Sunday, June 26, 2011

More Math Play

We’ve been thinking about how to give our babies the necessary brain wiring in order to learn math. If you have a 6 month to one year old baby in your home or in your care, I hope you found containers and things to put in containers for baby’s play time. This activity helps baby learn to judge volume.
You may have expanded on my suggestion and have given your baby two or three different containers with objects they can enjoy putting in and dumping out. Now I will ask you to find two or three sets of safe objects that are all alike. For instance, one set could be wooden blocks, one set could be plastic rings, and one set could be small pieces of fabric. You need only three to five of each set to begin this adventure in beginning geometry. What is this all about? It is about beginning classification and set theory.
Have you noticed that when a baby is learning to talk and they learn the word, ‘doggy’, for the family pet, they will for a time call all furry things with four legs by the same name. In a sense, ‘doggy’ is the baby’s classification for animals. How cute it is to see an eighteen month child squeal with delight at seeing a cow and naming it, ‘doggy’. At this time in development they are beginning set theory. All animals are ‘doggy’ and everything to drink is ‘water’.
The three containers and the three sets you have provided will give your child practice in deciding for him or herself if the objects have similar attributes. Please do not insist that all the rings go in one container and the blocks in another. This learning takes place from within your baby not by your example. You certainly can say, “I’ll put the block with the other blocks,” but for your baby to eventually learn this sorting game, he needs to discover the common features in the blocks, the rings, and the pieces of fabric all by himself. The game is not over at age three or four. We continue to use classification and set theory all through our lives and as our brains develop, so does the complexity of the classification we are able to work with.

I see three – 1, 2, 3.
Three little bunnies  Reading the funnies.

I see three –1, 2, 3.
Three little kittens  All wearing mittens

I see three –1, 2, 3.
Three little frogs  Sitting on logs.

I see three –1, 2, 3.
Three little bears  Climbing upstairs.

I see three –1, 2, 3.
Three little ducks riding on trucks.

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