Sunday, February 26, 2012
Moving Forward: The New 'Making Math' Page!
I am a teaching artist who finds connections between math and percussive dance. I give kids the tools to explore space and time. I give their teachers the tools to bring body-based inquiry into their own classrooms. I started this blog to share my thoughts and ideas on creative (as in creating something), hands-on, hopefully kinesthetic learning, wherever it may happen.
This blog also documents my inquiry into what it means to 'do' math. I've been lucky enough to connect with a bunch of really smart people in the math ed world who have helped me toward my goal. When I first started the blog I had a hunch that there was more math embedded into the dance work we do in my program Math in Your Feet. I wanted to figure out what it was and how to explain it.
Sixteen months in, I finally feel like I've made some real progress! You can read about my big aha! moment about attributes here. You can also read about the moment when I uncovered an important connection between my art form and making meaning in mathematics, both of which incoporate moving patterns. It's probably my all-time favorite post. So far.
There is no way of anticipating how far I will go on this journey but recently I've begun to feel like I'm reaching another bend in the river. I am more fascinated than ever with what it means to think mathematically and how that skill is developed, especially in preschool and elementary age children. And, I'm a mom of a snappy six year old who accuses me of being a 'math mommy!' because, well, I am. I find inspiration in her learning, and within that process I find some of the answers I've been searching for.
In the last two months I've noticed a trend in my post topics. Nearly all of them outline some kind of hands-on project that has helped me, or my kid, or both of us, deepen our understanding of math. Not all of these activities are original, but every 'making math' post is a snapshot of our inquiry. Some of these activities were born out of some inspiration or question, but they are all easy to reproduce on your own and deliciously open ended (no wrong answers!). I've decided to put them in their own section in the hopes you might find them useful in expanding or deepening your own understanding of math. I plan to add to this collection over time.
I invite you to take a look at the new Making Math page and see if there's something you'd like to do with your students or kids. Most, if not all, of these projects can be easily done in some way by the youngers (usually with adult support) but also fully enjoyed by the olders, both in school and out. As Maria Droujkova of Natural Math and Moebius Noodles says: "'Make your own' is such a simple and powerful way to open mathematical depth. Like a game? Make your own!"