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EDU 111 - Teaching Math & Science to Young Children - Textbook

Chapter 9: Teaching Math Content

9.1: Myths of Early Math

9.1: Myths of Early Math

"Myths of Early Math" in Education Sciences by Douglas H. Clements and Julie Sarama is licensed under CC BY 4.0.


“My daughter just does not understand math. I told her, ‘Don’t worry, honey. I was never good at math either.”
“I know,” replied her friend. “Some people are math people, and some aren’t.”
 
Myths about math abound. You probably recognized two in the above conversation: first, that only a small number of “talented” people can succeed in mathematics, and second, subtle but equally as dangerous, the assumption that women do not usually succeed in mathematics. Many other myths exist, such as, “Math is one subject where there’s always one right answer and one way to get that answer.” Beliefs such as these have a grain of truth in them, but as a whole, are not true (see others’ examples in the Appendix). Despite this lack of truth, myths persist, and many harm children. Let us look at some of the most important beliefs that negatively affect young children and separate the fact (if there is a grain of truth) from the myth for each.
 
  • “Early Math Is Just Counting.”

  • “Children Need to Master Skills and Knowledge Before They Can Solve Problems.”

  • “Young Children Must Sit Down and Learn Math. Sometimes You Just Have to Do Worksheets.”

  • “Time Spent on Math Is Time Taken Away from Play.”

  • “Time Spent on Math is Time Taken Away from Literacy and Social-Emotional Experiences.”

  • “Math Centers Are All You Need.”

  • “The Best Way to Teach Math is through “Teachable Moments.”

  • “Young Children Always Need to Do Mathematics Concretely.”

 

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9.2: Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching

9.2: Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching

"Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching" by Dan Finkel is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.


"Mathematics is not about following rules, it's about playing—and exploring, fighting, looking for clues, and sometimes even breaking things, according to Dan Finkel. In this playful, inspiring talk, the founder of Math for Love offers teachers and parents alike a five-step guide to sharing the beauty and playfulness of mathematical thinking with children."

9.3: Should Kindergartners Do Tougher Math?

9.3: Should Kindergartners Do Tougher Math?

"Should Kindergartners Do Tougher Math?" by Remake Learning is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


Researchers have found that kindergarten is more academic than it used to be. Today’s kindergarteners spend about 25 percent more time on early literacy than they did in the 1990s, often at the expense of time for play and for subjects like art, music, and social studies.

At the same time, further research has indicated that kindergarten math is too easy. Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that teachers spent 13 days a month teaching concepts that 95 percent of students had already mastered, like counting and shape recognition. Spending more time on such easier concepts was associated with lower math scores at the end of the year. But teaching more advanced concepts like addition and subtraction benefited everyone, even kids who entered kindergarten with the lowest skill levels.

So does kindergarten math need to be harder? Or more relaxed, to allow more time for socioemotional development? Experts say neither. 

 

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9.4: Remaking Math Education for Young Children

9.4: Remaking Math Education for Young Children

"Remaking Math Education for Young Children" by Remake Learning is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Making math and science concepts “click” with students is now more important than ever. The National Math + Science Initiative has found that only 45 percent of 2011 US high school graduates were ready for college-level math and only 30 percent were prepared in science. And experts say these skills are going to be even more crucial in the jobs of the future, where the ability to understand sophisticated concepts and innovate will be prized skills.

So today’s educators are finding new ways to help students forge these integral math connections at an earlier age.

 

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9.5: Back to Basics: Mathematical Play

9.5: Back to Basics: Mathematical Play

"Back to Basics: Mathematical Play" and associated resources by Lindsey Herlehy. Copyright © 2018 Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. All rights reserved. Used with permission from IMSA.


Our youngest students are curious and creative with the skills and practices needed to be successful mathematicians. Engaging in play, students naturally take risks and pursue their own questions. Research shows this practice is beneficial for all students, regardless of grade level. So, let’s play!

 

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9.6: Moving from Counting to Cardinality

9.6: Moving from Counting to Cardinality

"Be the Teacher: Moving from Counting to Cardinality" by Graham Fletcher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



Cardinality…what is it and what does it look like?

If you’re not a kindergarten teacher you might be left shrugging your shoulders if someone asked you to define cardinality. Before students can own the idea of cardinality, they need to have an understanding of one-to-one counting.

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9.8: Can Young Children Learn Math Through the Arts?

9.8: Can Young Children Learn Math Through the Arts?

"Young Children Can Learn Math through the Arts?" by Angel C. De Dios is licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0


The music and arts are ways by which we express ourselves. It starts as early as finger painting or working on a coloring book. While a child begins to master a language, he or she likewise explores other means. In these early works of art, a child begins to create, think and communicate. Children even begin to work with each other at an early age. STEM is also about creating, thinking, communicating and collaborating. These are skills that are likewise necessary to do well in math and science. Thus, early childhood education is really a continuum not just through the years, but across disciplines or subjects.

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9.9: STEM Storytelling: Using Picture Books to Integrate Mathematics

9.9: STEM Storytelling: Using Picture Books to Integrate Mathematics

These materials are designed for use in kindergarten through second grade classrooms. Each resource includes activities, standards alignments, inquiry approaches, and assessment approaches.


9.9.1: ​STEM Storytelling: Using Picture Books to Integrate Mathematics - Dare to Tinker

"STEM Storytelling: Using Picture Books to Integrate Mathematics - 'Who Lives Here?' " and associated resources by Lindsey Herlehy and Karen Togliatti, Copyright © 2018 Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. All rights reserved. Used with permission from IMSA.


Dare to Tinker is supported by the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. "This series of activities invites students to engage in a design challenge that elicits mathematical and scientific thinking.


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9.9.2: ​STEM Storytelling: Using Picture Books to Integrate Mathematics - Dare to Tinker

"STEM Storytelling: Using Picture Books to Integrate Mathematics - 'Dare to Tinker' " and associated resources by Lindsey Herlehy and Karen Togliatti, Copyright © 2018 Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. All rights reserved. Used with permission from IMSA.


Dare to Tinker is supported by the book The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. "This series of activities invites students to engage in a design challenge that elicits mathematical and scientific thinking.


Continue reading the full PDF and associated teaching resources:

9.10: Comparing Tablets and PCs in teaching Mathematics

9.10: Comparing Tablets and PCs in teaching Mathematics - An attempt to improve Mathematics Competence in Early Childhood Education

"Comparing Tablets and PCs in teaching Mathematics - An attempt to improve Mathematics Competence in Early Childhood Education" by Stamatis Papadakis, Michail Kalogiannakis, and Nicholas Zaranis is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


The present study investigates and compares the influence of using computers and tablets, in the development of mathematical competence in early childhood education. For the implementation of the survey, we conducted a 14 weeks intervention, which included one experimental and one control group. Children in both groups were taught Mathematics according to Greek curriculum for early childhood education in conjunction with the use either of the same educational software, which depending on the group, were running on computers or on tablets. In order to evaluate the mathematical performance of children we used the Test of Early Mathematics Ability (TEMA-3). The sample consisted of 256 children in Greece. The results showed that, teaching with tablets comparatively to teaching with computers has contributed significantly to the development of children’s mathematical ability to a greater extent. Moreover, factors such as gender and age did not seem to differentiate the development of mathematical competence of children.


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9.11: Using Mobile Devices for Teaching Realistic Mathematics in Kindergarten Education

9.11: Using Mobile Devices for Teaching Realistic Mathematics in Kindergarten Education

"Using Mobile Devices for Teaching Realistic Mathematics in Kindergarten Education" in Creative Education by Nicholas Zaranis, Michail Kalogiannakis, Stamatios Papadakis, is licensed under CC BY 4.0.


New ICT tools allow children to take advantage of new learning platforms as well aiding them effectively in attaining new knowledge through activities related to their immediate interests and real life scenarios. Nowadays, computers and digital applications are a part of the daily life of children. In kindergarten education, properly designed digital educational activities can become a very powerful educational tool for efficient and effective learning. The utilization of interactive activities may contribute towards the growth of learning incentives as well as proper mental development in particular areas; such as mathematics and science. Mobile devices have new attractive features and provide considerable advantages in the teaching of mathematics in kindergarten education. Our study proposes the integration of mobile devices, running our own specially designed learning activity applications, in kindergarten classrooms. These applications are based on the three levels of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) targeting fundamental mathematical concepts for the kindergarten level. We intend to gather information on effectiveness of the incorporation of these devices and applications as leaning tools for kindergarteners.

 

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9.12: Four Ways to Make Math More Relevant

9.12: Four Ways to Make Math More Relevant

"Four Ways to Make Math More Relevant" for The Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education by Katy Farber is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


Banish the stigma: you are not bad at math. Math is bad at you.

 

We can move math beyond worksheets and imaginary word problems. Let’s quit making math about sharing made-up apples, fishes or shoes.

Let’s tie math to the real world: real problems for students to solve, what’s going on around them, and how students learn. If you’re trying to save the world, you’re not gonna let a little math get in the way, are you?

Here are 4 ways to make math more relevant for students and for teachers.

If you think about it, math is a foreign language for everyone the world over. No matter what language or which alphabet you use to communicate, you have to switch over to a different set of symbols when it’s math time. Combine that with musty textbooks, incomprehensible graphs and basically any classroom from 1956-1998 inclusive and many people either struggle with math or are averse to it.
 

So how do you encourage a math-happy mindset?
 

Jo Boaler and her students at Stanford University have created have created a free online course for students aimed at creating a positive math mindset. YouCubed combines videos, quizzes and lessons all aimed at making math feel friendlier.

Youcubed is a great place to start shifting your math instruction and plans. Dip a toe in: do a week of Inspirational Math with your students.  The problems are accessible, but also allow room for deep exploration and challenge. This is a resource that can be used all year long.

Right! Now that we’re all in a good place with this math business, let’s look at four ways we can stay there.

 

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