Posts Tagged ‘creative’

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_______ Politicians vs Reality ______ Why BACK-to-BASICS Maths FAILS

December 8, 2019

“There are many such examples of excellence across Australian schools. But there are not enough. While individual schools might shine, the results of international tests, released earlier this week, suggest our education system as a whole is stagnating. For the first time, Australia failed to exceed the OECD average in maths, and the nation’s results in reading and science have declined since Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) testing began in the early 2000s.” More here.

What about SINGAPORE?

Meanwhile, SINGAPORE students do well in maths because they have very ENTHUSIASTIC teachers. If you want to see how Singapore and other countries promote maths in the classroom go to Maths News: Around the World from International Congress of Mathematical Education 2016.

Here we go again!

I wrote the following post in 2014 and here we are, 5 years later, back where we started. 

Louis CK Quote

…………………………………..

Is maths becoming a dead language?

mathspig fractionsIn the 1980’s American restaurant chain A&W was going to kick Mcdonald’s marketing butt. How? Instead of a quarter pounder burger they brought out and promoted a third pounder!!!! The promo failed. Why? Americans didn’t get fractions. More frightening, in Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times ( 23 JUL 2014), was the US study that found 17 percent of medication errors were caused by maths mistakes made by doctors or pharmacists.

Meanwhile, students in Australia, the USA, and the UK are dropping out of maths like flies.

Something is seriously wrong with the way we teach maths.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

Vote 1 Me. (Probably can’t count to 2 anyway.)

vote slip 2

Politicians around the world use education to win votes. We will raise numeracy standards they promise. Of course, this may not help your child, just the state averages.

Nevertheless, Back to Basics concepts are constantly pushed in the UK, the USA, and Australia by politicians.

us flagIn 2009 Obama backed “common standards” and “common core” curriculum in maths supported by $USA 4 Billion in grants. (Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times, 23 JUL 2014).

.

.

uk flagLater this year a new ‘Back to Basics’ Curriculum will be rolled out in the UK with an emphasis on times tables and mental maths. (Schools must go back to basics to raise maths standards, Graeme Paton, The Telegraph, UK, 18 FEB 2014)

.

aus flagAustralia has introduced a National Curriculum and National Testing (NAPLAN) in numeracy and literacy in recent years. The current government just put up $22 million to back Direct Instruction in Indigenous Schools across Qld, NT and WA (Noel Pearson’s learning engine, Jamie Walker, The Australian, 5 JUL 2014) Direct Instruction is a commercial product involving very rigid and proscriptive Back to Basics curriculum and testing program from National Institute of Direct Instruction based in Eugene, Oregon.

Teachers use strict guidelines and must keep within the program. Eg:

Picture 2

Picture 3……………………………………

Do back to basics programs work?

Maybe. It depends on what you are measuring. Students can improve some maths skills. The worksheets are very clear and that is to be applauded. And so, in time, standards may rise on paper.

But there are still two huge problems.

…………………………………………………………………………….

We have ways of teaching to make you hate maths!!!!

Firstly, there is the McMath Element. Do you want Pythagoras with that quarter pounder? Repetitive, pre-packaged, parrot-style learning is easily forgotten. According to Professor Roediger professor of psychology at Washington Uni ‘effortful, varied practice builds mastery’. (How tests make us smarter, New York Times, 18 Jul 2014).

Secondly, rigid drilling is boring. Students grind through the exercise after exercise being constantly reminded that maths is dry, dull and boring on a coma-inducing scale. Students will, as is the current trend, drop maths as soon as they can.

…………………………………………………………………………. 

 

Why do some kids think maths is a cruel and unusual punishment?

According to Peter Sullivan, Professor of Mathematics Edu at Monash University students drop maths because it is:

not related to the real world,

repetitious,

boring

and restrictive.

See STOP THE PRESS: Maths Teaching Fails

But it is not just students who find maths boring. Teachers who are forced to adopt rigid, repetitive and monotonous prepackaged courses also become disillusioned.

……………………………………….

One size does not fit all and local knowledge counts

Grade 3Elcho Island MapI’m sitting in a Grade 3 classroom in a remote Indigenous School on Elcho Island off the coast of NT. (Last week I ran some fun/creative workshops for staff.) The young enthusiastic teacher (with the help of two indigenous interpreters) was teaching the students to count to 10 and write the numbers from 1 – 10.

Students arrive at school speaking only the local Indigenous language. They must acquire literacy skills in their own language before they are taught English in Grade 4. There is a good deal of catching up to be achieved in numeracy skills. Many Indigenous languages only name the numbers 1, 2, 3 and many. The teachers on the island are familiar with the difficulties facing their students and work hard with empathy and enthusiasm to overcome multiple disadvantages of their students.

Teachers on the island have developed extraordinary resources and create programs to engage their students in learning maths. Imposing a rigid curriculum regime like Direct Instruction on Elcho Island schools will further disadvantage the students and also demoralize the dedicated staff.

………………………………

Ways of teaching maths that work

Here are two teaching methods that are not only flexible and fun, but they have also been proven to work in the classroom.

The Walker Learning Approach

Walker learningKathy Walker is an Australian educator, author and early years curriculum expert. Her books include What’s the Hurry? and Play Matters. The Walker Learning Approach, which is used in many schools around Australia including Elcho Island, is an evidence-based strategy that encourages play-based discovery and learning as well as explicit instruction in numeracy and literature (K – Year 8). More here.

…………………………………………………………….

Magdelene Lampert: Learning by Communication Method

teaching probMagdalene Lampert, until recently professor of education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and author of “Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching, has replaced ‘answer-getting’ with ‘sense-making.(Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times, 23 JUL 2014)

She advocates incorporating communication in maths as ‘being able to explain your thinking so that someone else grasps your ideas’ improves your understanding ( as any teacher knows from their own experiences in front of the classroom.)

…………………………………………………………………………….

LET TEACHERS TEACH

Mathspig Pedagogy

Yeah! MATHS: Guaranteed to be boring one day and scary the next but always a complete waste of time – there’s a product that’s not going to sell.

Let teachers teach. This should be a campaign slogan to put maths teaching back into the hands of the people, who know what is going on in the classroom. Imposing rigid regimes on teachers is counter productive as the teachers become as bored, as angry and as disenfranchised as their students. I mean ‘why bother?’ We need teachers with passion, enthusiasm and creativity to teach maths, not Mathsbots pre-programmed by politicans to win votes.

Politicians do not teach your children. Teachers do. If politicians and the bureaucracy make teachers lives miserable, this misery will be passed onto their students … Your children. There must be checks and balances – and cliches, I guess – but it is the teacher who passes on their love or hatred of maths to your children. If the community gives teachers the chance to teach maths creatively and with humour, they will take up the challenge and your child will benefit.

Mathspig Let Teachers Teach

I was taught by a young and enthusiastic Maths teacher at a small rural hgh school in the sixties. That’s almost 50 years ago – OMG! Don’t do the maths. His name was Barry Underhill.

Mathjspig a gogo 1I’m Mathspig. And I love maths.

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Maths Doesn’t Have to be the UGLY DUCKLING?

June 1, 2016

Mathspig Fairy Petunia Pigsnort

Even small children can think maths is hard work.

But it can be just as much fun as any other subject

if we use our imagination.

Maths does not have to be the UGLY DUCKLING

of school work.

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10 CRAZY CREATIVE MATHS BLOGS

April 14, 2016

10 CRAZY CREATIVE MATHS BLOGS

Background pattern found here.

1.

1. Creative blog Mathspig

Botanica Mathematica is a Mathematical knitting blog  with patterns included run by Dr Julia Collins and Haggis the Sheep.

 

1a Creative Mathspig

1b Creative mathspig

 2.

2. Creative blogs Mathspig

 

 The Mathematician’s Shirts! is a creative maths blog run by Julia Collins and Madeleine Shepherd. Yes! The same Julia Collins as above. It is a small collection of shirts but Big on imagination and this project is something middle school students could tackle using an old shirt. More on Flikr here.

 

 2a. Tending towards hyperbolic by Madeleine

 3.

3. Creative blog Mathspig

The Division by Zero blog is very mathsy. Seriously mathsy. It is run by David Richeson, Professor of Mathematics at Dickinson College. Even though it involves tertiary level maths it is full of curiosities about maths such as this gem below:

Screen shot 2016-04-14 at 1.25.41 PM

 

 

I particularly loved the post about Gabriel’s Horn:

3a Creative Maths

And pictures of Gabriel’s horn made out of paper cones. Gabriel’s horn is the surface obtained by revolving the curve y = 1/x for x> or = 1/2 about the -axis. Mathematics professors ‘wow’ introductory calculus students by sharing its paradoxical properties: it has finite volume, but infinite surface area. As they say, “you can fill it with paint, but you can’t paint it.”

 

The Golden Arches get a working over as well. Are they based on a parabola, Catenary (strung up chain hanging under it’s own weight) or other. It turns out it is other … the Golden Arches fit an ellipse.

3b Macdonalds maths mathspig

 4.

4. Creative blog Mathspig

Visualising Math is a terrific Tumblr feed run by Monica Anuforo and Casey M. both college maths students from Minnesota, USA. I think Monic’a comments on the blog tell us all how important it is to engage Middle School students.

 

Monica Anuforo: Hello! I’m an 19 year old Nigerian-American female. Obviously, I’m a fan of mathematics. I was one of those people who were lucky enough to find out that MATH IS AWESOME as early as middle school as opposed to later in life.

 

4a Creative maths

 

The Tumblr feed is a fabulous collection of mathematical images including fractals, gifs and jokes. Some of these images (See below) could be drawn, coloured or constructed by Middle School students so they too can discover that maths is awesome!!!

4b Creative maths

 

 

 5.

5. Creative blogs Mathspig

Math for Lovers is an anonymous Tumblr feed run by Kcmr. It is an eclectic collection of maths art, gifs and jokes. While it hasn’t been updated for awhile the images are still worth exploring. Here are just two:

5a Creative Faig Ahmed

Faig Ahmed is an internationally recognized artist from Baku, Azerbaijan, who represented Azerbaijan at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He is well known for his conceptual works that utilize traditional decorative craft and the visual language of carpets into contemporary sculptural works of art.

5c Creative Cut and paste novel wall art

Cut and paste novel wall art at etsy.

You have to love a maths blog that announces:

This is why geometry is important kids. It can blow your mind.

This is a brilliant clip of Klemens Torggler’s kinetic art door based on rotating squares. The special invention makes it possible to move the object sideways without the use of tracks.

 6.

6. Creative blogs mathspig

Math is Beautiful,a maths tumblr stream, is oldish and seriously mathsy but some of the stunning visual images and interesting gifs would intrigue Middle school students. e.g. The image below is a screen grab of a circle of dots that rolls around the circumference inside a bigger circle …. but … but .. but … the gif shows that the dots actually only move along the diameters marked. Fas-kin-ating!

6a. Creative Mathspig

 

6b. Creative Mathspig

 

Here is another screen shot (above) of a gif tagged ‘I cannot stop staring at this. Try it. Your mind will be taken over by a higher power.

 7.

7. Creative Blogs Mathspig

The Advanced Geometry Tumblr stream is a stunning visual feast combining art, geometry and design. By art I mean … could be arty but naked bodies. But exploring the imagery is simply inspiring.

7a Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects

 

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by ‘Istvan’ for NeonMob

 8.

8. Creative blog Mathspig

Susan Lombardo created the Math and Fiber blog for students in an upper division college geometry course. The beauty of this blog it gives step by step instructions on how to create a crocheted coral reef, adds the maths behind the project and many interesting links.

8a

CONSERVATION CROCHET Project at the University of Washington

8b Gabrielle Meyers’ Hyperbolic Surfaces

And Gabrielle Meyers’ Hyperbolic Surfaces

 9.

9. Creative blogs Mathspig

Hyperbolic Crochet Blog

9a

Also check out Hyperbolic Crochet Blog of a Palestinian Maths teacher. Daina Taimina combines math education, knitting and crochet and her love of art in her book Crocheting Adventures with the Hyperbolic Planes. This blog also provides a fascinating looking at math taught in a different language and script!!!!!!

9b

 10.

10. Creative blogs mathspig

The Virtual Math Museum links you to some of the most fabulous maths artists in the world including:

10a

Brian Johnston and his Hydrogen Orbital (above)

10b

and Luc Bernard and his Kuen’s Surface:

A Meditation on Euclid, Lobachevsky, and Quantum Fields.

 

 

And more ….

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Beware Maths Fundamentalists

July 28, 2014

Louis CK Quote

…………………………………..

Is maths becoming a dead language?

mathspig fractionsIn the 1980’s American restaurant chain A&W were going to kick Mcdonald’s marketing butt. How? Instead of a quarter pounder burger they brought out and promoted a third pounder!!!! The promo failed. Why? Americans didn’t get fractions. More frightening, in Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times ( 23 JUL 2014) was the US study that found 17 percent of medication errors were caused by maths mistakes made by doctors or pharmacists.

Meanwhile students in Australia, USA and the UK are dropping out of maths like flies.

Something is seriously wrong with the way we teach maths.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

Vote 1 Me. (Probably can’t count to 2 anyway.)

vote slip 2

Politicians around the world use education to win votes. We will raise numeracy standards they promise. Of course, this may not help your child, just the state averages.

Nevertheless, Back to Basics concepts are being pushed in the UK, USA and Australia by politicians.

us flagIn 2009 Obama backed “common standards” and “common core” curriculum in maths supported by $USA 4 Billion in grants. (Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times, 23 JUL 2014).

.

.

uk flagLater this year a new ‘Back to Basics’ Curriculum will be rolled out in the UK with an emphasis on times tables and mental maths. (Schools must go back to basics to raise maths standards, Graeme Paton, The Telegraph, UK, 18 FEB 2014)

.

aus flagAustralia has introduced a National Curriculum and National Testing (NAPLAN) in numeracy and literacy in recent years. The current government just put up $22 million to back Direct Instruction in Indigenous Schools across Qld, NT and WA (Noel Pearson’s learning engine, Jamie Walker, The Australia, 5 JUL 2014) Direct Instruction is a commercial product involving very rigid and proscriptive Back to Basics curriculum and testing program from National Institute of Direct Instruction based in Eugene, Oregon.

Teachers use strict guidelines and must keep within the program. Eg:

Picture 2

Picture 3……………………………………

Do back to basics programs work?

Maybe. It depends on what you are measuring. Students can improve some maths skills. The work sheets are very clear and that is to be applauded. And so, in time, standards may rise on paper.

But there are still two huge problems.

…………………………………………………………………………….

We have ways of teaching to make you hate maths!!!!

Firstly, there is the McMath Element. Do you want Pythagoras with that quarter pounder? Repetitive, pre-packaged, parrot-style learning is easily forgotten. According to Professor Roediger professor of psychology at Washington Uni ‘effortful, varied practice builds mastery’. (How tests make us smarter, New York Times, 18 Jul 2014).

Secondly, rigid drilling is boring. Students grind through the exercise after exercise being constantly reminded that maths is dry, dull and boring on a coma-inducing scale. Students will, as is the current trend, drop maths as soon as they can.

…………………………………………………………………………. 

 

Why would some kids prefer water boarding to doing maths?

According to Peter Sullivan, Professor of Mathematics Edu at Monash University students drop maths because it is:

not related to the real world,

repetitious,

boring

and restrictive.

See STOP THE PRESS: Maths Teaching Fails

But it is not just students who find maths boring. Teachers who are forced to adopt rigid, repetitive and monotonous prepackaged courses also become disillusioned.

……………………………………….

One size does not fit all and local knowledge counts

Grade 3Elcho Island MapI’m sitting in a Grade 3 classroom in a remote Indigenous School on Elcho Island off the coast of NT. (Last week I ran some fun/creative workshops for staff.) The young enthusiastic teacher (with the help of two indigenous interpreters) was teaching the students to count to 10 and write the numbers from 1 – 10.

Students arrive at school speaking only the local Indigenous language. They must acquire literacy skills in their own language before they are taught English in Grade 4. There is a good deal of catching up to be achieved in numeracy skills. Many Indigenous languages only name the numbers 1, 2, 3 and many. The teachers on the island are familiar with the difficulties facing their students and work hard with empathy and enthusiasm to overcome multiple disadvantages of their students.

Teachers on the island have developed extraordinary resources and creative programs to engage their students in learning maths. Imposing a rigid curriculum regeme like Direct Instruction on Elcho Island schools will further disadvantage the students and also demoralize the dedicated staff.

………………………………

Ways of teaching maths that work

Here are two teaching methods that are not only flexible and fun, they have been proven to work in the classroom.

The Walker Learning Approach

Walker learningKathy Walker is an Australian educator, author and early years curriculum expert. Her books include What’s the Hurry? and Play Matters. The Walker Learning Approach, which is used in many schools around Australia including Elcho Island, is an evidence-based strategy that encourages play-based discovery and learning as well as explicit instruction in numeracy and literature (K – Year 8). More here.

…………………………………………………………….

Magdelene Lampert: Learning by Communication Method

teaching probMagdalene Lampert, until recently professor of education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and author of “Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching , has replaced ‘answer-getting’ with ‘sense-making.(Why do Americans stink at maths?, Elizabeth Green, The New York Times, 23 JUL 2014)

She advocates incorporating communication in maths as ‘being able to explain your thinking so that someone else grasps your ideas’ improves your undestanding ( as any teacher knows from their own experiences in front of the classroom.)

…………………………………………………………………………….

LET TEACHERS TEACH

Mathspig Pedagogy

Yeah! MATHS: Guaranteed to be boring one day and scary the next but always a complete waste of time – there’s a product that’s not going to sell.

Let teachers teach. This should be a campaign slogan to put maths teaching back into the hands of the people, who know what is going on in the classroom. Imposing rigid regimes on teachers is counter productive as the teachers become as bored, as angry and as disenfranchised as their students. I mean ‘why bother?’ We need teachers with passion, enthusiasm and creativity to teach maths, not Mathsbots pre-programmed by politicans to win votes.

Politicians do not teach your children. Teachers do. If politicians and the bureaucracy make teachers lives miserable, this misery will be passed onto their students … Your children. There must be checks and balances – and cliches, I guess – but it is the teacher who passes on their love or hatred of maths to your children. If the community gives teachers the chance to teach maths creatively and with humour, they will take up the challenge and your child will benefit.

Mathspig Let Teachers Teach

I was taught by a young and enthusiastic Maths teacher at a small rural hgh school in the sixties. That’s almost 50 years ago – OMG! Don’t do the maths. His name was Barry Underhill.

Mathjspig a gogo 1I’m Mathspig. And I love maths.

h1

10 Quirky Quotes for Maths Teachers

May 2, 2014

Mathspig Quirky Quote 1

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 2

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 3

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 4

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 5

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 6

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 7

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 8

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 9

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Mathspig Quirky Quote 10

Photo source: 1. Breyers factory Philadelphia, 2. wrongsideoftheheart blog, 3. wsj.com, 4. Unsourced, 5. Dsilymail, 6. Unsourced, 7. Unsourced, 8. Watvhistory, 9. Maths-shirt- nevernotanerd website, 10. unsourced

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8. Create Awesome CGI for Harry Potter Films

September 16, 2013

Death Eaters Harry Potter

CGI of Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

An article in The Guardian, UK, explained the link between Harry Potter and the Maths of fluid dynamics or flow (See pic below):

HarryPotter mathspig

‘(Alex)Hope, managing director of the visual effects firm Double Negative said:

“In Harry Potter [and the Half Blood Prince],

the opening sequence has Death Eaters flying across the river Thames, destroying the (Millennium) Bridge between St Paul’s and the Tate Modern.’

“The way you create that is people who understand computational fluid dynamics, they know how water moves. They take the physics that’s used in modelling rivers and the flow of water and apply that in our world. People doing it need an artistic sensibility as well.

alex-hope-double-negativeAn understanding of maths and science

is fundamental to many of the

disciplines in our industry.”

Now there is motivation, mathpiggies. To create Computer Generated Images for movies you need maths!!!!!!

More on Harry Potter Maths here.