A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.” And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.”
Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. Today’s standard will be listed in blue, followed by its ambient counterpart.
Measurement and Data 1.MD
Represent and interpret data.
4. Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than another.
This needs to be very informal. Excel spreadsheets, or formal charts and graphs for that matter, should not be the venue here. More like, three or four small shoeboxes perhaps painted or covered with kraft paper to hold collections, will suit the purpose nicely. Children are natural collectors, and do not need much encouragement to organize and categorize their treasures. Nature walks are the perfect occasion to gather various specimens like acorns, pine cones, stones, shells, and many more wonders. All children relish the opportunity to look closely at the minutiae of their surroundings in the natural world.
This collection could be accompanied by a small, colorful record keeping notebook. Sections could be created for each category, with the data updated as more specimens or additional categories are added. A color-coding system may be useful, using a different colored pencil for each category. Matching colored index tabs could be added for easy perusing. All junior scientists are more than happy to talk about their collections, and could be guided to be consistent in their documentation. One large page (kept separately and inserted into the notebook) could list all of the categories side by side, color coded and updated as needed.
As always, it’s movement, story, and art that win the math day! Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of that knowledge as a worthy goal.