Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mixing in Math

The session begins with a variety of games and activities set up on a table by the door where participants are asked to collect data for the presentation.

Presentation is by Martha Merson who is a project director for TERC.

Mixing in Math is aimed at creating ways for children to do math in school and out. They work with a lot of after school programs, YMCA's, etc. but realize they should be contacting libraries as well. They did some research to find out about what librarians want/need and then wrote a grant for government funding to help get Mixing in Math into libraries. This is a development project and they are looking for lots of feedback as it goes on.

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Results of the early morning activities:

Did you eat breakfast: People had to put a red dot if they'd eaten breakfast and a blue dot if they hadn't. Discussion of what the ratio is, how do we know that? How could we do that in the library, put up a chart like that and put different kids of books around it (cooking, nutrition, etc.) Use it as a intro in a school library or library program as an entry point to get kids focused.

Can You Guess how many MPH a Cheetah can run? (poster where people make guesses)
People make guesses, what kind of math is that? How do you make those kinds of judgments? How could this be stretched into an activity, writing task-why would the cheetah be running, vocabulary-kilometers for the Olympics. How would this work in a library? Kids looking for books about cheetahs, asking more questions, etc. One participant says that in their library they are asking questions about the community and everyone brainstorms other ideas of questions that could be asked on the poster. (cheetahs can run appx. 70 mph, but we're not sure for how long)

Different areas of math done in activities: estimating, ordering, sequencing, data, speculating

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Passes out information about Mixing in Math. Talks about a program they helped create and viewed that was done at the Newton Free Library with Debbie Foley (children's librarian - “Mixing in Math Goes to the Library”

Martha then asks for a volunteer to count out beans by twos into a number of plastic cups. She asks how long it might take to cover the bottom of the cup, to fill the cup. She and a participant then read from some of the material provided (which can be found on the website).

On a table set up in the front of the room there are a variety of activities which Martha asks session-participants to look an and then present to the group. She does this to show that it is not difficult to learn how to use these games and activities. While some groups of people look at different games to present, the other participants play some of the games given out with the presentation materials.

The first group presents an activity where one person looks at a newspaper page for 30 seconds and has to find the largest number they can. They then give the paper to a partner and that person has 30 seconds to find the biggest number. Then they compare.

The second group presents an activity where everyone has to guess, or estimate, how many stars they can draw in one minute. Participants call out their guesses. Then they try it. Most people found that they drew more stars than they thought they could.

The last game involves having tags on your back. You don't know what it says on your back, but by asking people around you, you try to figure out what the correlating Dewey Decimal System number is to the words on the tag on your back. Then all participants get into order by Dewey number.

The presentation was wrapped up by discussing the different games and activities.
-Sarah C.

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