Session Six (31/8/2011)
It was the last session for this Elementary Mathematics module. We were told not to use the word “problem sum” (word that was taught to me by my teachers years ago and in turn has been used by me rather frequently) when teaching children. Instead, word such as “story problem” or “word problem” should be used as they are more appropriate.
Quite a number of things were covered and we had two interesting activities which were (1) counting the distance from the upper landing of the staircase to the bottom and (2) doing of cube. We were told to bring our ruler along to the Circle Line Station and best part was quite a number of us were without ruler – and one of them was me (how embarrassing)! Nevertheless by working with the rest of my group mates, we still managed to find the distance. The steps that we took to do the calculations are as follows:
· First we counted how many steps were there in each flight of stairs.
· In total there were 62 steps from top to bottom and each step measures about 15cm.
· Therefore, 62 X 15 = 930cm, which we then converted to meters (930/100 = 9.3m)
As I was doing this reflection, it occurred to me that we did not actually count the space in between the steps and as far as I am concerned it should be included as the spaces formed part of the steps leading to the bottom. Therefore, if my deduction is right, the above answer may be wrong. Unfortunately, class was over and we could not possibly go back to the station to do another measurement.
Another activity that we did was to make cube to fit in 15 kidney beans. We underestimated the volume of the cube so much so that our cube was far too big. It could probably fit hundreds of beans!
A few others important lessons that I took with me are the Assessment of Children and Incidental Teaching of Time. Careful consideration must be given to ensure the validity of the assessment. The objectives of the lesson must match the instrument used and the assessment must be reliable regardless of other factors. As for teaching of time, all along it has been our practice to make children “learn” time by having proper lessons and by “drawing” the clock face. Only after Dr Yeap explanation was I able to see the practicality of teaching time in an
incidental ways. Connecting time to events would be one of the meaningful ways to teach children.
In conclusion, the whole module has been an “eye-opener” for me in relation to teaching mathematics to young children and I sincerely hoped I would be able to make a difference in the lives of the young children when they learn mathematics.
“A Big Thank You to You Dr Yeap!”