Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lessons from the #BlueTapeLounge [TMC14 Recap #2]

TMC14 (Twitter Math Camp) was an amazing experience for me. Christopher Danielson and I collaborated on a morning session on embodied mathematics, juxtaposing familiar hand-based manipulatives with body-scale math/dance learning. You can read the Storify of our morning activities to get a sense of what we did.

In the evening, after dinner, some folks hung out in the back lobby of the hotel which included a little uncarpeted room with an ice machine and the path to the hotel pool. It's also where I decided to put down some blue tape and see what might happen.

What happened was that some of the folks from our embodied mathematics morning session taught other folks the math/dance steps they had choreographed earlier in the day. I was incredibly touched to see my math teachers/dance learners start by orienting their new dance partner to the square, showing them the many different ways they could move around that space and THEN teach the dance step.

The slide show and the videos below will give you a great idea of some of what went on, but here are the lessons I learned during those two amazing evenings.
1. You don't know what math you can learn while dancing or at body-scale until you actually do it.

2. Even experienced math teachers can have new mathematical challenges and insights at body scale.

3. It's useful and interesting to learn someone else's math/dance step, but even more interesting (and mathematical) to make up your own.

4. Dancing mathematically can lead to all sorts of new questions, but it doesn't always make for a dance that really works. This one was great, but the final version was better.

5. You can have a ton of new math questions while dancing, but sometimes you need to take the time to let your body catch up so whatever you're trying to express in the dance can look the way you want it to. 
The video below shows us still in practice mode. The final video (#6 below) shows obvious gains in fluency (practice makes permanent!)

6. When you make up your own math/dance step you start having new and very mathematical questions. Max wondered if you could make up a 4-beat pattern that would look beautiful when danced in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane.

The slideshow below is sequenced to illustrate the progression of people coming to the Blue Tape Lounge to experience and know mathematical patterns within a percussive dance system. THANK YOU to all who participated and observed these two amazing nights' worth of inquiry.


1 comment:

  1. How do we create these experiences of being a real learner - for parents and teachers? The feeling of not knowing what math you will meet in the next minute?

    I also found that new representations or the disruption of scale does it. Yet the feeling is not about scale. I am a blind person holding something that might be an elephant's tail! What is that feeling all about?


Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


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