Learning in mathematics and science Essay Example
Learning in mathematics and science Essay Example

Learning in mathematics and science Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (2198 words)
  • Published: August 14, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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The reason for creating a cross-curricular resource box centered around 'The Rainbow Fish' is to help children better understand scientific and mathematical concepts. The box includes activities for Reception students who are exploring numeration in Mathematics, as well as materials and properties in Science. These activities based on 'The Rainbow Fish' are intended to promote conceptual learning in Maths and Science, with counting being an essential foundation for Mathematics. The National Curriculum emphasizes that counting skills are practical and applicable in daily life. The Primary Numeracy Strategy highlights using mathematical methods to solve practical problems, including identifying numbers that are one less or more than a given figure. Numeration is something that children can learn spontaneously, according to Anghileri (2001), who identifies the importance of learning through different contexts, such as cross-curricular activities or play. Howe


ver, it is also necessary to recognize that children learn differently and might require additional assistance to understand how they are learning, which can strengthen their ability to make links between concepts effectively.Askew and Wiliam (1995, p.5) suggest that learning math can be seen as a mechanical process which lacks clarity on how and why numeration is considered mechanical and its impact on children's learning. Anghileri's theory proposes that by putting counting into contexts like songs and games, children can develop a natural understanding of principles and rules. Science provides opportunities for children to explore the world around them using their senses and develop skills, attitudes, and understanding of materials and their properties through EYFS requirements. Misconceptions can arise during scientific learning, such as confusion between materials and the object created from them. Guest (2003, pp.2-6) suggests that Paiget's constructivis

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approach could be applied to scientific learning in children to address such issues.Children can develop their own understanding through their experiences, and there are no fixed rules for learning, except for strategies that ignite children's curiosity and misconceptions. Appendix provides an explanation of how to use a box to facilitate learning. In activity one, children, in pairs and with varying abilities, play a board game using a 1-6 die. Children read the instructions and add or remove beads from their fish depending on the position they land on the board. The child with the most beads at the end wins, improving their counting skills up to ten. Activity two involves using a fishing rod to catch fish with numbers 1-10. Children keep the fish if they correctly answer the teacher's questions. Questions can be tailored to individual students' needs for extension purposes. Activity three teaches children to identify and describe material properties (plastic, paper, wood, velvet, playdough, and wool). Using sorting rings, children group these materials independently and explain their reasoning to the teacher by answering questions like "why have you put velvet and plastic here?"The objective is to group materials into five categories: transparency, stretchability, squishiness, softness and hardness. Children will be asked to identify the properties of various materials and sort them accordingly. To aid in the learning process, an instructor will guide the children through a sensory activity using a feely box filled with fish made from different materials. The children will touch and observe the fish, then describe their characteristics to determine the materials they are made from. A display of natural materials will also be shown for visual comparison and

further testing of the children's hypotheses. Principles of counting and material properties must both be considered while teaching, including the "one-one" rule for assigning names to each object being counted and "stable order" rule stating that numbers should be counted in sequence, followed by the "cardinal" rule for determining the total number of objects. Finally, the "abstraction" rule applies, emphasizing that all objects are counted regardless of their differences in properties.The concept of 'order irrelevancy' as the 5th rule, described in Thompson's (1997, p.35-37) work, indicates that counting points can be done in any sequence. This understanding enables the teaching of numeration and other related topics and can reflect EYFS principles. Employing practical tools like material fish with numbers may facilitate children's exploration and the creation of connections. Koshy (1999, p.17) asserts that learning relies on an individual's ability to identify relationships between concepts. It is important to provide children with the opportunity for self-led exploration to create connections independently. However, it is unclear how effectively children are able to achieve this without proper guidance or questioning. Williams (2008, p.60) found that given time and space, child-led activities can uncover mathematical ideas and concepts. In activity two and the first part of three, Harlen (1993) recommends using questioning techniques that encourage children to explore and respond, such as "How can we work out what two more than eight is?" or "Why have you grouped the wood with plastic?"According to (1993, p.83), initial misconceptions may arise from certain responses, and these can serve as starting points for building concepts. This is demonstrated through interaction and formative assessment (Black and Wiliam, 2001, pp.2-14). Assessing learning directly with

children can help develop class ethos, allowing for more time for interaction and observation rather than typical assessment methods such as collecting work. However, although appealing, Harlen (1993, p.83) and Westwood (2000, p.51) argue that language used in questioning could affect children's understanding. The use of open or closed questions can lead to false observations and assessments, as the way questions are constructed influences the answers received. Although Harlen and Westwood's perspective may be considered an opinion without sufficient statistics and evidence to prove how language usage in questioning detracts from learning, there is a strong relationship between language importance in learning. Although my questioning helped children reflect and achieve objectives, I did not assess whether the language used in my questioning facilitated children in achieving their goals as I may have given them the answer through my questioning by saying "to calculate this out, we need to add..."According to Harlen and Westwood's guidelines, a thoughtful and critical approach to questioning should be employed. Practitioners can evaluate how language is used in inquiries and identify necessary improvements to encourage children's constructive thinking and learning, following Brunel's child-led approach (Smith 2003, p.405). Williams and Vygotsky (1962, p.405) believe discussions promote children's conceptual learning. Activity one allows children to cooperate and develop teambuilding and communication skills through exploratory talk where they rephrase and correct each other. Positive relationships are formed as children learn together. However, Williams and Vygotsky's bias towards collaboration could lead to some children feeling uncertain or reluctant to assist their peers, questioning the reliability of their viewpoint. Barnes (1976, pp.31) suggests that children may not participate in activity one independently due to lack of

authority figures.In order to achieve successful learning experiences for all children, it is important to balance when to encourage them to explore and when to redirect their focus back to the game. Williams (2008, p.36) emphasizes that learning can be developed through children's experiences of games and play. Enhancing children's learning through explorative play is an aspect of learning in foundation settings. In activity three, the second part should promote understanding by allowing children to clarify, expand, and reinforce their ideas (Oliver 2006, p.144). Oliver's (2006) position can be achieved through discussion, particularly for those in need of encouragement. Both Williams and Oliver's approach overcome inclusion barriers by involving all children in the game and helping each other reach learning outcomes, thereby allowing the Vygotsky's ZPD (2003, p.497) to develop children's ability to complete a task. Children experience successful learning following Froebel's (1906, p.229) theory since play influences learning more than rote learning approaches. Supporting Waite's (2006, p.12) idea, play may enable children to adjust to the classroom environment and explain the importance of personal and social learning (Wood 2001, p.12), rather than solely supporting self-actualization (Maslow 1987, p.12).Activity three not only promotes learning but also offers an enjoyable way for children to embrace "enjoy and achieve through games" according to ECM (2009, online) and "build concepts and skills through play" according to EYFS (2007, online). Scott's (1985) study on physics games supports the argument made by Williams and Oliver that games provide opportunities for discussion and dialogue between boys and girls (Bentley 1989, p.127). However, one may question whether this takes into account communication barriers among diverse children. When considering secondary physics, it is

uncertain whether the results can be applied to primary school children, as primary students tend to work independently rather than cooperatively as observed with secondary students. The activities utilize probes, which are used to facilitate problem-solving skills. Probes in activity two and the second part of activity three relate to problem-solving by presenting a situation requiring inquiry and explanation. Both VESP (1992, p.48) and Aksis (1998, pp.4-6) acknowledge that thinking and responding help children engage in the activity and develop interpretation, questioning, predicting, and speculating skills to suggest solutions. However, VESP and Aksis make the false assumption that all children possess these skills.According to Bentley (1989, p.82), research suggests that creating open learning situations, as opposed to traditional didactic teaching methods, can change the views of both researchers. However, ASE (1998 p.6) challenges this perspective, arguing that focusing on planning and executing investigations, rather than evaluating the investigative process to determine "how did we come to our conclusion," ignores the skills that can be acquired through open learning situations. It is possible that this difficulty in achieving timely student engagement may be the cause. ASE concluded that in primary schools, only half of the class conducts investigations. This goes against the equal opportunities and engagement rules of ECM and EYFS, and can lead to students not involved in investigations having their innate abilities overlooked. Activities two and three do not follow the traditional teaching method and allow all students to participate regardless of their scheduled class time, ensuring that every child has the right to learn. Otherwise, we risk imposing a learning style on children that may not suit them, which would not be the

case if they carried out investigations. Mistakes made during these activities may include counting the same space twice on the board and difficulty identifying random numbers and counting to/from a number.According to Hansen (2005) and Smith (1997), children commonly make mistakes when learning to count. To address this, reinforcement should be provided for numbering rules (Bruce, 2005, pp.25). By considering these issues and finding ways to overcome them, educators can facilitate interactive and engaging lessons that encourage creativity and social learning. Children will enjoy activities like throwing dice and catching fish, sharing their experiences, and experimenting with numeration. By observing their understanding of materials and counting, educators can identify areas in need of improvement and provide necessary support (Vygotsky, Smith et al., 2003). Through experimentation and self-correction, children gain valuable insights into the principles and practices of arithmetic (Bruce, 2005, p. 64). Anghileri (2001) and Askew & William (1995) provide valuable resources for educators seeking to improve mathematical instruction.In London, the HMSO published Barnes' book "From Communication to Curriculum" in 1976, while Penguin published Bentley and Watts' "Learning and Teaching in School Science" in Milton Keynes in 1989. Black and Wiliam's "Inside the Black Box: Raising Criteria through Classroom Assessment" was published by Kings College London School of Instruction in 2001, and Bruce's "Early Childhood Education" was published by Hodder Arnold in London in its third edition in 2005. The DfES published "The Early Years Foundation Phase" online in 2007 and "Every Child Matters" online in 2009. In 2007, Evans created "The Rainbow Fish Maths Game." Froebel's "The Education of Man" was published in New York by Appleton in 1906. Guest's online publication, "Alternate Models

for Primary Science," was available at www.scitutors.org.uk/.../p4.1_6.0b_misconceptions_primary_science.doc as of October 8th, 2009. Harlen's "Teaching and Learning Primary Science, Second Edition" was published by Paul Chapman in London in 1993. Koshy's work on "Effective Teaching of Numeracy for the National Mathematics Framework" is also noteworthy.London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1987. Cambridge: Harper and Row, 1987. Oliver, A., Creative Instruction Scientific Discipline in the Early Years and Primary Classroom. USA and Canada: David Fulton, 2006. Primary National Strategy, Primary Model for Mathematics Learning Aims. [Online]. Available: http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/strands/34759/34265/110211 [6th November 2009]. QCA, National Curriculum Science KS1. [Online]. Available: http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/key-stages-1-and-2/subjects/science/keystage1/index.aspx?return=/key-stages-1-and-2/subjects/index.aspx [26th October 2009]. Smith, P., Cowie, H., Blades, M., Understanding Children's Development, 4th Edition. England: Blackwell Publishing, 2003. Sparklebox, Numberlines. [Online]. Available: http://www.sparklebox.co.uk/md/counting/lines.html [6th November 2009]. Thompson, I., Teaching and Learning Early Numbers, Buckingham: Open University Press, 1997. Vermont Elementary Science Project, On the Run Reference Guide to the Nature of Simple Science for the Student. Vermont: Burlington, 1992. Vygotsky, L., Thought and Language. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1962.The AKSIS Project, conducted by Watson, R., Goldaworthy, A., and Robinson, V. (1998) at Cambridge's MIT Imperativeness, and the Final Study: Evaluation of Excellence and Enjoyment, on learning in primary years continuing professional development materials, conducted by Waite, S., Carrington, V., and Passy, R. (2005) for QCA in London are valuable resources. In addition, Westwood, P.'s (2000) Numeracy and Learning troubles: Approaches to learning and assessment is a useful guide published by the Australian Council for Educational Research in Camberwell.

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