Monday, 12 August 2013

Hands on learning in Mathematics ~

Hands on learning during mathematics activities offers students opportunity to manipulate objects and make connections with abstract ideas. It is a very powerful tool for teaching while also instilling a love of learning, in particular a love of math related activities. This assists in establishing essential cognitive pathways and enhances development for academic sucess. Students essentially construct their own mathematical understanding in authentic and meaningful ways. Using concrete materials allows students to do this purposefully and intentionally.

As a young learner myself, I consistently found math tasks threatening and disempowering. My neural pathways were blocked from tension, anxiety and worry over the learning of math concepts and nothing could bypass this blockage in my thought processes. It was only much later in life that I realised I was in fact a good problem solver and could systematically apply learning in relevant and methodical ways, eventually discovering a new found confidence and awe of the math experience. As a teacher of young children I take personal responsibility in ensuring that these early experiences are above all fun, but also sufficiently challenging and highly rewarding. My desire is that every student discover how fun mathematics can really be ... in non threatening and highly encouraging learning environments.

Here we are measuring the area of a variety of different shapes. 
Students in their formative years of learning depend heavily on concrete materials for cognitive development. When students engage in this type of learning they are building and consolidating knowledge and retaining learning of the fundamentals in a more educationally sound manner. Working together with peers helps students articulate what they are learning as they share and consolidate concepts being taught. Talking about learning helps embed new concepts in the newly forming brain path ways, building better connections and understanding for long term academic success.

'A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops' - Henry Adams

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