At Montessori Tides you can observe a school where students joyfully chose math over everything else, and where teachers simply serve the development of the mathematical mind.
Ms. Nancy shared, “My presence is to simply spark interest, light a torch, and then watch the children research and follow their inner drive to discover and unfold their joy for learning.”
Above all, Nancy feels teaching mathematics must be offered in a spirit of enjoyment and not an imposed requirement. Montessori manipulative materials are activates that nourishes the mathematical mind, but the real value is found in Ms. Nancy approach to present mathematics in a spirit of fun and ease.
In searching to serve her student’s best, Nancy discovered a fun and cognitive way to better teach estimation. Each week a different student is responsible to take home a jar and fill it with reasonable sized materials that can be easily counted.
Monday morning everyone looks at the jar and takes a guess of how many?
Once the children have their number in mind, they write it down on a piece of paper.
Tuesday morning the children answer a question – How many bunnies will fill the small jar? This estimating technique is known as clumping. After attaining an amount that will fill the little jar, children write it down on tape and place it on top. The idea behind clumping is the beginning of understanding how many little jars could fill the large jar. Once this technique is done, children have an opportunity to change their estimated guess from the day before.
Wednesday, Ms. Nancy applies other math skills to show a record of everyone’s guesses. This week she chose the tally graph. Moving from simple to more complexes, eventually she will apply fractions, bar graphs, pie graphs, or averages.
Thursday we count!
Friday we send home the jar to be filled and prepared for the following week.
Ms. Nancy’s gathering thoughts: “This lesson has definitely been effective. The first week I found the children’s guesses were just guesses. The second week I notice the children using the technique and thought more about the space. Their guesses grew more reasonable.” They’re estimating!