Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Forest Math...

checking depth and size - what fits in the hole, what does not - and how long is the hole?

checking the size of trees - using our arms. Some trees were slim enough to wrap your arms around and touch elbows, other fingers barely touched, and yet others...


... you could hardly get your arms half way round. This is one way of measuring - and comparing with each other.

of course there are all sorts of ways to measure trees, with string with measuring tape, how many footsteps around - then there is height - how do children measure the height of a tree? How will they solve this? measuring shadows maybe? We will see...

Another part of math is patterns - and nature has plenty of those to find...

circles, and lines - and if you look really close - tiny round holes... How many circles can we find on the trunk. If the child is armed with this photo, can they relocate the tree?

vertical and horizontal lines, triangles, stars, even eye shapes can be found here...

another tree, another pattern - is there a logic to the different patterns on the tree trunks - do the children notice that they are different kinds of trees, with different shaped leaves. Triangles and diamonds - do the shapes repeat at all?

sometimes patterns can be found on the inside - what has made these patterns?
In the first visits to a forest there is often too much to take in - the children need time to acquaint themselves with nature - to discover in their own way before they are ready to listen to each other, to us or even express their own ideas...
Using the photos BEFORE we return to the forest can help with a dialogue about what we did there, what they enjoyed, as well as noticing details they missed... this gives them the opportunity to rediscover the forest in a new light, to be aware of the forest on a deeper level, and a desire to ask questions and find out more...
Using photos like a discovery bingo can also help them see small details they might miss in the expanse of the forest...
Continuing the math through photos back at preschool can help them be more aware of using math as a method of discovery in the forest... perhaps a photo of tree bark and a small selection of shapes - and the child/ren places the shapes they find in the image next to the photo, maybe arranging the images from the one with the most variety of shapes first, or the one with the most circles - or however the child decides to sort. Ask the child about their sorting strategy...

Thus the documentation of the forest has become a source of learning, which can then be documented to make visible the child's learning strategies..

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