By Marci Horne. 6th Grade Math. Published at Friday, December 04th, 2020 - 12:35:00 PM.
We had the pleasure of being in the audience, listening to the 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands perform. Our granddaughter played a clarinet duet and Im proud to say they sounded quite good. There were soloists, too, who did well. Put the entire band together, there were some missed notes, a reasonable amount of squeaks, air-and-no-notes, and shrill pitches along with missed beats. This is the first year these children have played their musical instruments, so you would expect the learning curve to still be going on. All-in-all, though, they performed much better than youd expect; you could see the determination on their faces, and they should be extremely proud of where theyve come in one year.
In the past, it was common to visit science fairs where the projects were highly predictable. While the types of experiments evolved over time, the over-all themes tended to remain relatively constant. In recent years, that has started to change. Innovative teaching coupled with easier access to computers and sophisticated materials have allowed students to develop projects that are proving to be more cutting edge than ever seen in the past. Rapid advancement in sciences are quickly transmitted to schools through the use of computers. Increasingly savvy students quickly assimilate the knowledge and use it to develop truly unique experiments.
Family was number one-Because of scarcity, we used to have plates, spoons and glasses that we kept for special guests. We children used Calabash or old utensils. At times my mother would cook and serve us with the best utensils and say we were her greatest guests. It was that way with everything she had. Conflict management-I called my mother "the silent striker." Dad would be like thunder announcing the end of the unfortunate soul or souls that crossed his line. My silent mother kept her cool no matter how threatening the situation seemed, and no matter how much someone needed to tell Dad he was wrong. But after she had a quiet talk with him, one knew by his contrite spirit he had received the message. She used the same silent striking strategy with neighbors and other women with whom she was forced to share her husband.
However, even schools with limited access to computers and other sophisticated teaching devices can provide students with educational experiences through school science projects. Electronic kits and other learning tools often allow students of all ages to improve learning through involvement in various projects. Critical thinking skills may even be enhanced in the absence of sophisticated teaching aids, as different options must be considered when purchasing of additional materials is not an option. The originality of the projects is becoming one of the most important considerations for judges at science fairs, so planning and thinking skills must be utilized for maximum learning to occur.
We play a rendition of childhood game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, where I ask the kids to tape index cards containing the changes that happen during puberty on the appropriate gender symbol. Yes, more giggly! We then move on to basic anatomy and physiology, including an overview of the brain, glands, the pituitary gland, hormones, testosterone and estrogen, followed a discussion of the sperm, the egg, menstrual periods, wet dreams and ejaculation. The giggly is over, replaced with an occasional exclamation "Ewwwww, thats gross!" These outbursts are consistently normalized by reinforcement that the body is an amazingly intelligent and complex machine; that the miracle of life is indeed a miracle; and that each child in the room is, in fact, a miracle. We take some time for questions and then move on to an introduction to the emotional changes that happen during puberty as a set up for our next class.
Ive read many books on personal finance, and a common thread that runs through many of the best ones are vigorous reassurances that it is possible to make good financial choices and even invest intelligently for retirement without doing math. It would appear that many people avoid learning basic skills to take care of their personal finances at least partially because they are afraid that personal finances require too much math for them. Architecture, medicine, personal finance... all of these are held up as practical fields that require lots of math. When teachers and parents do this, their intentions are pure. After all, what could be better than motivating students to study by connecting the subject matter with the real world? Unfortunately, we often do students a disservice by over-emphasizing the math required for certain endeavors.
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