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.