditions for the development of high level knowledge and competencies by both teachers and pupils of the school.
The school is actively involved in the promotion of and collaboration to both National and International projects, with visits to and from European schools.

Formative and educational offer of the “Santa Caterina” School

The time schedule of the Lower Secondary School within Santa Caterina School is structured with six hours per day (from 8:00 to 13:45), Monday to Friday.
Taught subjects and related weekly scheduled classes are, as in all Italian middle schools:

Italian 7 hours 7 hours 7 hours
History 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
Geography 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
Foreign Language 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Mathematics and Sciences 6 hours 6 hours 6 hours
Technical education 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Arts 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Music 3 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Sports and exercise 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
Religion 1 hours 1 hours 1 hours
TOTAL 30 hours 30 hours 30 hours

Besides curricular teaching, additional afternoon classes offered by the Middle School S. Caterina are:
  • Latin language
  • Second foreign language
  • Information technology
  • Musical instrument (piano, flute, guitar, harp).
Additional activities are proposed:
  • after school
  • support, remedial and strengthening.
The school also promotes activities like theatre, chorus and sports, experiences in environmental defence, historical – cultural experiences, literary and artistic contests, sport tournaments and games.
Besides classrooms, the School has a number of available spaces, enabling the multiplicity of activities described:
  • computer laboratory
  • chemistry and sciences laboratory
  • physics laboratory
  • multimedia room
  • equipped Great Hall
  • gym.
Moreover, Internet connection is available in all school spaces.
The school’s wide external area is usually used and equipped for gymnastic and recreational activities.
Since lower secondary school must suit age and psychological features of pre-adolescent pupils, who need to build up a self conscience and a new relationship with society, S. Caterina Middle School’s objectives are:
  • to be formative: opportunities for a multidirectional development of pupils’ personalities are provided, aimed at enabling students to build consciousness of themselves and of their relationship with the world;
  • to be orienting: the school aims to enable pupils to gain their own identity in the social context, strengthening their decision making abilities, on the basis of their capacities and attitudes.
In this perspective, an educational contract between teacher and pupil is established, involving the whole Class Committee (Consiglio di Classe)1, the School’s administrative and representative agency2, parents, territorial bodies3 interested in the educational processes running within schools. According to the educational contract,
the pupil should know:
  • educational and teaching objectives of his/her school career,
  • the route to be followed in order to achieve them,
  • developmental phases of the curriculum,
  • the teacher should,
  • make his/her formative offer explicit,
  • provide justifications for his/her teaching interventions,
  • make methodologies, testing instruments, assessment criteria explicit;
The parent should:
  • be aware of the formative offer,
  • express his/her own opinions and make his/her own proposals,
  • collaborate to the activities to favour the fulfilment of objectives.

Mathematical topics
in the period October - December 2008

Lower Secondary School

Year 1
  • Sets. Sets and their representation. Subsets. Operations between sets.
  • Natural numbers. The set N: properties and basic operations in N. Ancient number systems. Expressions. Powers: properties and operations. Scientific notation and order of size.
  • Divisibility. Multiples and divisors of a number. Prime numbers.
  • 2D Geometry. Point, straight line, plane. Magnitudes and Measurements.
Year 2
  • Rational numbers. Decimal numbers. Operations between decimal numbers.
  • Square roots. Notion and approximate calculation of the square root of a number.
  • Ratios and Proportions. Ratios. Proportions: properties. Calculation of the unknown term of a proportion.
  • Area of plane figures. Equivalence of plane figures. Calculation of the area of polygons.
Year 3
  • Sets. The notion of set. Operations between sets. Relations between sets.
  • Relative numbers. Operations in Z and Q.
  • Literal calculus. Monomials: operations with monomials. Polynomials: operations with polynomials.
  • Circumference and Circle. The length of the circumference and its parts. The area of the circle and its parts.


IT_Fractions.pdf Click here to see the Italian textbook excerpts on Fractions.

IT_Pythagoras.pdf Click here to see the Italian textbook excerpts on Pythagora's Theorem.

1 The Class Committee (Consiglio di Classe) is made by all the class teachers and by four representatives of pupils’ parents and is chaired by the School Director.

2 In particular, the School Committee (Consiglio di Istituto) made of: 6 representatives of the teaching staff, one of the administrative, technical and auxiliary staff, 6 representatives of pupils’ parents, the school director. The School Committee is chaired by one of the parents.

3 Among these, the Local School Council composed by representatives of school directors, school teaching and non teaching staff, parents, pupils, Local Bodies, organisations representing workers and employers.


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