Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mathematics: measurement/geometry - Part 3

This is the last part of my post on mathematical activities in our classroom for this year.  I am sure I will have a lot more to say as we start our new school year next September, but this is a nice way for me to see what I have done with the kids in these areas and what need to be done or added to improve their performances.

So what about geometry? Preschoolers' intuitive knowledge of geometry frequently exceeds their numerical skills. Young children "do" math spontaneously in their lives and in their play without realising it. It starts with jigsaws. They love them from a very early age and this is a good introduction to geometry and measurement. In a Montessori classroom, the children are in direct contact with a wide range of activities which indirectly help the children to discriminate shapes/forms. Intended as a pre-writing exercise, the insets, for example, are  based on various shapes children get acquainted with on a daily basis as they pick a specific shape to trace over and over again.

Then you have sensorial equipment designed especially with the aim of providing the child with the key to orient himself in the world of shapes, preparing him for maths (geometry).

With the blue geometric solids, children are allowed to refine their stereognostic sense and are made aware of all the solid shaps that surrounds them. What I like doing with them with these solids is to let them roll gently one shape at a time in a tray of sand to see what forms it can make. It is like adding a thrird dimension to the solids. They love this.

Then, we use the constructive boxes: the rectangular boxes, the triangular boxes, the large and small hexagonal boxes.

The children explore shapes and patterns, draw and create geometric designs, taking joy in recognizing and naming specific shapes they create. These boxes basically show the kids that
all plane figures constructed with straight lines are composed of triangles.

We also play with the following:

Children are also able to recognize different length and width using the Montessori equipment. The broad stairs and the pink tower both promote the observation and understanding of the perception of dimensions, as well as preparing indirectly for decimal system. This is also true for the wooden cylinders.

All in all, why do we need to emphasis geometry in our curriculum? Because Geometry and measurements help children to develop their spatial awareness and map the world around them. I hope this helps.

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