Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Power of Ten Quilt

I am convinced that right now is the BEST time to be a math educator!

I don't know if you have noticed, but the subject of teaching mathematics is certainly in the spotlight as our state and national standards have changed. This makes me incredibly happy because it is the perfect opportunity for everyone to learn more about quality math instruction. Teaching math is different than what we might remember from our experiences learning it. Teaching math is also different from being "good" at the subject. And, if you think you are "bad" at it...I have life changing news for you: There is no such thing as a "math gene" and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

My power of ten quilt is a display of my continued learning about the base-ten system of numeration. It showcases the fascinating powers of ten and is a visual representation that helps build conceptual understanding.  In my perfect world, every elementary student would have the opportunity to create their own base-ten "quilt" to understand the relationship between a digit and its position in a number before using a place value chart or base-ten blocks. Often times students don't really understand what those models represent. When students create the base-ten model for themselves, they are also creating their own understanding of what is actually happening with the power of ten in regards to whole numbers and decimal numbers.
Another reason I love this model is because you can actually see the magnitude of the numbers. The square-strip-square-strip pattern will infinitely repeat. Wow.
A college math professor enlightened me when she spoke of changing the world with the powers of ten. She believed strongly that if she could influence 10 teachers to teach math differently, those 10 teachers would each influence 10 teachers and the circle of influence would become exponential. I'm one of those educators that she changed. It all begins with one so never underestimate the powers of ten you have inside you. 
I free-motion quilted each block of one hundred. Quilting 1,000 hundred blocks in this way was certainly a test of patience! 

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, administrator, or teacher you probably will come across a situation in your life where you will have the opportunity to teach a child mathematics. In fact, your influence could encourage or discourage the love of math to that young mind.

If you are interested in learning more about the topic of teaching mathematics, check out this online course by Jo Boaler from Stanford University called How to Learn Math: For Teachers and Parents. The instructor is also hosting a free webinar on May 6th.

Let's all do our part to go beyond "place naming" and travel deeper into the beauty of actually understanding of the value of numbers-both in our lives and in our math instruction!

1 comment:

  1. I wish you were my Grandson's Math teacher, he loves math. He is a young 8 in the 3rd grade, he started division in 2nd grade only one in the school. I think maybe I should learn more! I love your quilt but need to understand each part for better understanding!