Exploring Math with Engaging Materials

Children are naturally drawn to explore beautiful materials.

When presented with such treasures, they carefully lay the items out with amazing organization.  With focus and determination their eyes look for patterns and similarities.  As I watch and listen, a mathematical story forms.  I can hear a child counting stars as he lines up the pieces.  I hear words regarding the size of objects and the dimensions.  Soon planets emerge, and spaceships circle. Before long, his ability at estimating how many he has used, or how many more may be needed becomes strikingly accurate.  One to one ratio comes easily, and within weeks it expands from basic counting into grouping the materials in twos, five, and tens. “I have six big stones, but I could use four more to finish my picture”.  The brain is imprinting the quantities, and the ideas.  The more the child explores the more he or she builds a foundations for mathematical thinking.  As I watch and listen, I learn as well.

I am excited to share more images and stories with you over the next few weeks.  From block play to studio arts, math can be found everywhere!

Teacher as Co-Researcher

Lucy Chaille

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