The Value of Age Mixing
Doing math with your children’s friends or a small math circle? Chances are your students are of mixed ages and levels. How can you have good dynamics?
- Don’t focus on activities that are likely to invite competition, such as problem-solving. Use open, collaborative activities: hands-on maker activities, scavenger hunts for math, games, or puzzles.
- Invite parents or adult helpers to be students too, to participate, and to do activities for themselves. Now the oldest child you have is not the oldest group member anymore – the adults are! Guide adults to share their discoveries with one another, rather than overwhelming the children, unless the kids ask.
- Try Notice-Wonder activities: show a fractal, a math sculpture, a mandala, or any curious object to the group, and invite everyone to ask questions. Younger children ask weird and wonderful questions. Adults and older children can research the wonder.
- Have tables children can choose, as if you are doing a mini-festival. Check out examples from Julia Robinson math fest, Reggio Emilia provocations, or Montessori centers.