Monday, November 30, 2009

Research Uncovers Children's Creative Mathematical Thinking

This article was published in: Primary Mathematics (Mathematics Association). NOvember 2003. Vol. 7. Issue 3. pp. 21-25

Summary: The opening of the article addressed young children's fluidity or aptitude to learn at a very early age. This includes the ability to learn their native language, and additional languages used in their households. This extends to developing an understanding of using "graphical and symbolic languages such as drawing, writing and written mathematics." Though the use of formal abstract symbols generally is meaningless to young children, they are often able to use and develop their own parallel informal symbols that they can use to represent and describe their understanding of problem solving scenarios involving numbers. Several examples of young students, ages 4 to 5 years, were used to show the development of the foundations for representing numbers. The closing paragraphs addressed the notion of creativity in mathematics and the importance of fostering a classroom climate that encourages students to "innovate, to take risks and tackle problem in their own ways."

Classroom Strategies: Reading this reiterated the importance of having my 7th grade students represent their problem solving processes and findings multiple ways. Students should be able to transition between using words, diagrams, physical models, tables, equations, and graphs when appropriate. Most students seem to gravitate to one or two different ways of representation. Working collaboratively in pairs and small groups exposes each student to another's problem solving approach. Sharing out with the entire class validates and honors the notion that there is not just one way to problem solve. Taking the time to examine the work of others provides the opportunity for students to tweak and strenghen their own understanding of how to refine their own representation skills.

Classroom Strategy:

No comments:

Post a Comment