Monday, 21 January 2019

miniMATHS - Maths in Nature Inquiries

The Background

In 2018, my good friend Sam Hardwicke told me about the ACT Government Nature Play grants and suggested I should have a look at putting something in. I submitted an application on behalf of the Canberra Maths Association. We proposed to:

- write 10 inquiries/tasks/lessons/resources to be used outside in the natural environment
- run 10 workshops with preschools to share these resources

We were successful in our application and got the grant. A group of about 10 interested teachers from all levels of education, from early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary, got together at the CMA conference in August and put together ideas for the 10 tasks. It was a productive time. I went away with pages of notes that I wrote up as the miniMATHS program.

The 10 tasks we came up with were:

1. How many leaves? - using informal units to measure area
2. Big, bigger, biggest - ordering by length
3. Same, same, different - identifying common features
4. One more - you make a number of objects, I'll make one more than you have
5. Shadows - moving objects to make new shadows
6. Stacking - building a pile of objects
7. Make a star - building a radial pattern
8. Does it float? - playing with floating and sinking
9. Rolling - looking at objects that roll
10. Repeat my pattern - if I make a pattern, can you extend it?

These 10 tasks were shaped into a book. I wanted some sort of printed product that teachers could physically carry with them into the bush, or at least outside into the playground. So some of the grant went into the printing of a book for every preschool in Canberra.

The 10 tasks have also been uploaded as a website that is available to anyone, not just ACT teachers: 

Over the next week or so, I will post a bit more detail about each of the 10 tasks. Maybe you will find them useful. I would be keen to hear any feedback.

And any Canberra teachers - keep an eye out for the miniMATHS workshops rolling out over January and February.


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