Wednesday, 13 February 2019
miniMATHS - 6. Stacking
This is fun. I know - I could spend hours doing it. In fact, I used to get kids to do it when I was on playground duty and I would challenge them to get 5 rocks stacked on top of each other.
But where is the maths?
Well, there are a couple of ideas here that need to be explored.
1. Have you ever worked with kids (probably Year 2 or Year 3) who had the idea that when constructing a "sum" (or algorithm - addition or otherwise) you had to start with the big number and then perform the subsequent operation on it? And isn't there an addition strategy for counting on that says you need to start with the big number first? Is this somehow related to stacking up rocks or other items where it is a good idea to put the big one on the bottom of the stack? Please note, I'm just asking the questions here - not providing the simple answers.
2. Or could this be a revelation of the mathematical concept of combining different values to create new one?
3. Or is it an exercise in balance, similar to an equation where one side has to equal the other?
4. Or are we playing the mathematical idea of prediction - what happens if...?
Perhaps the EYLF will give us some insight:
The EYLF certainly talks about "balance" as an important element of growth. This task provides a neat entry point for this conversation.
This task will also provide an opportunity for students to develop perseverance - to try to get that stack higher and higher. It will also encourage students to reflect on their unsuccessful strategies and modify and improve on the performance.
So, just as in the "Shadows" task, this activity may not appear at first glance to be explicitly "mathematical", there is great capacity for students to explore deep mathematical thinking by attempting the stacking task.
If you haven't seen it yet, there is a miniMaths website:
And for people based in the Canberra region, I am running some workshops in preschools and early learning centres over the next six weeks. Details can be found on the miniMaths website.
See you there.