Math made fun
I recently attended a Teacher Trainer Course in Mathelang, conducted by Mr. P. K. Srinivasan. He said, "the transition from arithmetic to algebra is smooth; and, parallel as well. Because it takes into cognisance the pattern recognition trait in children, its appeal is instant and inviting."
We were shown how notions of even and odd numbers can be understood by kindergarten children through pairing of objects or dots and how integers and their operational rules could be learned in Stds. III to V through the game of opposites and the study of outcome patterns. The afternoon session was devoted to patterns, pattern language, pattern setting, design, design language and design setting and the use of new symbols to denote that the objective is not to perform operations but to observe the occurrence of change and give the pattern language using letter symbols.
We then helped teachers set guidelines on Mathelang to suit the needs of their classes. The teachers too found the exercise refreshingly different and interesting. We collected the activity sheets and worksheets prepared by them .
The next session was spent in review and discussion. The role of concretisation and visualisation is important and we saw the difference it makes when we were asked to handle 3D blocks and 2D strips to solve puzzles based on identities. The session was over with a self-evaluation test followed by discussions of responses. We learnt that this project, funded by the Govt. of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, was initially tried out in the early 1990s. What puzzles us is how the curriculum makers failed to notice this.
Sri Sankara Matric. H.S.S. Chennai.
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