Friday, January 23, 2015

Algebra at DuPage Children's Museum?! Part II.

Math Connections can be made at home or at the Museum! Young children who engage in pattern play, mathematical situations, models of quantitative relationships, and activities that encourage awareness of change are practicing skills that lend to algebraic learning. 

In this second post in a two-part blog, we focus on the development of algebraic reasoning. Author, Educator, and Curriculum Developer Jennifer Taylor-Cox offers insight regarding the central ideas of algebra and illustrates how they can be applied through daily experiences.

Central Idea #3: Models of quantitative relationships
"'Explore models of quantitative relationships in a real-life context"

Throughout Math Connections, children can push individual or sets of beads or manipulatives together to represent different values.

Try this: As you play with manipulatives, narrate the child's actions. You might say, You pushed 5 red beads and 2 white beads; that's 7 beads! Ask questions like, What other ways can you make 7?
Think about this: What kind of items can you use at home to emphasize quantitative relationships? Collect 5 cereal pieces in one bowl and 2 crackers in another; that equals 7! Use snacks to determine other ways to get to 7.

Central Idea #4: Change
"'The understanding that most things change over time, that such changes can be described mathematically, and that changes are predictable'"

In Math Connections, children can explore change related to size, shape, and measurement.
Try this: Encourage children to use words like bigger/smaller, shorter/taller to describe objects, structures, or creationsYou might ask, How many blocks tall is your tower?
Think about this: How can you incorporate math words into your daily routine? When driving and observing you might ask, Which building is taller? How long do you think it will take us to get to the store? 

While at home or during your next visit, facilitate play and learning by engaging in these challenges! What a fun way to lay the groundwork for future mathematics learning!