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Friday, November 15, 2013

Teaching Math to Young Children: New IES Practice Guide

Despite young children's natural interest in mathematics, teaching the subject to young children remains an understandable challenge. A new practice guide addresses this issue, providing a series of "evidence-based recommendations" to help guide the teaching of children ages 3 to 6.
The latest What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) practice guide, Teaching Math to Young Children, was funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Educators and other experts in the field created a list of five recommendations using a combination of evidence-based research and professional guidance on best practices for teaching math in preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten settings. They include:
  1. Teach number and operations using a developmental progression;
  2. Teach geometry, patterns, measurement, and data analysis using a developmental progression;
  3. Use progress monitoring to ensure that math instruction builds on what each child knows;
  4. Teach children to view and describe their world mathematically; and
  5. Dedicate time each day to teaching math, and integrate math instruction throughout the school day.
According to the publication, the recommendations are "designed to capitalize on children's natural interest in math to make their preschool and school experience more engaging and beneficial." 
Each recommendation includes with it an overview of the supporting evidence. The publication labels the strength of the evidence as "strong," "moderate," or "minimal." These labels are based on a variety of factors, including validity, effects on outcomes, the strength of the relationship between the evidence and recommendations, and the panel's confidence in the effectiveness of the practice. Of the five recommendations listed above, it's worth noting that none received the "strong" label, and only one (the first item) got a "moderate" label.
Step-by-step instructions are included for carrying out each of the recommendations. The guide also identifies potential roadblocks and ways to overcome such obstacles.
re-posted from Education Week

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1st annual Math-Team-Matics competition

Is your school looking for a fun opportunity to compete with mathematics?
The GVSU Department of Mathematics and the Regional Math Science Center are hosting the first annual Math-Team Matics competition at Grand Valley State University’s Allendale Campus.
Teams of five mathematicians will have a friendly competition to crown the winning group.
Can your school bring home the inaugural Math-Team-Matics championship?

When: December 7th, 2013
Time: 9 A.M-3 P.M
Cost: $60.00 for a team of 5 and 1 coach, includes the competition and lunch at Fresh Food Co. 
Registration: Now through November 28th. 
Participants: Open to teams of 5 students in 7th-10th grade.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Myth of "I'm bad at math"

repost from The Atlantic

“I’m just not a math person.”
We hear it all the time. And we’ve had enough. Because we believe that the idea of “math people” is the most self-destructive idea in America today. The truth is, you probably are a math person, and by thinking otherwise, you are possibly hamstringing your own career. Worse, you may be helping to perpetuate a pernicious myth that is harming underprivileged children—the myth of inborn genetic math ability.
Is math ability genetic?