We just completed an 8 session math club at the Saandeepani Academy for Excellence. It was a new experience for most of the children who attended, but the excitement was there for all to see. The combination of Dragnπ games, activities and extended problem solving sessions had learners engaged throughout the 8 sessions, and we covered a range of topics from the CBSE curriculum.
One batch consisted of students from grades 1, 2 and 3. The second batch had student of Grade 4 and 5. In this blog, we briefly cover what we covered in the sessions so that parents have a good idea of the learning that took place and what more they can expect from Dragnπ math clubs.
The 8 sessions for the grades 1, 2 and 3 students touched upon the following:
- Place value game — children were asked to pick up number cards and build 2, 3 and 4 digit numbers. Based on the skill level of the children, they were given different tasks — some were asked to read out the different numbers created, while others were asked to order the numbers in ascending and descending order. As the children gained mastery, additional objectives were added (like largest number wins, smallest number wins, second largest number wins etc). This really helped reinforce the concept of place value.
- Skip counting games and ‘fizz buzz’ — these games are meant to build and improve mental math ability, and help children effortlessly remember the multiplication tables without having to memorize them. We started with skip counting of 2s and 3s, and eventually went up to doing 6s and 7s with major improvements in the speed of mental calculation.
- In the last 4 classes, we focused on quick addition with the help of montessori equipment and card games. At Dragnπ we call these ‘number bonds’. We focused on various ways to add to ten, add to twenty and so on.
- In the last class, we focused on identification of shapes. We tried to focus on shapes which had more than 4 sides. The children came up with creative ways of drawing 5 and 6 sided shapes. We walked around the school block looking for shapes around us — out in nature and also on the notice boards. As part of this class, we also worked on identifying patterns. We talked about identifying patterns in nature, and how math was also to a large extent about identifying patterns in nature.
For the grade 4 and 5 students, we focused on the following:
- We started with reinforcing patterns through playing the ‘fizz buzz’ game described above. For this age group, we added a little bit of challenge by asking the children to eventually build up to replacing 3 with fizz and 5 with buzz by the end of the session. Over the course of the 8 sessions, children were able to play the same game even with multiples of 4s and 6s. By the end of the 8 sessions, we were also adding in primes to the fizz buzz game!
- We also tried to get children to imagine what patterns would be created when visualizing different activities. For example, if a person is swimming free style and has a light attached to his right hand, if you were sitting outside the pool and looked only at the light, what sort of pattern would the light create as the swimmer did the stroke? We first tried to imagine this, and then drew this on the board so everyone could see what it would really look like.
- As part of the focus on pattern recognition, the children were introduced to the Fibonacci series. It was great to see that they were very interested to see how quickly the series grows — once they got the hang of it, they wanted to go home and find out how many more terms it would take to pass 10,000. In class, before they left, they were asked to estimate how many more terms it would take to get from 600 to 10,000. Some said 50, others said 150. Of course, there were less than ten more terms needed!
- We introduced the concept of ‘squares’ by drawing squares which consisted of smaller squares — so a square of 5 would have 5 squares across the top and 5 on the side, resulting in a larger square of 25 smaller squares. We spoke about ‘area’ and how it was related to the concept of squares. As a follow on, children repeated the same activity with rectangles. The challenge was to draw as many rectangles of a given area, so a rectangle with an area of 24 cm square could be made as 8x3, 12x2 and 6x4. Such exercises introduce children to the concept of factorization whilst also getting them used to geometrical shapes and calculating area.
- The children were introduced to the concept of prime numbers — numbers which can only be divided by 1 and themselves. With a bit of practice, they were able to go all the way up to 100 and see whether a number was prime. Simple divisibility rules came into play here as they realised that any number ending in an even number could not be a prime (Except 2 of course).
- Lots of mental math games involving cards, which help children gain skills with respect to combinations of numbers — adding, multiplying and some children even got up to the level of using powers in their calculations.
7. We finished with an introduction to angles using Dragnπ equipment, and how angles can be combined to make various other angles. This equipment also reinforces concepts of addition and multiplication, and we explored various possibilities like three 30° angles make a right angle, but how many 15° angles make a 90° angle?
On the whole, as tutors, we could see major changes in the responses of children as the 8 weeks went by. Their confidence improved, and they were able to make linkages between various math concepts. We can’t wait to start the second batch now!
Dragnπ is an initiative by SIRPI, where small groups of children work with expert tutors on math, logical reasoning and problem solving skills. The folks at Dragnπ have spent a lot of time on creating games and activities which give children ample opportunity to gain skills whilst having fun. Get in touch with us to learn more or if you want to start a Dragnπ Math Club at your school! You can reach us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org