Saturday, 19 October 2013


"Mathematics can indeed be defined as the general science of pattern and structure. Because art also involves patterns and structures, art and math
relate to each other in many natural ways, which is the basis for this exploration". (Carla Farsi and Doug Craft, University of Colorado, Boulder and Lakewood, CO)

Do you know that Art pieces can be used to create Math activities?....  I wonder what kind of activities I can possibly create....

Art piece 1

There are several possibilities I can do, such as :
  • sorting
  • addition
  • subtraction
  • multiplication
  • division
  • patterning   

Following are simple example that children can try to solve using art piece 1 and art piece 2.

Sorting - by colours and attributes

Art piece 2
Tasks/Problems : 
  1. Sort the objects (crayon/flowers) by colour
  2. Sort the flowers by sizes


  1. After sorting into different colours, add up the crayon/flowers. Find the total number of the object.
  2. Which objects has more than or less than


  1. If 1 green branch has 4 flowers, how many flowers are there in 3 branches.
  2. If each purple branch has 5 blue flowers, how many blue flowers are there in 2 purple branches.


  1. Ai Li has 8 blue crayon. She has to distribute to 4 girls in her class.  How many blue crayon will each get?
  2. There are 10 red flowers in the basket.  Each child need to use 2 flowers for their craft.  How many children can have the flowers? 


Children can create craft using the flowers and branches to create AB, AAB, AABB etc patterning.  They can also use colours to create the patterning too.

Beside the above examples, many more activities can be derives from any other art pieces, photos or picture. You may want to try with your children?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Using Concrete Materials (Manipulatives) to Teach Math

Some of the manipulatives that are commonly used in teaching mathematics are blocks, bear counters of different colours and sizes, base ten, patterning tasks and many more.  These manipulatives are very helpful for children to used for classification, addition and substraction, patterning and even fraction.

How effective are these manipulatives to children in learning the concept of Math?

   Research in England, Japan, China, and the United States supports the idea that mathematics instruction and student mathematics understanding will be more effective if manipulative materials are used (Improving Mathematics Teaching by Using Manipulatives; James W.Heddens, Kent State Unversity)

Fraction Circles

Take the fraction circles, it is a terrific ways for teaching students about fractions and their relationships.

Fraction circles are a set of nine circles of various colours. Each circle is broken into equal fractional parts and uses the same-sized whole. The circles included are one whole as well as circles divided into halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, and twelfths.

Depending on the manufacturer, fraction circles can be transparent for use on an overhead projector for whole class activities or opaque for use at students’ desks or with a document camera. Fraction rings are clear plastic rings that are open in the middle and can hold the fraction circles in the center. (

Example how you can use manipulative (concrete materials) to teach Maths.

Jerome Bruner 3 stages of learning theory

Jerome Bruner develops 3 stages of learning theory such as :
1) direct manipulation of objects (concrete),
2) representation of external objects visually as images (pictorial),
3) symbolic representation (abstract)

Jerome Bruner believes that when we teach, we should first present a concept that involve concrete objects. Using of concrete materials to count will make them understand clearly the concept of counting. Children love to play and they learn better through play.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Tangram for Kids

As suggested, tangram is a Chinese puzzle that consists of 7 different types of shapes.
It consists of  : 
2 large righ triangles, 1 medium sized right triangle, 2 small right triangles, 1 small square and 1 parallelogram.
Tangram teaches us about spatial relationship and develop our problem solving skills. Children will be able to learn about clasification of shapes, broaden their vocabulary such as rotate, flip an it get children to be creative in creating complex shapes.
Game for Kids
Here are games on tangram for children to play.  Hope you will enjoy playing it.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Sharing a chocolate into 4 equal parts

This evening our lesson was making us think about the possible different ways to share a rectangluar "chocolate" into 4 equal parts regardless of shapes.  The main point is, it must be equally shared.

1st example :
What we discovered, we can fold the paper into half and fold again into another half. That will make it into 4 equal parts.

 We also discovered that if the rectangle is being folded into sixteen parts and each get equal number of small square eventhough in different shapes they will get the equal share.

We also discovered that even if the triangles do not seem to be identical, however if cut it into half and re-arrange, it will sit exactly the same as the other triangles.

It was quite amazing to find out more ways to share this "chocolate" so I wonder if beside rectangle, triangles and square, what other shapes can we use to share it equally.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Knowing number concept...

Whole Number

There are many ways to teach about whole number using concrete materials such as using the Ten Frames, beans, counters and many more. Bruner believed that children begin their learning through touching, feeling and manipulating.  He called this as the concrete stage which involves hands-on.  Similarly Dienes theory emphazies "play" as one of the important theory of learning.  Through concrete materials it enhances children learning mathematics in a more interactive and engaging manner.

4 Abilities to Count

The basic knowledge for young children to work with number is counting.  They can count everything and anything from the steps they take to walk down the stairs to counting numbers of vehicles on the road.  Through this experience they will learn number concepts.

Children will gradually learn to classify objects in the process and rote counting in which they will learn to count in sequence. They will then establish one to one correspondence by pointing to objects or moving it as they say the number words.

Children should  appreciate the concept of cardinal number and learn that the last number named represents the last object as well as the total number of objects they count.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mathematical Problem Solving

Rote counting.

What a night to start the first day of a new module...
..... M A T H P R O B L E M S!!

Problem No 1

What letter in your name (Suraya) counted 99?

Even though there are 5 methods to identify a letter in my name that counted 99, I do it in most simpliest, easiest way to get the perfect answer which is Rote counting.  It was quite interesting and challenging at first, however, through diligent counting I am able to get the result. It is the 3rd letter in my name 'r'.

Problem 2

Calling the correct number card when spell its number name.

WOW! That's what I am feeling when we as a group manage to pull the "trick"  After quite a number of tries, we are able to arrange accordingly thus are able to call the correct number.  This 'trick' is a good activity to get children attention.

Problem No. 3

In this problem we need to find out how long it take for two shredder machines, the old and the new to completely shred.  It has taken me quite a while to figure out the answer using the mathematical model steps. From discussion and brainstorming help us to gets the answer correctly

In all the three problems it tell us about patterns in which the numbers can be identify.  Several methods can be used to solve the problems and articulate the concept.  I have re-learn and enjoy going back memory lane during school days when Math is the subject we love to hate.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

EDU 330 Elementary Mathematics

"I hate Math!". "I can never do Math!" these are common comments from adults and students who have failed Math.   Mathematics are seen to be subject that people love to hate.

Anyone can learn mathematics and learning mathematics is an essential life skill.

The important areas to teach MATH 

Mathematics Teaching Today listed six major components of the mathematics classroom that will allow student to develop mathematical understanding.  I believe these components are important areas to teach Math.
  •  Students should be given the opportunity to learn by setting up the environment that are engaging and interactive.
  • Focusing on the concept and understanding of Mathematics procedural fluency.
  • Given active participation in problem solving
  • Enhance understanding using technology.
  • Assess students aligned with instructional goals and mathematics practices.
  • Facilitate students in recognizing the reasoning and mathematical integrity. 

What Does It Mean to do Mathematics?

"Doing mathematics means generating strategies for solving problems, applying those approaches, seeing if they lead to solutions, and checking to see whether your answers make sense."(Van de Walle, J. pg13)