Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Discovering Maths

A friend of mine recommended that I read this article. What an eye opener, this guy is right! I have for sometime struggled to fit Flossy into a maths program. Each time I have tried something new, the puzzle piece has not fit quite right. I have quite a collection of curricula all of which are good, but none of which fit. She is bright and she knows and can apply a lot of maths so why doesn't she fit? It has had me stumped for a while, but now I think I know why. I have been blindly following the instructions in the curricula when ...

she delights in her own discoveries in maths! When she was much younger I provided the building blocks for these discoveries. We counted things which in turn lead to adding and taking away things and ordering things. I didn't sit down and give her formal lessons at 3 even though she could add and subtract then, we just talked about it as we were packing away or getting ready to go out or reading a book etc. "Flossy can you put 2 blocks in the bucket." "I'm going to count to 3 then I want you to put your shoes on." "Can you count how many fish on this page?" She became more and more confident using numbers and recognising them.

Bugsy has had these same exposures but I also encouraged activities like following a pattern when building a block tower and putting things in order from smallest to tallest. He has also been trying to keep up with Flossy whilst I have tried to squish her into various math programs without success so has absorbed a lot from that.

When I look at the pair of them Flossy has a wonderful understanding of maths but doesn't enjoy it (because of all that squishing I have been doing recently) and Bugsy has a love of it because everything he knows he has discovered and made connections based on his prior level of understanding.

So what to do now?

Well I have decided to stop the squishing! Good start don't you think :)

I am looking carefully at things we have done in the past, so I can document my ideas and use them again with Chicky, but also so that I can see where some things clicked for them and how I might continue making maths a world of discovery and not just something thrust upon them.

I am also reading lots of maths books. I am looking at all of the various curricula I have and seeing what resonates, picking the eyes out of it if you will. I think it is important to present concepts in different ways to maintain interest and show there is more than one way to achieve the same outcome. Playing with numbers is one of the best ways you can learn.

So stay tuned for more on our journey of discovering maths.

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