‘Mummy, Sarah has two feet and I have two feet. Now there are four feet.’
Isn’t it wonderful how children make sense of the world?
For the last little while, Jack (3.5) has been noticing changes in a very mathematical way; ‘Now, there are four in the bed, and when Daddy gets out, then there’ll be three.’
Jack seemed to see little sums in everything. So I thought I might teach him a basic sum and see where he went with it; just + and = at this stage.
I truly believe that children learn most effectively through hands-on discovery using materials that appeal to their senses and which they can move around and manipulate with their hands. In other words, not through drill worksheets.
It’s been a while since I set up a provocation (play invitation) for a specific skill. I really enjoyed searching through my things and putting it all together. My mum recently gave me a set of stone dominoes, they would be perfect, cool to the touch, nicely weighted, bright colourful dots, yep, perfect.
I wrote some numbers on some smooth light stones, then the + and = symbols on some courser dark stones I picked up at the creek. Add some colourful cubes, a mat to define the workspace and the activity was ready.
2. He then chose the correct number stone and started to make the sum
3. Jack added the ‘+’ stone
4. He counted the dots below the line (on the domino) and represented that with coloured cubes
5. Jack chose the correct number stone and placed it next to the ‘+’ stone
6. After adding the ‘=’ stone, Jack used the tiny wooden apples to show the answer.
Each step of the way I could see him thinking, moving things around, counting, making it all come out right. Each step making sense to him as he could see it laid out before him. Again and again he did these simple sums.
‘Two plus three equals five.’
‘Four plus two equals six. There you go Mummy, I need six apples.’
He liked these little sums. I’ll see if he wants to do some more sums tomorrow.