In the fall of 2012, I piloted a math circle curriculum for young children developed by the founders of the Art of Inquiry. You can read my review HERE. (Here is more information on what a math circle is and why they provide a better basis for understanding mathematics over a traditional computational textbook approach).
Starting December 2, you can engage with the organizers in a two week open on-line course for parents and teachers via the Open Minds Course.
The second week of the course will give you the opportunity to lead your own math circle with your kids and friends. The curriculum is best suited to children ages 8-9, but it can work for other ages, as well.
About the course (taken directly from the course web-site):
- Why: Preserve children’s divergent thinking. Develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Contribute to making a Creative Commons book about young problem solving.
- How: Provide a variety of insight problems to young children. Introduce complex, open-ended, and ill-defined problems as a way to teach problem solving skills. Recognize the feeling of being stuck as a necessary step in problem solving. Let children face deep, multi-dimensional problems. Meet other adventurous parents and educators. Contribute to research in math and problem-solving education.
- Who: The course organizers are Julia Brodsky, former NASA astronaut instructor and math and science teacher, and Dr. Maria Droujkova, math education consultant. The course participants are families, adventurous teachers, math clubs, playgroups, and other leaders of groups doing problem solving with young kids.
- What: In the first week of the course, we will discuss settings and practices for introducing problem solving to young children. You will look at topics from Julia’s math circle, and discuss how to teach them. In the second week, you will gather your kids and their friends in a casual math circle, try out the topics, and then answer a few questions about your experience.
- When: Sign up by December 2nd. The main course activities will happen December 2nd through 16th. Expect to spend several hours a week doing course tasks.
- Where: Main course activities will happen at our on-line ask and tell hub. Organizers will send you summary emails. We will have two live meetings on-line, at the beginning and at the end of the course, and post their recordings to this page.
The course is technically "free" but even small contributions ($1++) are most welcome. Contributions help to crowd-fund Julia Brodsky's book on problem solving. Pay $1 or more to receive the electronic book, and your name will be on the list of supporters in the book. Pay $25 or more to receive the paper book.
I found our experience last year with the Art of Inquiry to be incredibly valuable. I received no compensation to pilot or review the materials, or to write this post.
If you have any questions, please contact the organizers directly via the course web-site.
For my personal view of how to approach math at home see: Stop the Math-ness!