I started by reading aloud a book I don't particularly like. Why? I've been reading New Visions for Linking Mathematics and Literature in preparation for my summer teacher workshop. The authors give criteria for determining a book's mathematical integrity, the first being "the mathematical components of the book are accurate." They specifically mention appropriate use of mathematical vocabulary. In my read aloud, The Silly Story of Goldie Locks and the Three Squares, Goldie encounters a variety of shapes. The text reads,
"Goldie Locks tried the beds. One was shaped like a circle. Goldie Locks hated it. Another bed was shaped like a triangle. She hated that one, too. The last bed was shaped like a rectangle. It was just right and Goldie Locks fell asleep."Upon hearing this and seeing the illustrations, the kids hopped up and down on the rug.
"That's not a triangle! It's a triangular prism!"Frankly, I think the whole class was slightly horrified. So, in retrospect, I take back what I said. I LOVE that book because it gives kids a chance to challenge the use of incorrect mathematical terms. :)
"That's not a circle! It's a cylinder!!!!"
"And that's not a rectangle! It's a rectangular prism!!!"
I introduced several new activities today. With "Caterpillar Fill and Add" (taken from Bridges Curriculum, Math Learning Center), they had to race to fill up caterpillar game boards using pattern blocks. They also tried to see how few pattern blocks could be used to make a variety of shapes in "Build 4 Less."
Hands-On Math: Geometry with Geoblocks Kit for homeschoolers. We've been working with geoblocks, 26 uniquely shaped wood blocks, each labeled with a letter of the alphabet. Today, kids were enchanted by "Faces of Mystery," in which they had to try to figure out which the "mystery block" was. I revealed one of the mystery block's faces at a time. They searched through the 26 blocks to see which blocks fit the first face. Upon seeing the mystery block's second face, they continued to narrow down their options. When only a block or two remained, they described what the third face would look like if was one of the remaining blocks. Students repeatedly brought blocks up to test against the set of face clues. They were thrilled to discover the mystery block's true identity! :)
During "Work Place" time, students made choices about which of the activities they wished to visit. They loved setting their own schedules!
I ended with a couple of additional read alouds. While I'm not personally excited about the story of Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes, I chose it so students could listen for integrity in the mathematical vocabulary used, comparing it to the text in our earlier book. Surprisingly, they loved the book, also expressing approval at the author's use of terms. (Deserved. :) ) We ended with a favorite of mine, Sir Cumference and the First Round Table. Several kids grinned to learn that the terms "diameter, radius, and circumference," are named after book characters. I'll have to confess that I've never been confused about those terms since reading the book. Every time I hear "diameter" I picture "Lady Di of Ameter."
Class...See you all next week! Thanks for your hard work today!
Readers...Have stories about your students, children's literature, and math? Love to hear from you!