**"Small minds discuss persons. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss ideas. Really great minds discuss mathematics."**

** ~ Unknown**

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**Knowing Mathematics**

In the world of mathematics, there are patterns in different concepts. Processes such as problem solving, reasoning, communication, making connections and communication enable children to find patterns in concepts.

**Classroom designed for Mathematics.**

In order to aid the knowledge of mathematics, we have to design an environment which facilitates the learning. Freedom to express ideas should be cultivated in the classroom. As I mentioned earlier, children should be given opportunity to explore and learn. Setting up a learning corner as an extension of learning allows children to explore ideas independently.

While attempting to try the problems in the book, I realize that there is more than one way of solving problems

We are very familiar with Jean Piaget’s theory building schemas which mean that children build on their knowledge through their prior knowledge of the subject. When I asked children to arrange containers according to their size, they arranged it accordingly from big to small. After which, I taught children to teach children according to the width of the containers, they build on their knowledge and arranged them from the broadest container to the narrowest container. Thus it’s essential to for teachers to take note of children’s prior knowledge of subject matter and plan accordingly.

Another theory that I will emphasize would be Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. He emphasized on the zone of proximal development (ZPD). When an adult helps a student to learn, he will perform better. The area between unaided learning and aided learning is ZPD. Another feature of sociocultural theory is semiotic mediation of which information is passed through social communication to a person. Opportunities like group discussions should be given for children to interact socially in the class as it increases the learning potential of children.

When planning for a math lesson, I realized that it’s necessary to create new knowledge from previous experiences. For example; children in the kindergarten level basically know how to count by ones. When they learn how to count by 2’s, they learn a new way to count.

In preschool settings, children should learn concepts through trial and error. Through problem solving, children grasp maths concepts better.

Children comprehension of new concepts will increase if they relate to their prior knowledge. Some concepts are interrelated like the concept of money and counting by 2’s , 5’s and 10’s. Once I was teaching my class about heavy and light objects. Children related to the prior knowledge, if a heavy person sat on the sea-saw, he will go down. They related this concept to the pan balance. The heavy side of the pan balance will go down. By relating, children gain more problem skills and will become optimistic towards learning.

**Usage of Manipulative**

Manipulative can be used to represent concepts. Recently I used a connecting cubes and asked children to pair up and compare within themselves, who has more/less. By using these physical objects, children are able to understand the concept.

**Incorporating Technology in class. **

Technology can be incorporated in class through computers, interactive learning or even simple calculator. In my school, we incorporate the interactive whiteboard in the classroom. The modelling of a concept is magnified in the whiteboard so learning would be clearer and more fun.

**My thoughts....**

I agree that children learn best if they build on their prior knowledge. Classroom should also pose as positive environment for learning maths. Teachers should not stick to one way of solving problems rather they should be open about different solutions. Positive environment promotes positive learners.