Posted on October 13, 2017
When you think of "math," what topics and skills come to mind?
Numbers? Adding? Shapes? Ordering? Patterns? Counting?
Of course, math is all of those things, but it's also so much more. You may recall in my September 2 blog a response by one of the children when asked, "How do you know what we were doing was math?" Her response..."because we had to think." In truth, we have to think when we are engaged in any activity or experience - be it reading, writing, math, inquiry, baseball, ballet, Chapel - IF we are to learn anything that is presented and/or experienced.
This illustrates the point of this blog. What we once believed to be discrete disciplines are really intertwined in our learning experiences, making those experiences much more meaningful and long-lasting.
Math and Reading
One of the early skills learned in math is counting. In order to count correctly, you must have one-to-one correspondence, the understanding that 1 represents one object, 2 represents two objects, and so on. When counting, the children demonstrate one-to-one correspondence in different ways.
Counting as each object is removed from the container
Lining up all the objects and then touching each one while counting
Then the children use one-to-one correspondence to double-check their work.
How does this translate to reading? Just as the children identify each object with a number as they count, they also identify each letter with a sound (or sounds) and later, each word with a specific meaning. You might also notice that they point to the letters/words, just as they do to objects when counting.
Math and Writing
When the children count objects, they represent the amount by writing a number. They also draw simple symbols to show the same amount, each symbol representing each object. By doing this, they demonstrate that each mark on the page represents one object.
Each symbol represents an object that was counted.
Writing begins with symbolic drawings. Before the children begin to form letters, they make marks on a page to represent words and meanings; each mark on the page represents one word.
Here, two letters (a child's initials) represent the child and are placed on the chart to answer the question posed.
Reading again comes into play, as the children "read" the chart to gather the following information:
- There are more girls than boys. (We later counted the post-its and knew that there are 10 girls and 8 boys.)
- EK is a girl, and CY is a boy. (We would know this even if we didn't know who EK and CY were.)
In addition, an important aspect of math is order and organization. The children find that when the objects they are counting are organized that they are able to count more accurately.
The children organized the post-its into rows for more accurate, and efficient, counting. We later talked about how the amounts in each row would not change the total amount (conservation of number).
Math and Inquiry
In order to find patterns in math, the children must be good observers and must be able to describe what they are noticing.
Sorting Attribute Blocks by color
Sorting Attribute Blocks by shape
Sorting buttons by the number of holes
Sorting buttons by color
They must also be able to see that everything has a multitude of attributes, and that any one thing cannot be identified solely by a single attribute.
Finding shapes that are red AND thick
Similarly in inquiry, as you've been reading in the last two blog entries, the children are observing their environment more closely. They are being asked to describe what they observe through different perspectives and lenses, such as sight, sound, and smell, and bug vs. human.
In your day-to-day, try to identify the different kinds of learning experiences you and your child are having. How are they connected? How does one lend itself to another? Share what you discover with us!
** New Family Learning Activities are posted, but please feel free to go back to previously posted activities. These optional activities are provided 1) to inform families of classroom learning, 2) as an opportunity for students to reinforce learned concepts, and 3) as a means for families to share in their child's learning. As the children complete these activities, they may bring them in to the classroom at any time to share with the class. There is no due date, so families may complete the activities as they are able. **
Thursday, 10/19 - monthly assembly, free dress day
- visit to Mānoa Senior Care
Monday, 10/23 - 8th grade puppet show
Friday, 10/27 - UNICEF sale (more information to come)
Monday, 10/30 - Pumpkin activities with Middle School math class (Thank you to AS, DL, JY, and RY's families for donating pumpkins to this activity! Please send them in ONLY ON Friday, 10/27 or Monday morning, 10/30 is best.)
Tuesday, 10/31 - Halloween Activities, 9:30-11:00 (Thank you to DL's parents, GV's parents, and SY's mom for volunteering to help with the activities! Please come to the classroom by 9:15.)
- Spooktivity, 12:45-2:00