Sunday, 7 April 2013

Monday, 1 April 2013


I was apprehensive as I came to the first math class today. I was wondering what I will be learning. The first activity was a pleasant surprise. It was so easy to find the answer. After counting 3 rounds, I had the answer to Dr Yeap's name. The 99th position was at letter 'N' of 'BANHAR'.  I was even able to see the pattern and explain it.





However, I felt tortured by my long name. I couldn't find the 99th position. I had to write each number until 99 and check a few times before I found the answer. Then, after finding the answer, it was another challenge to look for the pattern. It was only after the discussion that I was able to realise that there are different patterns. I had to do some subtraction of numbers to find the pattern.


This learning was later linked to Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism where children learn best in a group setting and Jerome Brunner who had said that learning begins with concrete to abstract.

Dr Yeap talked about the CPA approach which mentions that children should begin learning from exploring concrete ideas/materials and then progress to pictorial before being exposed to abstracts concepts.


Today we also talked about the different types of numbers - cardinal, ordinal, rational, nominal, odd, even, cute, perfect and prime numbers. When counting, children need to use similar things to be able to achieve their goal of counting. It is difficult for young children to perceive when the nouns are different.


I also realised that that I have been guilty of committing similar mistakes through my unawareness at times. I will have to consciously rectify this.

Tuesday 2,  2nd April 2013

When children have conceptual understanding, they are able to make connections to new ideas to what is already established in their mind. Teachers are the best persons to help them in this task.

What is big and what is small? How do you define it? Is the big circle drawn by Jane also big to Tom. What is more/less, large/small. All these are qualitative measurement. How would children be able to differentiate the terms to match the other persons perception? They need to be taught in comparison of similar items. E.g. o or o  for circle. Teachers need to plan the lesson carefully with attention paid to specifics. The teacher needs to plan the learning outcome of the lesson.

When counting, teacher will need to be able to know how the children count and arrive at their answer, through counting or subitizing. We subitize when we are familiar with a particular subject.  We can tell the total number just by looking at the dots on a dice or cookies in a jar without counting.  Children may also need a benchmark to subitize when they try it. To be able to do it correctly, children should be given similar materials/ containers to compare.

We did addition problems today. It was fun creating the different stories. Language plays an important role in creating understanding through problem sums.  Children need to have their learning scaffolded to a higher level of thinking through enrichment activities.

Wednesday 3, 3rd April 2013

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again!

How can we use this as a stimulus to teach children?
  • how high was the wall
  • what height should the egg fall before it will crack
  • counting the horses vs the men - can we classify them? how?
  • how many horses and how many men were there
Maths does not always have to have numerical beginning or deal with only numbers. Literacy approach can also be used to teach mathematics concepts and stimulate children to a higher level of thinking. In early childhood maths, topics are not listed, as such, they learn through visual literacy.

We looked at fractions in a fun and visually stimulating way. We folded paper in different ways to get equal parts.

We were able to fold into rectangles and squares. There were some who also managed to fold it into  equal triangles. it was fun trying to fold it in different ways.

This was one of the CPA approach we had been introduced to in lesson 1.

Friday, 5th April 2013

Today we looked at dots in a box and used 4 dots to form different geometrical shapes. It was interesting because we were able use differentiated ways to find a polygon, such that, there are 4 dots on the side.

As we created the polygon, we were able to create shapes that were double the size of another similar figure. We learned how to measure the polygons to get their areas. Different shapes with different angles were created. This method of doing it on paper is for older children.
(The younger pre-schoolers can be introduced to simply creating polygons using geo boards with elastic bands.)

Today we were also introduced to Gauss, a mathematician who lived from 1777 to 1855. We learned how to add numbers across, just like Sudoko, to get the sum of three numbers in both directions. This helps to develop intelligence, encourage visualisation and patterning concepts in children.

Saturday, 6th April 2013

When the same 2 digit numbers are used to do subtraction by reversing the numbers, they will give a standard figure. E.g.  98 - 89 = 9,  54-45=9, 32-23=9

Children are taught to do subtraction by renaming.

There are 3 questions that the teachers needs to ask when teaching values:
  1. What do I want the students to learn?
  2. How do I know if they have learned or not learned?
  3. What if they can already do ?
These questions can be answered by the 4 stages of teaching:
  1. model to teach by modelling good teaching
  2. scaffold
  3. provide opportunities to practice and do
  4. explain only as a last level of teaching as it requires high level process to understand
Graphing can also be introduced to students using familiar things that they can relate with. We did a graphing activity on the age groups of the students in our class.

We were able to see the number of students in each age group by just a glance. This information was then used to create graph.


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