Here you will see students as young as 4 and 5 years old doing algebra and "advanced" math, without ever knowing it's supposed to be hard.
You are invited to learn how to use this method...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Crewton Ramone Using Base Ten Blocks In The Classroom.

Here is a second post about how easy it is to incorporate base ten blocks into your classroom situation. Here is the other post I did called Crewton Ramone In the Classroom.

 This is also great for stoking their imaginations as they tell stories about the ruins of Egypt and Great MATH Pyramids.

I've gotten into contentious debates about whether little kids can do math like this. What is so hard about it? They use their ability to discover SAME on both sides to discover x and then they have to do some more thinking to discover what the number is that is disguised on either side. You start off easy and work your way up...in both of the cases I cover here some students got the answers instantly.

You can hear one little girl in the class throughout that vid. She has been given lots of labels, I wanted her to stay in the class even though she is disruptive because like all the other kids given the chance she proves to be pretty good at math and this is valuable at repairing her damaged self esteem. Anyhow, there is a myth that employing base ten blocks will cause mayhem in the classroom. This doesn't have to be the case as seen here:

I will be the first to admit that it CAN get loud and out of control if you let it. Here some of the class is gone because they have remedial reading, but groups of four per combo kit works well and there could easily have been all 24 of them. I never really got any of the lessons on Pythagorean theorem I did on vid but factoring, fractions and percents are all easy to do with manipulatives. Here is an additional page on how to teach addition. (Get it additional!! C'mon--that's funny right there.) You could spend quite a bit of time there if you follow all the links on that page.

At the same time you introduce those concepts you play and build addends learn about integers and subtraction and practice multiplication so they can see the whole picture not just tiny compartmentalized parts.

This one shows them being creative, developing their fine motor skills and more. They not only built addends they had to work at getting the sevens fence to work using the posts...which are addends for 5...younger students would have a hard time making that fence work...these activities are great for preschool thru 3rd grade although older kids like to play too and some who never mastered their addends could also benefit.

Building and playing gives them a positive math experience.

They are in second grade. It shouldn't be work. It should be fun. These kids looked forward to Mondays with Crewton Ramone. They go home and tell their parents about what they did and the parents are amazed at their little second graders explaining factoring or Pythagorean theorem to them, I was at a birthday party and basically got mobbed by the parents there who were amazed that I was the math guy. They thanked me for teaching their kids math beyond adding and subtracting which is about the extent of the accepted 2nd grade curriculum... Adding subtracting a little measurement money and time telling.

This one can get out of hand because if they aren't careful the towers crash and there is a lot of excitement. Note that the point is to build addends NOT to build towers. I have seen teachers have them build using all the same blocks instead of the combinations...which defeats the purpose. Also you can count each level by the 4 or five blocks they used to get some skip counting in...in other words count the all the 7's on the 7 level...7, 14, 21, 28, 35...all the nines on the nines level etc just to get the patterns for the first few in.

For older kids (third or fourth graders) I make them build it and then tell me how many units they used...they have to do a lot of counting. That means count every block...including the hundreds...so lessee that's 100 plus 5 tens, plus another 100 plus 6 nines plus another hundred etc...some kids count all the hundreds then the pillars...no matter how they do t it's a great exercise in addition and multiplication.

Here is another fun exercise making a cube (it takes two top trays however) and I didn't make this vid in the classroom but at home with three home schoolers but there's nothing stopping you from doing in the classroom if you have the blocks. I did this with the first graders but never got it on vid. I made them line up and each kid built a combination and they went around and around their tables as fast as they could trying to build theirs faster than the other teams. A teacher could help keep the blocks straight and from falling down as it gets ten high. When you are done you can talk about cubes and notation if you want.

All in all it's EASY to use blocks in the classroom. You will find that just by playing they learn their addends and a lot more all on their own. Some direction from you can help but it's more fun and effective than worksheets and book work, the students learn more faster and you will earn a reputation as a good teacher and a fun teacher that students look forward to coming to rather than not.

Here is a page at the house of math that has a little more about using base ten blocks in the classroom and an instructional video with a million dollar idea in it...it basically links back to this blog post and the other one but it also contains a little more info and a couple of other vids to help you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Never Too Young To Build Tens

People are always amazed that somehow children learn math through play. This is because when they remember math there probably wasn't much play or fun associated with it. In fact a lot of people would rather not remember their math experiences at all because they often were so bad.

How about you break this cycle with your kids and give them fun math experiences instead, and happy memories. Use math manipulatives and play and have some fun learning. The idea is to give them an algorithm to solve problems like 7 + 8, but before we do that we have to understand that numbers are made up of other numbers and in order to do that we need to build them starting usually with 10.

 It's like stairs dad! And the two falling off was all kinds of funny.

This little girl is building tens we built other numbers and counted pairs of numbers too but we spent a lot of time on ten and nines. I'd say this qualifies as quality time with dad. We didn't attempt to write anything at all. Just built and talked about the numbers. Using base ten blocks makes it visually obvious to the child and later when they do see symbols the symbols make sense. She gets a full sensory experience using BOTH hands, hearing and seeing what we are learning as we go...whether she is a kinesthetic learner, a visual or auditory learner doesn't really matter...we cover all the bases. Further, even if she was dyslexic it wouldn't matter there are no symbols to confuse and the base ten blocks level that playing field too. She can see what she is doing and hear her father and I tell her that nine and one is the same as ten.

People often think that in order for them to learn math they have to write it down or they aren't really learning it. Really? Do you get little babies to write words down when you are teaching them English? Or do you just talk to them and they pick up the language that way and later maybe when they are 4 or 5 put a crayon in their hand and let them start learning to write letters...but just because they have a hard time writing their letters doesn't mean they can't speak English. Apply the same thinking and reasoning to the mathematics which is also a language.

 I can do it...
You start with very basic concepts like numbers are made up of other numbers and they all want to be ten. You can build tens up and down or you can build them flat or you can make walls. It doesn't matter. If you build sky scrapers they get a good sense of ordination...that is 2 is 1 more than 1 and 3 is 2 + 1 and so on all the way to ten...here she started with 10 first and worked we our way down. There is no wrong way to play you don't have to start at one. She built NINES and TENS.

 Building nines is fun and easy.

She looks pretty happy, doesn't she? She was being bribed with goji berries at the time but who cares? She had fun and she did her "work" with lots of smiles and discoveries that caused some exclamations. "6+4 is 10 and 4+6 is also 10!" Some methodologies say you shouldn't reward them and the learning itself should be the reward. Fine. I've seen kids move mountains of math for a piece of chocolate. make the associations with math pleasant from an early age. I give this dad credit because he understands it's extra important to give his daughter a good head start when it come to math (and other subjects) but especially math. Our culture still perpetuates the myth that math is a guy thing, the same way a few hundred years ago reading was a guy thing...

 You don't have to go in order just play.
She was having fun building this ten wall on her own. No need to tell her to go in oder starting with nine and one. After a bit we asked her if she could use different combinations but at this point just building the wall that high without knocking it over was a big deal. Fine motor skills being developed...it's more than just math going here.

You can see these shots were taken on two different days about a week apart. In that amount of time at this age it's basically new again. But the repetition isn't lost and neither are the concepts. It's in there. The sub conscious mind stores everything. Later we can bring it out again. To educate. To draw fourth....not to cram in. AND when we draw it fourth it will come with pleasant associations making everything that much easier.

Basically we are working on addends here which will make addition much easier later on. I have pages on addends and addition and more games and activities you can play over at my website Crewton Ramone's House of Math.  Join us on FaceBook. And spend some time watching videos on youtube for more info on how to PLAY math.