The best way to teach kids math is not in a classroom – Quartz

By Wayne Kelsoe:

A narrowing of experience is happening in lower grades. My friend’s son was struggling with the concepts of area and perimeter, and his teacher expected each student to memorize “P = 2xL + 2xW” and “A=LxW” and take it from there. My friend took his son out to a tennis court with chalk and a tape measure. They measured the perimeter, walked around it, and marked each meter off with chalk. Then they marked off squares and counted them: how many in a row, how many rows and how many total. The lad returned to class with an indelible understanding of how to use perimeter to build a fence and area to buy carpet or paint. He didn’t need a formula because he had a physical concept….

The major task of early learning is to build a robust mind-bridge between the tangible, observable world and the symbolic world of words and numbers that we later use as a means of building more complex models.

Children are spending too much time in the classroom and not enough in the real world. Classroom learning tends to be one-dimensional compared to multi-dimensional reality. Activity-based learning through computer games may offer a partial bridge between the two.

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2 Replies to “The best way to teach kids math is not in a classroom – Quartz”

  1. I’m one of the few remaining male primary teachers (it’s now a 40:1 female to male ratio) and a former builder…I wholeheartedly agree witht the comment but I’m finishing up at the end of the year. Sorry, can’t go out to the tennis court, we haven’t documented our differentiated learning goals or created our assessment rubrics and assessment schedules. Besides, it’s far too hard to assess and mark the learning. Let’s just do the paper type learning…then we can compare the kids properly!

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