This is news from participants in the open online course Problem Solving for the Young, the Very Young, and the Young at Heart.
As of this newsletter forty-two adventurous families, homeschool groups, and math circles said they will work with us to adapt our ten math problems. This July, we will peek into one another’s park meetings, classes, and conversations around the kitchen table. Here comes everybody: veterans with forty years of teaching experience and twenty-month-old toddlers; lovers of Minecraft and supporters of hands-on learning; people from Canada and Saudi Arabia; families with one kid and families with six kids; widely published researchers and beginner citizen scientists.
From the sign-up page:
I’m a long-time homeschooler, and most of my kids are now grown. I like to read (ideal vacation: an enormous library, complete with a comfy chair by the fireplace), and I like to play around with math ideas — for instance, I think Tanton’s Math Without Words is great! – Denise, letsplaymath.net
I am a special education middle school math teacher. I am a self-proclaimed technology nerd and math geek. I love finding new ways to engage my students with technology. My students that I will be working with are the kids I have for summer school. They are special ed and they are going into 6th grade in the fall. – Caryn Trautz
I am a professor of mathematics education — I design, evaluate, and theorize learning activities. I enjoy thinking about thinking. Here’s my lab page. – Dor Abrahamson
I’m a homeschooler dad whose 3 daughters aren’t as interested in math as their dad is. I like to give my kids random math verbal puzzles. The oldest one is very fast at computation, the middle one is very good with concepts. The third one is excited. – Bilal the dad
I’ve had a lifelong interest in math and math education — ranging from majoring in mathematics at University, to teaching elementary school 39 years ago, to starting a local math camp for middle schoolers as a volunteer, three years ago. I enjoy researching and putting together hands-on lesson plans for the camp. The camp website is http://www.YoungMathWizards.com. – Andy Klee
Images by course participants Rodi Steinig, Denise Gaskins, David Wees, and Andy Klee
One aspect of the course, the initial live conference, generated a lot of questions by email and at the knowledge hub. Here are some questions and answers.
Here is a video conference with Nikki Lineham, a fellow math geek:
The description of the course says, “The course participants are families, math clubs, playgroups, and other small circles casually exploring adventurous mathematics with kids of any age.” The first research data is in: one of most frequent questions we get is, “Can my teen/four-year-old/grown-up significant other/toddler participate?” Yes!
Our authors Dr. James Tanton, Dr. Maria Droujkova, and Yelena McManaman will help adapt the ten problems to all ages. Course participants will help adapt the ten problems to all ages. We will invite the kids to help adapt the ten problems to all ages. There will be a lot of adaptations! Then we will sort and organize them.
Here is a related question: can we adapt these materials for families with several kids, and for mixed-age math clubs? Can people of different ages be happy doing math together? Let us try! There are a lot of benefits to mixed-age learning. You can see a number of them in this diagram based on Free to Learn by Peter Gray.
We received several letters with similar requests:
Yes, this is now possible! People can subscribe to receive the mpsMOOC13 Observer by email to follow our adventures. It won’t be the same as participating, but subscribers will receive some highlights from the course.