Grade 4: Math & Trickster Tales (#286)


A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 286

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.

Stories and art provide an excellent framework for your math lessons, along with movement, music, and recitation, frills that budget cuts have eliminated from most classrooms.   The ability to add these essentials as an integral part of your school day is one advantage among many to homeschooling.  In Grade 4, trickster tales can add fun, enthusiasm, and success to math, every day!

The Math By Hand trickster tales include several about Ijapa the Tortoise, the rascally African trickster.  In one tale, he stole many yams from a farmer and then tricked his way out of the crime.  The 1089 trick fits nicely with the story and is an excellent way to encourage skills practice.  Your fourth grader loves tricks, codes, and patterns, so do include them with your math lessons.

Here’s the 1089 trick: take any 3-digit number, reverse and subtract it, then reverse the answer and add it.  The answer will always be 1089!  Portions of the story could be written in the indicated spaces, along with several examples of the trick.  Then the trick could be extended to skills practice.


The Tlingit tale, Raven and How the Tides Began, tells how Raven tricked the Old Woman of the Sea into moving the tide line so his hungry people could gather food when the tide was out.  The tide line and the number line can be happily partnered.  The story could be summarized as indicated and the number line drawn in the sand, along with the shells, and then extended to skills practice.




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 as we launch into Grade 4 Common Core Language Arts standards and their ambient counterparts.

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