NO! We want to build from and reward their natural curiousity. Games and exploration are the key pillars. At this stage, our thinking is:
- number sense is primary
- guided games and exploration
- communication builds deeper understanding
Numbers are all around. Children can be encouraged to attend to the occurrence and use of mathematical concepts. By estimating, measuring and comparing, they build an intuition which leads to comfort. For examples:
- how many marbles in a jar (numbers of objects and volume)
- how tall is their friend (length)
- how long does it take to drive to school (time)
- how much mass does this mango have (mass)
- etc (area, volume, temperature, cost,angle measures, Fermi questions)
For a really intriguing story about the results of one school district using this approach, see:
Take them to interesting places and let them explore. If it necessary, use leading questions to help but this is still best if our attitude is that we are also exploring. This is like a scuba or ski guide (and not a "tell" instructor).
Encourage the kids to communicate what they are doing, what they think about it, why they think it works, etc. They can and should use words, pictures, diagrams, physical objects, and equations. Maybe even musical rhythms and tones?
As we kick-off our plan to add some fun math and reading activities, these are some of the resources from which we are drawing ideas and inspiration:
- nrich.maths.org: a lot of fun games and exploratory activities meant to be "low threshold and high ceiling"
- RightStart Mathematics books (aka Abacus Math)
- US Common Core Standards. We are using this for curriculum benchmarks in both math and language arts. This link has an example for grade 2 math.
- Mathematics Mastery: http://www.mathematicsmastery.org/
- Khan academy
We have a bigger list that will be useful once we get the rhythm established. *UPDATE* Here is a bigger list of resources we like.
Plan for tomorrow