Posts Tagged ‘time’

 

Einstein’s theory of relativity states that time and space are not as constant as everyday life would suggest. Following Einstein’s theory, we can state that time seemingly moves faster or slower relative to things like your age or height. This explains why ten minutes to a five year old feels like eternity, while the exact span of time to an adult feels incredibly short. I can think back to when I was younger and I would stand guard at the window, and wait for my dad to come home. Every 30 seconds (but to me it seemed like hours), I would ask my mom, how much longer? And she would reply: “soon, Joanna. I just told you that Dad would be home in 10 minutes.” Clearly, her concept of ten minutes was much different than my own!

How can we apply this concept to the classroom? For students, teachers should focus on creating an engaging and interactive classroom environment that focuses on active, cooperative participation and problem solving. If students are actively involved in their learning, they will be more attentive and time will pass by seemingly quicker than if students were sitting at their desks working on independent tasks (worksheets).

For teachers, we can combine those nasty PLO’s and teach subjects together in order to save time and to show students how what we learn is interconnected and constantly changing; for example, teach fractals by going on a hike and studying fractals in trees (math, dpa, and science all in one lesson!)

Educators also need to help students understand the concept of time, what does time feel like? How does one’s perception of time change dependent on the activity (1 minute of sitting still vs. 1 minute of vigorous activity).  Our concepts of time vary with age and culture. This said, educators need to be mindful of time and how it affects each individual student.

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Mathematical language: It’s a tricky beast, and usually never easily understood (or explained). So why do we teach young students the same terminology that baffles adults? Why are we making mathematics more confusing for kids? And why are we not using simple terminology in order to explain mathematical concepts? We need to start unpacking terminology!

  

In the above diagram, a Right angle can be interpreted in many ways: to me, it looks like a left angle (L for left, like when we teach children how to know their right and left by looking at the shape their fingers make…)So how is a student supposed to know that this arbitrary angle, is called a right angle and is always set at 90 degrees? Instead of rote memorization, there needs to be more time spent on creating meaning for terms.  Have students get into the corner of a room and pretend they are a right angle (how does this feel, how do you know you are 90 degrees). Have examples of what right angles look like outside of textbook diagrams, or better yet, go for a walk and have students point out how many right angles they can see!

As educators, we need to take the time to teach what matters. Mathematics matters, and needs to be broken down and explained thoroughly so that students are able to build connections and strengthen their understanding of concepts.