July 2014 / Bielefeld

Mental Calculation - brilliantly simple!

First open NRW Championship in mental calculation.

As part of the Bielefeld Science Festival “GENIALE” the first open NRW Championship in mental calculation took place and inspired Young and Old. The only requirements for participation were mastering basics in math and having fun.

The workshops and the championship itself found active participation.
Students from the University of Bielefeld from the seminar of Prof. Dr. Kleine, Department of Mathematics Education, prepared the participants for two days in the premises of the Old City Hall for the competition. In various workshops they revealed tips and tricks which facilitate the calculation of complex tasks in the head of all participants.

On Friday the fifth of August 2014 finally everyone could show what they have learned in their workshops.
In the 45 minutes lasting competition the mental acrobats had to crack numerous “head nuts”: calendar arithmetic, prime factorization, Roman numerals, addition, subtraction and multiplication of multidigit numbers. The only allowed aids in the art of mental calculation were glucose, a pen for writing down the results and their brains.
On Saturday the sixth of August 2014 the 34 acrobats received their winner's certificate, prizes and medals. All participants have demonstrated that they are brilliant mental calculators. In competition, the following arithmetic talents were one step ahead:

1st Place Dr. Mike Hilbert
2nd Place Elke Kuge
3rd Place Lisa Linh Kollmann

Seniors (18 +):
1st Place Dr. Mike Hilbert
2nd Place Elke Kuge
3rd Place Tobias Kordsmeyer

Juniors (11-18):
1st Place Lisa Linh Kollmann
2nd Place Amy Zhou
3rd Place Johanna van Koningsveld

Children (7-10):
1st Place Hannah Sophie Blumör
2nd Place Lennart Pahl
3rd Place Theda Dreyer

Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to all participants!

Kirsten Biedermann from the non-profit Association of the “Ravensberger Erfinderwerkstatt”, Prof. Dr. Michael Kleine and his students from the Institute of Didactics of Mathematics from the University of Bielefeld as well as the team of the “Andreas-Mohn-Stiftung” implemented the project together.

The aim is not to let the cultural studies of mathematics fall into oblivion.
Mathematics can be taught with joy. This was proven by the workshops and an evening spent with snacks and brain teasers.
The participants had fun to learn new calculation methods and to apply those.
The age didn’t matter. Some people, frustrated by school and a fear of math, discovered a new passion and their own abilities. New friendships were developed and addresses were exchanged.
This proves that mathematics on the one hand is quite fascinating and on the other hand also offers a great social value through learning and applying in communities. It will be an aim of the “Andreas-Mohn-Stiftung” to carry on this idea in the future.

You can listen to the WDR5 radio feature broadcasted on 07/31/2014 here.

Hertz 87.9 radio feature


Project management
Eva‑Maria Mohn
July 2014
Kirsten Biedermann, Ravensberger Erfinderwerktstatt
Prof. Dr. Michael Kleine, Department of Didactics of Mathematics, University of Bielefeld