Help @remypoon at the Ask and Tell hub with this new question:
How can we help young students to know learning mathematics is more than just getting the answer? Click to reply.
Sheryl Morris emailed Moby:
Manipulatives don’t always help – they sometimes impede learning. How do you feel about manipulatives?
Here are some examples of known issues with manipulatives.
- Kids are driven to distraction and totally free play, away from any math whatsoever.
- The manipulative only represents one aspect of an abstract idea, but kids are forever stuck with that aspect, because the manipulative is so memorable (e.g. multiplication as repeated addition).
- Kids don’t know where the analogy in the manipulative breaks down (e.g. that points aren’t really tiny dots). No manipulative can capture a math idea completely and absolutely right.
- Often manipulatives aren’t sustainable. They take a lot of time to make, or a lot of money to buy – while a kid only spends a few minutes using them.I feel that the best use of manipulatives is for students to MAKE them!
More than 70 participants registered for the open online course on problem-solving by Julia Brodsky. The goals of the course are to help parents and teachers preserve children’s divergent thinking, and to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. The course is the last round of crowd-sourced feedback for the Creative Commons book Julia is writing.
Try an easy math craft: two paper gears that make mood-o-meter smileys, from our Facebook friends at New Gottland. The table on the right is like a multiplication table… of moods! When you need lapware (software for the kid is on your lap), try the PhotoSpiralysis nested fractal maker with your kids. My young guests and I had a lot of fun with it this Thanksgiving. Michel Paul discovered the zen of dividing zero by zero when he circled an expression on the blackboard. Loren Renee commented: “It’s a “pair of ducks” as my son used to say.” Yelena McManaman’s blog post “Fluency or complexity” sparked a discussion at our Facebook page.
Several people asked for easy ways to order Moebius Noodles: Adventurous Math for the Playground Crowd for a group of friends or a buyer coop. Now you get discounts if you order with a friend or three (2-4 copies), with your math circle (5-10 copies), or with a larger learning coop. You also save a lot on shipping. Happy holidays!
You are welcome to share the contents of this newsletter online or in print. You can also remix and tweak anything as you wish, as long as you share your creations on the same terms. Please credit MoebiusNoodles.com More formally, we distribute all Moebius Noodles content under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license: CC BY-NC-SA Talk to you again on December 15th! Moby Snoodles, aka Dr. Maria Droujkova