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.
Both the Waldorf and Math By Hand curriculums begin form drawing at the very beginning, by focusing on it in the first Grade 1 main lesson block. Each week thereafter begins with a Monday form drawing main lesson. Form drawing is primarily just that: formative, so its beneficial qualities and effects translate to all other subjects and lessons. Here are excerpts from the Math By Hand Form Drawing book.
Mirrored or symmetrical forms continue in Grade 3. The midline, beyond being merely a separator between the forms, is now crossed. New intricacy appears in the sequential forms, as well as in the now more challenging transformational ones. Freehand geometry continues, with a greater complexity and accuracy. A decorative element promotes an artistic and motivating creativity. You’ll want to frame and/or display many of these beautiful drawings!
In Grade 4, fraction forms combine math and form, though you’ll find that math is often a component of form drawing, as the forms do lend themselves naturally to a mathematical function. Much more complex forms are introduced, and weaving is combined with both the new and the more familiar forms. Weaving is challenging and rewarding, while helping with concentration and manual dexterity. New design elements are added, reflecting ancient folk cultures like the Norse and Celtic. And freehand geometry continues to develop, building toward formal geometry.
Take your time with the whole process of form drawing, as it’s an investment in so many aspects of learning: concentration, discipline, experiences with story telling and art, mastering challenging tasks, and seeing, applying, and creating basic forms. The rewards are many, not least of which is the message that each of us can be creative, using just our own inner resources.
Save the form drawings in a simple folder like the one shown below. Fold a piece of poster board in half (score the fold first with a ruler and pencil or ballpoint pen). Punch holes in the top as shown, then tie it closed with yarn. Collect all of the form drawings, as real works of art!
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Grade 4 ambient math alternatives to the CC.