Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mathematics, a Creative Art Form

Last Thursday marked the end of the math part of my Teaching Elementary School Math and Science course. To mark the event the students presented their eNotebooks to each other. The idea behind this assignment is for the students to celebrate the existence of math in its many forms outside the four walls of the classroom, be they school, college or otherwise. In groups of 1 to 3 the student choose a topic and then find 12 things mathematical about that topic and create an eNotebook using some form of technology such as PowerPoint or a Blog. I then celebrate their work by putting the eNotebooks on the Math Education website.

I am often amazed at the creative way students choose to connect with the math in their lives. This semester, Emily and Kelsey chose to do the math of high-jumping because they had both been high-jumpers in high school. I had no idea that nearly all high jumpers use five large and five small steps in their run up to the jump.

It's been quite a week of creativity. Sebastian, a senior ed. major sent me a link to Sir Ken Robinson's TED on creativity. It was so neat I showed it to my Schools and Society class yesterday. I always think that teaching is such a creative art form that there has to be a way to help future teachers be more creative in their teaching as well as include more of the creative arts in the school curriculum.

I took the picture above on Durham railway station in England a few years ago. I wonder how many people stopped to wonder what sort of thought went into deciding how to write "This way to Platforms 1 to 3". It could have been "1,2,3" or "1,2, and 3" or even the really interesting "1, two, 3"!!!!

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