Tonight, the class learned about assessment. By assessing children, we can find out whether they have procedural (computation), conceptual (meaning), or conventional (which needs explicit teaching) understanding. It is important that children know the real life meaning. We ask ourselves: Do they have conceptual meaning? Are they using procedural methods to do equations? Or are they able to use strategies to overcome a weakness?
In an education system where competition is present, people will need formal assessment to differentiate what they are measuring. Assessment that we use have to be :
- valid (measure what they are supposed to measure)
- reliable (the same performance always attract the same score)
The 3 types of assessment tasks are:
* paper and pencil test
* oral test
* group or individual test
Paper and pencil task cannot measure everything; it may not show whether a child is able to use visual method. To find out more, teachers can also use oral test via simple talking to find out more and understand the chilld better.
It was so refreshing to hear a story during a math lesson :)
Dr Yeap read us a story 'How Big Is A Foot' by Rolf Myller to introduce the concept of standard units for measurement. We explored units of measurement for time, weight, length, distance, volume and capacity. The class went to the nearest MRT station with our rulers and we were to find out the height from the ground to the top of the finished floor. We stretched our muscles by climbing up the stairs, counted the steps, and measured the height of each step.
Flights of stairs in total = 4
Number of steps in the first flight = 14
Number of steps in each of the next 3 flights = 16
Total number of steps = 14+48 = 62
Height of each step = 14.5 cm
Height from the ground to the top of the finished floor
= 62x14.5 cm
= 899 cm
I would like to share a video about a teacher letting her class experience how big a T-Rex was by using their bodies as non-standard measurement. The children had fun as they got involved in their physical experience.
(Source: "Learning Math Early - It's Big!" by EriksonNews from Youtube)
It is important that children know how to use representation. As Jerome Bruner put, it is 'enactive representation'. It is something that you can act on to embody an idea. "Bruner states that what determines the level of intellectual development is the extent to which the child has been given appropriate instruction together with practice or experience. So- the right way of presentation and the right explanation will enable a child to grasp a concept usually only understood by an adult" (Mcleod, 2008).
Another acivity we did tonight was creating a container that could hold 15 beans. There was much thinking and problem solving to make one that could fit exactly. An activity like this can be used as a tool to assess students as a group.
There are 3 levels of learning ability:
- totally cannot
After the assessment, teachers can come up with some remedial actions to help children to at least have partially developed idea.
Throughout the whole math module, I have learned that math is about thinking and reasoning. It is not merely calculations, computations, but rather, intellectual competence. As teachers, we need to give children opportunities to visualize, communicate, see patterns and relationships, and make connections to generalize. Children should be encouraged to talk their thoughts, expressing orally or in written form, be it diagrams, words, symbols, tables, or graphs.
At the end of this module, I cannot say that I like math, but the interest is budding. It is so different now as compared to the beginnig of the module; I disliked math because of my unpleasant past experiences with my school days teachers. I am still not good at math, I'm sure Dr Yeap can tell by the quizzes I have done. However, my journey with math does not end with the end of the module. Knowing that math is not a destination but a vehicle for me to develop my intellectual competence, I will continue to explore and learn.
Dr Yeap ended this session with a very good caterpillar story "How To Make Sure That A Butterfly Cannot Fly". It was powerful and made us ponder about the kind of education system we want our children to have. Do we want to teach them the easiest way out by showing them the short cut, or teach them life skills? Would we rather provide them a fish, or teach them to be a real fishermen? There is really no short cuts in learning; the decision is up to us.
Thank you so much Dr Yeap, for all the wonderful math sessions!
Reference: Mcleod, S.(2008). Simply psychology. Bruner. Retrieved 1 Sept, 2011 from http://www.simplypsychology.org/bruner.html