Feeling numbers

We always have feelings about something. Easy to say when I’m referring to it emotionally.

But what about having feelings for numbers?

We are talking about having number sense here. A good intuition about numbers. And how exactly do we define having a good intuition about numbers? (Howden, 1989)

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– Understanding the size of numbers

– thinking of different ways to represent numbers

– using numbers as referents

– Develop acute perceptions about the effects of operations and numbers.

In my opinion, ultimately, it really depends on the exposure the child has to mathematics. To possess number sense, the child would have to experience different forms of mathematics.

According to Bruner’s theory on Enactive representation, children should be provided with opportunities to “act out” these concepts and of course this is referring to the concrete part of CPA.

These would allow children more exposure, thus nurturing the number sense.

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The right start to Math.

This evening, I learnt that I have been taught Math in MY early days, in ways we wouldn’t do to our children today.

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At first I felt cheated. I felt that I could have embraced math a lot more in the past as compared to my feelings for math right now. Finding out that the methods taught to me when I was in Primary school were not appropriate for me at that point was really disappointing. Moving forward, I guess the good thing would be that Now I know I will not repeated the same mistakes made.

My take home today was the point made about ENRICHMENT. (The discussion after the quiz)

It really emphasized on Jerome Bruner’s point on providing children with CONCRETE experiences, followed by, PICTORIAL experiences and of course at the very end, introducing the ABSTRACT experiences.

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I do agree very much that these 3 representations ARE of utmost importance. The guide the children systematically in their learning and at their pace. To either scaffold or to challenge.

I guess right now, no point dwelling in the past but to move forward and to provide a right start to Mathematics for the young ones in our care.

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You’ll need it for college!

You'll need it for college!

Ahhh… well, not only college. I guess it really helps the rest of our lives.

Sorry, I don’t speak Math language.

Felt just like a foreigner in class.

Not because I don’t know anyone, but the language was… not exactly one that I speak.

I never knew that in mathematics, there are so much that sounds exactly like English. Only thing that went through my mind was “SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT”. The English terms used were the same,

NOUNS

CONVENTIONS

SEMANTICS

It’s like I’m so familiar with it all because it is used in the English language, but again, different because it is used in Mathematics!

I never knew I had to count nouns out loud. Yes. COUNT NOUNS. So today, while walking my daughter up the steps, I went “1 step, 2 steps, 3 steps” being something new from the usual, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” she gave me the most bazaar stare ever.

I guess like what prof said, MODELLING is important. I’m sure the little one would get it.

Now I find myself counting everything with the noun.

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A Sage’s Journey: The Story of Tangrams

Curious about Tangrams. Found this video. Thought I’d share it.

Reliving the Math-ness.

Never thought i would have to deal with this in a million years! But then again, who am I kidding, I’ll probably look back at this when I have to be the one guiding my daughter and thank God that I once in my life I went through this module.

My Impression of MATHEMATICS before start of class

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Surprisingly, it was an enlightening night of mind boggling math problems and the thrill of hearing group after group squeal when they scream ‘GOT IT!’.

But most importantly my take home points:

A) Mathematics was NEVER about memorization.

Really? oh mann, that was how I probably scored in mathematics ever. Spent most of my PSLE and O’Level days doing that.

B) Sharing helps us cultivate a habit of mind: to become critical thinkers, have new insights to what we might not have thought of before, and to go beyond what we already know.

Never thought about sharing in this way. It was always just talking about what I thought. Really gave an insight to how we should also listen to ourselves and to be critical towards our own thinking.

C) and of course, the THEORIES.

My fav would be Zoltan Dienes, to understand that it all begins with PLAY! I guess I learn best through hands-on and play is the best way to go about it with children. With that said, the rest of the theories are of course, all important.

Well. Math is definitely not my cup of tea. But who knows, I may relive the madness that I’ve tossed out the window years ago and give it another shot.

My impression of Mathematics AFTER class

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Truly awe-inspiring.

Let’s count together.

We always aim to teach children to figure out using money, line up in twos or form groups of fives, think logically when there is an issue and to work out their problems on their own. We term it as independence, but really, isn’t it simply Mathematics? 

Children come in contact with mathematics all the time. Like when mummy says, “Five more minutes and off to bed!” or as simple as having a game of hide and seek, counting up to twenty. It is so evident that mathematics is intertwined in our lives and as much as one may dislike it, we really can’t live our lives without it.

Before we jump into teaching children mathematics, we have to take a step back and understand how exactly children LEARN mathematics. There are of course two commonly used theories and that is the,

Constructivism theory

Where new knowledge is constructed upon prior knowledge. In simple terms, just like building a tower with blocks, starting with the foundation.

Sociocultural theory

Where peers and more knowledgeable people play an important role in supporting the learner to reach and access a range of knowledge, which may not have been possible on his own. Also know as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).

Besides theories, most importantly, learning and teaching mathematics comes together hand in hand and what better place to start is at home or in the classroom. As in one of The Six Principles of Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, The Teaching Principle helps us to understand the important role the teacher plays in the classroom. Plenty of what the students learn in mathematics depends a lot on the experiences that the teacher provides in her classroom or better, if parents can carry on the experiences at home.

Here’s to learning together and counting together.