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 post will take a deeper look at the patterns found in the times tables 1-10, as posted earlier (in #192). This activity is uniquely engaging and spurs an ongoing interest in seeing patterns, which plays such a vital role in learning the times tables. Since knowing the tables by heart is such a crucial piece for mastering higher math concepts, it’s imperative that it be fully in place by mid to end of third grade!
Just a few simple materials are needed here: 1) a black or white board with chalk or markers or a large paper pad with crayons or markers, 2) a ball of colorful rope or yarn (rainbow yarn is nice, since it shows the patterns’ progression) 3) a beanbag, 4) 10 large, blank index cards and a crayon, 5) anything round and flat to make the small circle like a paper plate, cardboard disk, etc.
To prep for this, draw 4 or 5 circles on the board or large paper at least 10-12″ in diameter using anything round as a template. Draw a large (at least 4 feet) circle on the ground or floor with a stick or chalk, by placing a pencil with a 2′ string attached in the center and tying the other end to the stick or chalk. Evenly space 10 points on all of the circles and place 10 index cards numbered 0 – 9 at each of the 10 points. Now you’re ready for the fun!
This activity is best done with 10 or more children, but can be adapted by 1 or 2 by placing river rocks (or anything round and weighty, tomato sauce cans are great!) on the 10 points, as targets for the beanbag, and markers to loop the yarn or rope around. The circle of numbers 0-9 is formed in several places: on the floor, on the board or large paper, and on the cardboard circle. The numbers stand for themselves as well as the 2nd digit, for example 0 is also 10, 20, 30 . . . 1 is also 11, 21, 31 . . . 2 is also 12, 22, 32, etc.
Have the children explore the patterns, first by throwing the beanbag then asking them to draw the pattern on the board or large paper. The patterns are then traced with the yarn or rope on the large circle, and finally drawn on paper. For ongoing practice, make a cardboard circle like the one pictured below.
Find more creative tricks and patterns like this one in the Math By Hand / Grade 3 / Kit 2, available with the Complete Package for $134, or as an Individual Kit for only $37. As always, 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 again tomorrow for more Grade 3 fun!