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 blog will focus on Kindergarten Standard 1, in Measurement and Data. Note that the Common Core Standards will appear in blue, followed by an ambient translation.
Measurement and Data K.MD
Describe and compare measurable attributes.
1. Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
For the first segment of this activity, gather a variety of small objects from around the house (the more familiar, the better). Choose objects that are the most varied in texture, weight, etc. Play a simple game of catch with the objects, one at a time, so their differences become apparent. The experience itself will sufficiently reveal the measurable attributes, without need for discussion.
As a prelude to the second segment of this activity, tell the story Stone Soup, which can be found online or at your local library. The story is basically about an itinerant traveler who stops for dinner at a house in a village he is passing through. He persuades the reluctant lady of the house to cook him a wonderful soup that starts with one simple ingredient: a stone.
Tell the story and have the child(ren) retell it the next day. (You’ll be amazed at how much of the story’s details they will remember!) After the story is retold, have the child(ren) explore the properties of the stone. It could be smooth or rough, but will also be heavy and probably cold (texture, weight, and temperature). Then have the child(ren) help to prepare a delicious stone soup for lunch!
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. More Kindergarten tomorrow!