Margarida Comas Camps (1892–1972), a PhD in the life sciences with an international scientific background (England and France) and contacts with the New Education Fellowship, intensely researched primary school instruction in science in the 1920s–1930s (Delgado, 2009). One of the scholars in normal schools who envisioned a transformation of education through action on teachers’ training (Sierra Vazquez, López Esteban, 2010), the intellectual circle around the journal Revista de pedagogía (Review of pedagogy) entrusted her with presenting a modern approach to school reckoning.


For Revista de pedagogía press she published a school textbook Arithmetic (1928), while her textbook was addressed to primary school teachers, was entitled Cómo se enseña la Aritmética y la Geometría (1929, How to teach arithmetic and geometry), a choice expressing a turn on pedagogical approach aiming at introducing children to mathematics beyond numeracy.


I first discuss her sources, through the detailed bibliography, that was enlarged for the reworked edition Metodología de la aritmética y la geometría (Methodology of arithmetic and geometry), published in 1932, including German research on the history of teaching arithmetic. She took advantage of the rich available scholarship and operational proposals on developing mathematics for children, including geometry (Millán Gasca, 2015, 2023), and built a personal approach. Next, I analyze how she unfolds her approach (mathematical elementary contents and didactical insights), as well as her literary style (words, illustrations) in addressing a wide public of primary school teachers. Comas’ commitment became tightly linked to the Catalan nation movement, which supported Maria Montessori – referenced by Comas – who in 1934 would publish her twin books on “Psyco-Mathematics” in Barcelona.



Comas Camps, M. (1928). La aritmética. Madrid: Publicaciones de la Revista de Pedagogía.

Comas Camps, M. (1929). Cómo se enseña la aritmética y la geometría. Madrid: Publicaciones de la Revista de Pedagogía.

Comas Camps, M. (1932). Metodología de la aritmética y la geometría. Madrid: Publicaciones de la Revista de Pedagogía.

Delgado Martínez, M.A. (Ed.) (2009). Margalida Comas Camps (18921972) científica i pedagoga. Marratxì: Govern des Iles Balears.

Millán Gasca, A. (2015). Mathematics and children’s minds: the role of geometry in the European tradition from Pestalozzi to Laisant. Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences, 65(175), pp. 759–775.

Millán Gasca, A. (2021) Educational writing by women in the early 20th century: mathematics for children in Mary Everest Boole, Maria Montessori, Grace Chisholm Young and Margalida Comas Camps. In R. Leproni (Ed.), Women on women. Milano: Franco Angeli, pp. 141–153.

Millán Gasca, A. (2023) A hidden thread: ideas and proposals on children’s mathematics education throughout history. In É. Barbin et al. (Eds.), History and epistemology in mathematics education. Proceedings of the 9th ESU 2022. Roma: Nuova Cultura, pp. 89–115.

Schubring, G. (2015). From the few to the many: the emergence of mathematics for all. Recherches en Didactique des Mathématiques, 35(2), pp. 221–260.

Sierra Vazquez, M. & López Esteban, C. (2010). Innovaciones en la formación en matemáticas y su didáctica de los maestros en el primer tercio del siglo xx: aportación del movimiento normalista español (1923–1936), Historia de la educación, 29, pp. 179–193.

Sierra Vazquez, M. & López Esteban, C. (2011). Margarita Comas (1892–1972) y su aportación a la educación matemática. Epsilon, Revista de Educación Matemática, 28(1), 77, pp. 23–37.