Sunday, 29 September 2013

Last day in class

It is the last day of class for the elementary mathematics module. Though it's the last day, there were lots that I had learnt today. And all of them were like 'Oh My God!' to me. 
Firstly, division! So from the picture, you can see the long division which is done in the wrong way and it is also what I had been taught and done for many years during my school life. But today when Dr Yeap told us that it is totally wrong to do so, all of us were dumbfounded. It made us think what had happened to the education system back then. 
So apparently, this is what children do in school nowadays. And it is so much easier to understand actually. How I wish I was taught in all these when I was young then perhaps my results and interest for Math would have been higher. 
Next for our quiz, we were asked to come out with questions that lead to the equations that Dr Yeap gave us. It was really tough as the choice of words were very important as one wrong word might change the meaning of the whole question. 
Lastly, one game that we played in class called 'Salute!'. This game needs at least 3 players. It will be a game of multiplication. Get ready a set of cards without the joker, J, Q, K cards. Then one person among the 3 players will be the one to say salute. When the other players hear salute, they will have to pick a card from the stack and put in front of the forehead. So the person who said salute will have to calculate the total for both cards and tell the other two players. The other two players will have to guess the card that he/she has in front of the forehead. The number of people can be increase and instead of multiplication it can be changed to addition to make the game more challenging! 

I would like to thank  Dr Yeap for making Math a wonderful topic to study if I have met a teacher like you when I was young. But now I shall put what you had taught me into use for our younger generation and make sure they do not learn the wrong things that I did. I am definitely looking forward to the next module with Dr Yeap! :) 

Day Five: Math is all around us

Today, we were given an hour to visit the museums near our school as for our group task, we need to find an artwork which we can use to develop 3 math lessons for children. It has been a long time since I visited the museum, thus it was definitely an exciting and fufilling trip for me. We went to the National Museum of Singapore and the Peranakan Museum. There were many inspiring artwork that were put up in the museums. Besides looking for an artwork for our assignment, I also got to know the history of the Peranakans, as I have not been to the Peranakan Museum. It is definitely a worthwhile trip. 
So what math activities can you think of from this artwork? 
One of our favourite activity in class, Tangram! Not sure if I mentioned before. But I have to say that I was really bad at it. However after trying out again in class, I thought it's rather fun. As the challenge that I got from the activity really got me going as I want to figure out what are the possibilities to form a certain shape with the given number of pieces of shapes. So for this problem, we were asked to form squares instead of rectangles and we had to document down this time. This time after documenting, we had to find out the area of each square that we had drawn using the smallest square as the unit. Some squares were easier to find out but some we had to think of ways to calculate the area. Tangram is absolutely a fun activity which parents can play with their children at home. 

Day Four: Understanding

"Howden (1989) described number sense as a "good intuition about numbers and their relationships. It develops gradually as a result of exploring numbers, visualizing them in a variety of contexts, and relating them in ways that are not limited by traditional algorithms" (p.11)." Many adults might have a misconception about what number sense means. An example that Dr Yeap gave in class was if a child is told  to write the number 51 but he writes 15. Most adults might think that he is weak in his number sense. However we should not be judging from just one point of view. Give the child the ten base blocks and ask him to show what 51 is. He is able to pick out 5 ten base blocks and 1 one base block. It means that it is his conventions that is wrong, not that he is weak in his number sense.

Dr Yeap had also introduced nice music videos related to fairy tales. Do check out the youtube for more videos, as the songs are really nicely sang. So for the problem related to the three little pigs was that the three little pigs had a celebration after the wolf did not successfully blow their house down. They bought 4 pizzas home and wanted to share equally amongst themselves. 

One thing that Dr Yeap always made us do in class was to think of more than one methods to solve the problem. Instead of giving us a standard solution to the problem, he will listen to the solutions that we come up with and the whole class will discuss if the solution is workable. That is something which I think teachers should be encouraged to do in class.
Lastly, to end up today's post with one good quote from Dr Yeap! (:

Day Three: Sharing things equally

Fractions has always been a confusing subject for myself. Thus having to teach it to young children, I am not very confident in doing so. As I do not know the correct way of teaching it properly and clearly to them. However after Dr Yeap's lesson about it, I guess I have digested it much better. 
The first problem that we encountered with fractions was to share a block of chocolate equally among 4 persons. Dr Yeap gave each of us a piece of rectangle paper to represent the chocolate bar and we had to divide it equally on our own. The class came up with many interesting ways of how to share the chocolate. As Dr Yeap kept prompting us of other ways which we could divide the chocolate, it really got us to think deeper as to how we can do so. If not we will just think of one to two solutions and will think that that's enough.
Another thing that Dr Yeap had been emphasizing in class was enrichment. Enrichment classes are something very commonly seen nowadays. Many parents send their children for enrichment classes after school or on weekends. However, many might think that enrichment classes should be teaching more than what the school had taught the children. If that is so, it is not called enrichment, it should be called the acceleration class instead.  Enrichment means adding on to what the child had already learn but still having the same concept. It does not mean uh teaching the child another concept and that's enrichment. It is something that teachers and parents should reflect about. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Day Two: Whole Numbers

For this session, one quote that I got from Dr Yeap is that "When the child is not ready to learn, teach him the readiness to learn before teaching him the concepts". As if the child is not ready to learn, no matter how you try to input facts into the child, he will not be able to absorb. The learning process of the children starts from modeling from adults, teachers scaffold and lastly learning independently. 
One teaching material that Dr Yeap introduced to us was the using of ten frames which I have not seen before. There are commercial ones which parents or teachers can buy from stores. Another way one can make the ten frames is by giving the children a piece of paper with lines drawn on the paper to divide the paper into 10 spaces and counters. So problem 7 was to add 5 to 7 to 6 and the total is 18. Using of the ten frames give the children a concrete material to work with when they are solving the problem. Not to say that children will enjoy the use of concrete materials, I think I enjoyed a lot too. It gives one more in depth thinking as there are concrete materials to work around with to try out the different methods to get the solution to the problem. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Day One in Class.

Going to class thinking that it will be a module where I have to do a lot of calculations and problems sums. However after the first lesson, I think I can slowly start to enjoy the process of learning math and how I can teach them to my children in a fun and engaging way so that they will not dislike math like how I do. 

One of the activity that we did in class was Tangram. I have to admit that I was really bad at it. But after trying out again during class time, it seemed to be interesting. Initially when my group got the different shapes, we explored all kinds of ways that we could form shapes using the pieces. I think that peers really helped a lot in the process of learning as they will be the ones who could help you solve a problem together when you encounter one. Slowly, we started to challenge ourselves, forming certain shapes with limited number of pieces. The sense of accomplishment after solving the problem was really good. 

I definitely look forward to the next lesson! :) 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Look Here Parents! (:

Math can be a subject which can be either deeply loved or disliked by your child. Thus making the process of learning math fun and interesting for them is important. As technology and the society are improving, the ways and methods use to teach your child should improve as well. Learning and teaching math might be tough but use the right methods and it will be an enjoyable process for both your child and yourself.

Provide your child with an engaging environment where they can explore math concepts freely on their own. Making learning fun and interesting at home. Besides learning at school, make home a place where your child feels most comfortable learning in. Using items which they are familiar with to start off and build on the knowledge which they already have. It is also a good bonding session for the both of you.

Besides that, parents tend to overcome obstacles which their children met for them without allowing them to try solving on their own. Do not rush to give them the correct answer which they do not know how to do. Let them go through the process of solving the problem on their. It will be more effective than 'spoon-feeding' them with the right answers where they might not even know how the answer came about. The process of overcoming the problem will allow your child to think, do and finally get the ANSWER that they want on their own. Be by their side and give them guidance if necessary.


If you have any enquires on how to go about teaching math to your child, free feel to leave a comment. I will try my best to give my opinion.
Reference Van de Walle, J. A., Karp, K. S., & Bay-Williams, J. M. (2014). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally (8th ed.). USA: Pearson Education Limited.