In the month of October, we have been using our surroundings and the world around us to help connect us to math in many different ways.
The first week when we noticed the leaves starting to fall, we made some information observations as we walked into the woods about the changes that were happening.
“they’re changing color.” “look at the red one, that’s new!” “why are they falling?” These are observations, connections and comparisons. Things we also include in math in the classroom setting.
The second week, when we went to the woods we went and collected leaves. We looked for all kinds of leaves on the ground. Here are some more comments I remember hearing.
“Look Mrs. Lewia! This leaf is bigger.“ “This leaf has some red and some orange.” “I found two leaves!” We made more connections, created more observations in the world around us, made comparisons of leaves on size, shape and color and I even heard some counting!
On the third week into the woods, I brought out some ten frame mats with us. My plan was to use the natural materials around us to show our understanding of numerals and quantities. As we gathered around our classroom in the woods after burning off some much needed energy, we sat down and first made observations of our blank ten frames.
I asked the students “What do you notice?” Some responses: “I see squares, and lines here and here and here.” “I see nothing, just white.” “It’s a big ten frame!”
I asked the students to collect a pile of leaves and put it next to them. Some students picked up a pile next to them, others were very peculiar about the leaves they chose. My goal was to observe their understanding of connecting numerals with quantities on their ten frames. While I was able to make some observations of their knowledge, I also noted the engagement. I noticed how excited they were to place the leaves they carefully picked out onto their ten frames. I noticed how they used the information they learned in the classroom and continue that learning by using materials around them. These students not only were connecting nature to math, but they were able to utilize social and emotional skills to work together collaboratively.
Megan Lewia, Meroby Elementary School, Kindergarten