In 1908 a pioneering school reform took place in Prussia in which the girls’ school system was reorganized. They were then allowed to learn mathematics and to take the Abitur exam in the newly established Studienanstalten (Zentralblatt 1908, Strub 2008). Previously, the focus was on numeracy. This presentation focuses on the introduction of mathematical education in the upper grades of the ten-grade Höhere Mädchenschule. Therefore, contemporary approaches to the didactical and methodical design of mathematics lessons will be identified und concretized by analysis of newly published textbooks for girls at that time. Articles on teaching mathematics in Höheren Mädchenschulen (Frauenbildung journal) are also taken into account. The new Prussian math curriculum for this type of school contained comparable topics as these for boys’ secondary schools, but emphasized suitable methods for girls focusing on arousing interest and understanding mathematics (Strub 2008, Krüger 2024a). It will be shown that central ideas of the influential Meraner Reform of mathematics education for boys and of the pedagogical reform movement (Arbeitsunterricht) were incorporated into the new official Prussian curricula for Höhere Mädchenschulen much earlier than for boys’ secondary schools. Especially education in functional thinking was implemented in teaching arithmetic, algebra and geometry (Schubring 2007, Krüger 2018, Zaitsev 2023). At the beginning of the 20th century, important didactical basics and principles were developed further by experienced and engaged male and female teachers in girl’s mathematics education. These are accepted nowadays in mathematics didactics in Germany (Krüger 2024b).



Krüger, K. (2018). Functional thinking: The history of a didactical principle. In: H.G. Weigand, W. McCallum, M. Menghini, M. Neubrand & G. Schubring (Eds.), The Legacy of Felix Klein. Springer, ICME 13 Monographs.

Krüger, K. (2024a). Mathematikunterricht für Mädchen zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts – ein Blick auf die elementare Algebra. Erscheint in: Der Mathematikunterricht, vol. 3.

Krüger, K. (2024b). Aufbruch in die mathematische Bildung für Mädchen zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Erscheint in: Beiträge zum Mathematikunterricht.

Schubring, G. (2007). Der Aufbruch zum “funktionalen Denken”: Geschichte des Mathematikunterrichts im Kaiserreich. NTM International Journal of History & Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology & Medicine, 15, pp. 1–17.

Strub, M. (2008). Das nachsichtslose Einprägenwollen hilft zu nichts. Vom Rechnen zur Mathematik in der höheren Mädchenbildung im 19. Und frühen 20. Jahrhundert. Dissertation. https://media.suub.uni-bremen.de/handle/elib/2707

Zaitsev, B. (2023). Eine Analyse von Schulbüchern zur elementaren Algebra für höhere Mädchenschulen in Preußen zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Staatsexamensarbeit TU Darmstadt, unpublished.

Zentralblatt für die gesamte Unterrichtsverwaltung in Preußen, Berlin 1859–1934. Weidmannsche Buchhandlung. https://scripta.bbf.dipf.de/viewer/toc/985843438/1/LOG_0000/