Monday, March 14, 2011

favourite things pt 4.

Favourite things: Sleeping on the couch.

Ok I'm actually remembering to do this on a Monday this week. I'm taking a break from looking for (academic) journal articles about how to make maths creative, and fun, and hands-on to write this. I find it fascinating, though, much more than I thought I would. Because here's something we never think about, right:
In real life, on a day-to-day basis, which do you think we dedicate the most time to:
-Written computation (ie: addition/subtraction/multiplication written with pen and paper)
-Mental computation (sums done in your head) or
-Calculator computation.

Most people would probably say mental computation. I don't know about you but if I'm adding something up, I'll try and do it in my head (or on my fingers), or with my iphone before I bother writing it down... And yet...
Which of those would you say is taught most heavily at schools?
And I think you'd find the answer would be written computation.
Isn't that strange?? And almost no time is taken to doing mental problem-solving. And I'm mad about that now because I think a lot of my maths problems comes from feeling 'locked into' the written algorithm we're taught in school. Example, here's a problem: 25 + 27.
And in my head I work it out how you would if you wrote it nice and properly, like this:

And today in class we discussed how other people worked out the answer in their head. And some people say 25 + 25 + 2. That's MUCH easier than trying to work out stupid-looking 7 + 5, which by the way, I would probably do on my fingers as well. Or even if I could think to do 5 + 5 + 2 + 40... But I don't. I add the ones, carry the one over, then add the twos, and put on the extra one. And it's not the easiest way to do it.
But what I find especially interesting is that kids will develop their own methods and their own tricks, all the time. And sometimes they'll feel embarrassed by their methods and won't say how they got the answer because they've been taught that there's a 'right way' to do it, and that wasn't the way they used. There's been research done which says kids use their own algorithms, as long as their method doesn't fail, which is when they will revert back to the written version. Anyway, enough maths education talk..

  • Waking up with sore muscles after smashing it out at the gym. It's like, confirmation that you worked hard.
  • Getting home after a run with a very tired pup whose tail is down, and who flops on the floor the minute you get inside. Poor dude.
  • Nic making Sunday morning pancakes with raspberries. I might have already listed these as a favorite thing but I love them.
  • Falling asleep on the couch. This could be while watching a crappy action movie (they put me to sleep.), or watching something else with my head on Nic's lap, or just on a lazy non-Uni afternoon- not worrying about how long I sleep or that I'm going to be late for anything. Bliss!
  • Erasing a task on our to-do-list-fridge-whiteboard. Especially something that's been there for 2 weeks that you've been putting off doing for so long. And rewarding yourself, possibly with a chocolate biscuit. Yum.

Hope everybody had a great weekend, and happy Monday. :)
Also, I'm putting together a compilation of kitten-on-bags, as a follow-up to a post the other day because I realize now just how much Reya is obsessed with bags, and it's cute.

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