# Grade 3 Fun Before Plunging Into Fractions! (#200)

A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 200

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 features string stars and how to make them.

The 6, 8, and 12-point stars shown below are an offshoot of form drawing, since all of these forms will have been drawn by now.  It’s a very different experience however, to construct the forms with string.  More hands-on, and that’s always good!  It can also be a prelude to the much more complex string forms created in Grade 6 when formal geometry is introduced, like this amazing masterpiece:

The stars shown below can be constructed with rainbow string (available at most craft stores) and map pins or push pins.

All of these patterns begin with a circle drawn in yellow.

The best base for this project is white foamcore, which can be obtained in scrap pieces for free (or inexpensively) at most craft or frame stores

Here’s how:

1) Draw the circle with a yellow crayon, by exploring many circles lightly until the perfect one is found, darkening it in the process.

2) Distribute the pins evenly on the circle for the 6, 8, or 12 pointed star.

3) Begin the pattern by tying the string to the top pin and tracing triangles for the 6 and 12 pointed stars or squares for the 8 pointed star.

4) After completing each triangle or square, bring the string to the next point by following the circle, winding the string around the pins as it goes.

5) When the triangles or squares are finished, continue winding the string around the circle till the top is reached. Tie it off.

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 3 math CCSS and their ambient counterparts.