‘Gifted and Interested … in.. MATH.. ‘
In this first of a series of 10 interest based pieces, in which a number of links will be shared and discussed briefly in terms of how they may be useful in keeping certain students minds open to a subject that they could easily lose interest in, if very advanced, and being mainstreamed, or alternatively, may have no interest in due to a number of reasons, or feel that they have no use for past basic computation skills useful for buying items at a local mall.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I believe it can be useful to have an unusual collection of resources that just might keep a spark or interest alive in a subject for a student, thus allowing for continued engagement, this may be by linking it to another subject that you as the students teacher/parent or mentor may suspect would be met with a positive reception. With this in mind, I recommend taking time to reflect about each student/child and write down what you have observed that they are into, or that you believe they may enjoy.. and then secondly think about how this could be linked or have relevance to the topic that is to be taught… in this instance we are talking Math. Maybe you have a child that is/is not advanced/interested in Math, but also has a strong interest in Nature/gardening. You might be starting a collection of links or other activities based around these two themes as long as they are connected. These then could be used/sprinkled throughout the year during lesson time or just spare time, to keep a student/child thinking and engaging with the subjects. Also to teach how interconnected subjects can be and why one may be necessary in real life at times, in order to fully understand and enjoy another.. and it’s intristic beauty..
To get you started, I am going to share a few items from my livebinders, in particular, and for this post the Livebinder on Math which I feel may be useful for some. The binder is, as all my binders are, not very well organised, but does contain a wealth of links. I think of it more like a treasure chest that needs to be rummaged through as one looks for meaningful bits of treasure… you never know what you will find within.
Math and Nature
A very visual way to show students how Math and our Natural World are connected would be to use videos such as this:
Another wonderful video, from How stuff works, explains the connections between the two, just beautifully, click on the link below:
It also explains geometric connections… this in turn, should one think it helpful, could also be applied to the idea that shapes, such as these are also integral to other disciplines such as Art, architecture and can come into play in many other subjects… Ask students to think how a triangle may be/relate to history?, Strategical military planning ?, Gardening?….. speaking of gardening…. take a look at the following links:
The Cosmic Garden– is a very special garden in England that is only open once a year for a limited time. It is laid out in all kinds of Mathematical pathways, shapes, structures, flower beds, bridges and forms… This would make a good field trip for anyone living nearby, or alternatively give ideas for a revamping project of a schools own garden… Could some of these ideas be adapted to suit? Would student(s) take on a challenge to build/plant a small mathematical cosmic garden at home/school grounds?
Labyrinth– or Mazes as they are more commonly known, also involve numbers and math… it may interest students to know that they are not only found in activity books or on sheets of paper… but there are many many different kinds, including living growing mazes in a number of gardens, both older historical ones, and more modern ones, in different countries in the world.. There are even some that are made out of corn fields, or Maize Mazes, and appear and disappear each year!! Could students work out how to grow one?, a mini one that perhaps a class hamster could negotiate?, Or alternatively if living in a rural farming/corn/growing community could a school or class plan and see if they could grow one over a year… A project that could yield fundraising money for the school, as students open the Maize Maze to the public a month before harvest, and could charge an entry fee….
Apart from these wonderful growing things links, there are loads of ways to explore … and a number of additional links to do so can be found by digging around a little in my math livebinder…
Math and Music?
There are connections between Math and Music… which might surprise but also spark interest in students who may have a passion for both or either..
Leibniz once said that “music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting”. – is a quote taken from this site called ‘Music of the Primes‘- that has a wealth of information and resources
The Prime number listening Guide – calls itself – ‘a noisy introduction to prime number theory…’ — it has some good interactive and noisy activities…
Where Math meets Music explores sound wave patterns, frequency and sound engineering
Harmony and proportion explores math in musical harmonies and interestingly linking back to philosophers (this could also have scope for those students who may enjoy classics… )
Feel free to explore my Math Livebinder by clicking below, for links such as these related to
Math and Art Math and Arquitecture Math and Food Math and Codes Math and Cards Math and knitting/quilts Math and cats Math and Real World Math and well, just a whole lot of things on this planet that we all share…
Happy hunting!!! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have found that the information that has been shared has been in some way helpful. Remember, this livebinder, and many others can also be accessed through the useful link tab from the top menu bar of this blog.
Which livebinder will I share and explore with folks next Monday? Well, come back again and find out in 7 days time!!
Yours in gifted
I was remembering a group of students I was working with on a writing workshop long ago.. it was a story about dragons on a different planet. Not very innovative, granted, as there are many stories out there about dragons. However, it was writers choice, so there you go. Kids like dragons. Gifted kids not excluded. The difference was, they decided that each dragon had to be part of the same story, however each dragon would have a special strength, that would help them on a quest, a strength that would be linked to their riders in some way. The idea being that this would get them to reflect on their inner selves and what they felt their strengths were, and how this would manifest in another (their dragons). (the writers were the riders.. you understand)… they would be searching the planet for a ‘lost dragon egg’.. (no novelty there either I am sure.. )… None of the students in this group in school had been identified as particularly able. The interesting thing about this story was the identification of one young lads perception of his strength and how this was displayed. Jake ( a fictitious name), was rather quiet, timid and seemed reluctant to join into the conversation, however oddly, his eyes seemed to off into another place, as the possibilities within the story idea where being discussed. A few minutes were given for the participants to draw a rough picture of their Dragons, which many did, complete with some of the various features associated with the ‘strengths and abilities’ they wished to attribute to their steeds.
We had many large and ferocious beasts, most breathed fire, had talons and special magic powers. Some were strong and athletic looking. Some were very smart, and could mind read, or outsmart enemies. Some were very colourful. We had a kind one that could heal others with it’s breath. Jake, now Jake worked on his slowly and carefully, and was one of the last to show me his sketch. I was taken aback by it’s unusual nature, as unlike the others it was not quite as big or bold or colourful. Jake’s dragon not only wore glasses (like Jake), it was drawn in black ink, and constructed from swirls and curls, graphic artish, with large and beautiful wings. More interestingly, instead of claws or talons, his dragon had pen nubs at the end of each toe on each foot.. When I asked him to tell me about this wonderfully intriguing creature, he replied ‘Well, as I am am ‘actually’ only good at writing, and I am not very strong, at sport or anything, I thought I would give my dragon the power to ‘Rewrite’. If I don’t like the way the story is going, or we need to change it than my dragons feet have the power to do that….. ‘ Wow..
I think that was a powerful gift for a dragon to have… I also think this was rather a good example of outside the box thinking from Jake. A sign of potential giftedness, maybe?? As a teacher, would I be giving this kid a second look? I like think about Jake now and then and wonder. I’d like to think he’s doing alot of rewriting and writing and that someday I may be reading and rereading his stories… ;-D