By Marci Horne. 6th Grade Math. Published at Wednesday, December 09th, 2020 - 03:47:21 AM.
Playing is a great way to learn math. I like miniature golf and billiards for learning about angles and force. Of course this may sound like Physics, Newtons Law of Relativity. And it is, but there is also no better way to learn geometry and algebra than with a practical application. What could be more practical than learning as you play? Wow, heres another real life example for learning math. I like playing games. You name it; board games, card games, strategy games. If it challenges me and tests my intellect and problem solving capabilities, I like it. Games like Nim, checkers, chess, mancala, Stratego, Battleship, Risk, etc. help develop logic sequences and strategy. Games like Uno, Skip-bo, Set, Rummikub helps children develop their ability to see patterns. Games like cribbage, gin rummy, Scrabble actually help children practice addition and multiplication.
We end with an "anxiety check." The kids tell me they feel more comfortable now and that maybe puberty class isnt so bad after all. Some even say its pretty cool. Day 2 We split the class into gender groups and meet with each separately. What happens next is always amazing to witness and its consistent. A portion of our time is spent talking about periods for the girls and erections and ejaculation for the boys. Even the kids who were obviously uncomfortable on Day 1 are interested and engaged. The kids ask great questions and eagerly listen to the answers. Once their curiosity about their own bodies is satisfied, they begin asking more specific questions about the changes that the opposite gender goes through.
So lets look at the other side. Is it possible for people to learn math in everyday life; running their business or household, doing projects, etc.? Is this possible? I believe it is and it is already happening without anyone being aware of it. My daughter professed to hate math, yet she is doing math everyday on Neopets. When I asked her about it, she said that it wasnt real math. So what kind of math was it? I think she meant that it wasnt school math. I met an airline pilot who went into great details about the calculations she did in her head in order to fly the plane. Later she professed that she hated math in school. She wasnt good at it. She wasnt even capable of balancing her own checkbook. When I pointed out that the calculation she did to fly the plane was math, she was adamant that it wasnt because she wasnt any good at math in school. She said "Its just a formula that I plug numbers into." Marilyn Burn relates a similar story about an interior decorator who could price out the cost for a complete room, but also felt that she wasnt any good at math. These are people who couldnt do school math but are doing the math that their everyday lives demand of them. They probably learned this math on the job; hence they dont relate it to school math.
Simple answer.as much as we are the same, we are different. And thats a really cool thing! If we can learn how to appreciate the differences and work with them instead of against them, we will much happier, more connected and more productive. We tie school policies into the conversation, set some expectations about limits and boundaries on behavior at school and help the kids identify their adult support systems for any questions or situations they may need help with. I sometimes get challenged by parents and teachers about covering this topic in mixed gender groups. My answer is always the same. Its important to begin healthy communication and understanding about gender differences early on in the process. Its a set up for healthy and effective communication and mutual respect over the life span. Another issue is the impact of technology on how and when kids are developing relationships today as well as the kinds of information they have available at their fingertips. This makes it even more necessary to teach skills and boundaries at this age.
The next step is a conversation about why boys/girls act the way they do, followed by lots of questions about crushes, flirting and relationships. Theres also some discussion about parents and why they seem to be so annoying, but at this point the kids are much more interested in themselves and their classmates. We have one more day together. I ask each gender separately how they would like to frame our last day together. Unanimously the kids tell me they would like to ask each other some questions to gain understanding into why boys/girls act the way they do. I give them an opportunity to write down their questions anonymously and end with an "anxiety check". Everyone is feeling pretty comfortable.
Every year students and parents alike become involved in school science projects. From the simplest projects with only the most basic materials to highly complex experiments, all projects should be considered important to the education of the students. Generally speaking, students at the second grade level are not expected to produce projects with the sophistication that might be expected at the 6th grade or 7th grade, but all project content should be original in nature. While many parents are able to provide their students with costly materials to construct their projects, other parents do not have that capability. That may seem unfair, but it should also be noted that many projects can be constructed with low cost or even free materials. Some school districts have the capability to provide students with materials for their school science projects. If that option is not available, local businesses may be encouraged to participate by providing money or materials. The central idea should be that no student be denied the option of being involved because of financial concerns.
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