I often hear parents comment on the “newer” math terminology that is used in school. True. In school, back in the day, we used to call it “graphing”, period. But there’s so much more to “graphing” than graphing itself. The language used in the Ontario Progress Report Card and by the Ontario Ministry of Education is Data Management which is much more accurate of what graphing really entails. The last graph you saw required:
- the need to get information (for advertising for example)
- the collection of information (a survey perhaps?)
- the display of that information in such a way that people would most easily be able to interpret it (tables, circle, plot, bar graphs)
So in other words Data Management, is about how we organize information to make it easy to understand.
As our world becomes increasingly more visual, we need to develop the types of skills that allow us to interpret what we see and understand what it’s really trying to tell us, how to create and organize information and how to find bias in that information. A pre-curser to all of that is the ability to sort things. Pretty simple huh? It doesn’t require much, just what you have on hand.
Here are some ideas to try with the younger set (Kindergarten -gr.1) at home. (I’ll have some ideas for the older folks in a later post.) In the early primary years, one of the many expectations laid out in the Ontario Curriculum states that children are to: demonstrate the ability to organize objects into categories and that students should be able to sort and classify objects using one attribute (size, colour, shape).
Without further ado:
Have your child notice the categorization and organization of produce in the market…
Let your kids help you sort groceries either while shopping or at home. It may sound messy but it’s very concrete for them. They can sort cans into sizes and do the same for boxes for example.
Or they can sort by type of food. You can extend the activity by having them re-sort in different ways. In order for you to actually get something beyond math learning, have them sort first using something like colour or size, and then sort through “type” so that that can actually help you to house the food you bought. Two in one, who can ask for more?
Children can sort jelly beans easily by colour, dry legumes/ beans by shape or colour…
Or help sort materials into recycling containers…
After laundry is done, they can sort their socks by colour, size, owner, patterns, (and help you match up the missing ones!)…
They can sort Lego pieces by colour and size, while cleaning up their playful mess…
Or sort cutlery (if they can be trusted…)
You get the idea…
Not so messy, a little bit of fun, and sorting practice to boot. Math is everywhere!