This article is an interesting one. As we continue to look for ways to improve math education in our school and across the country (this is a national issue), Singapore Math creeps up again and again.
We use manipulatives daily and go from concrete to visual to abstract in almost all of what we do daily. The objective for the teacher is for the student to understand the math objective for the day. You can learn so much from a child by just asking a few questions, and you can differentiate fairly easily in math. I really believe that ambiguity in math, rather than the ‘one right answer’ approach helps kids develop better thinking about our number systems.
It was nice to get to the end of the article and see that it mentions a 2nd grade class using dice and building two and three-digit numbers. We did that all of last week in a variety of ways to help the kids understand place value. But there are other ways too. Using different base systems, for example.
99 may be 9 tens and 9 ones, but it’s also only one less than a hundred, and sometimes that is really more useful. The latter is not often taught and this year, I am trying to get kids to think about numbers in many different ways. Playing with math is what makes it fun. It’s not about getting right and wrong answers – it’s about the process in how to get there.
I’m looking forward to my little experiments this year and adding more ambiguity to some of our math, so that kids become more comfortable with numbers.