Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flexibility in Education




Lately, I've been trolling homeschooling sites looking for ways to supplement what AJ's learning (or not learning, as the case may be) in school. This morning the site Homeschool Recess posted a link to a site called Mathalicious. Mathalicious is aimed at middle schoolers. What attracted me was this statement on their splash page:

Here, we’re guided by a simple philosophy: Math isn’t something you learn, but a tool you use to learn about other things. Our mission is to help transform the way math is taught and learned by focusing not only on skills but on the real-world applications of math, from sports to politics to video games to exercise.

If you’re a teacher, parent or student, we invite you to use our content in your homes and classrooms. So poke around. Have some fun. Get some smart.

Content is organized by subject area (e.g. "fractions and decimals" or "probability and statistics") and can also be sorted into one of three levels: "middle school math," "algebra I," and algebra II." This is not curriculum, but individual lesson plans that could be an after school project or a supplemental exploration in class or in a gifted program. All of them use math to explore some real world question. For example, in the most recent project posted, mathalicious looks at calculating the area of a TV screen and other screens, explains aspect ratios and theories of Pythagoras, etc. It includes detailed worksheets and files to use with geometer, a geometry software program.

Check it out!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Administrative post: Please ignore

Technorati is having trouble finding this blog. Hopefully this will do the trick:


Teaching Art

As we're facing the elimination of art and music education in our school district next year, I've been looking for ways to teach it at home. Here are some art lesson plans from the Denver Museum of Art aimed at K-5.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A modest proposal

At the risk of looking like a sock puppet for the New York Times, here's an interesting proposal about the ideal elementary school classroom, a day based on immersion rather than memorization and rote exercises, a schedule that can only be supported in a less test-dependent environment. What do you think?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Math series at The Opinionator

Steven Strogatz, a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell, is blogging at the New York Times' Opinionator about math for the next several weeks. In today's post, he talks about his plans for the series:

I’ll be writing about the elements of mathematics, from pre-school to grad school, for anyone out there who’d like to have a second chance at the subject — but this time from an adult perspective. It’s not intended to be remedial. The goal is to give you a better feeling for what math is all about and why it’s so enthralling to those who get it.

His first post starts with preschool and includes a video from Sesame Street that addresses the question, "Why do we need numbers?" You can read his post here