Making Math Fun
Making Math Fun
Natalie A. Trout
When a Canterbury Grade 1 student brought in a bag of corn from her grandfather's farm, someone asked, "How many kernels are on one ear of corn?" That question sparked a new math lesson and activity for Linda Corson's Grade 1 class. Students predicted the number of kernels on their ear, and then, in pairs, they devised a strategy for picking and counting.

"I was thrilled to watch them work it out with their partner," Corson said. "They encouraged each other and stayed in the struggle until the cob was bare!"

It wasn't the only day students enjoyed math in Corson's classroom. The Grade 1 team has discovered that Math Work Stations cover all that they need to teach, offer movement for the children, let them work in small groups, and allow them the opportunity to differentiate the lessons.

For Grade 1 students, it's important to establish a solid base of number sense and seeing patterns.

"The best way to do that is by letting children 'play' with manipulatives to discover greater than, less than, place value, and so much more," Corson said.

Kelly Madarang teaches math in Kindergarten through Grade 4. Madarang created Canterbury's Math Enrichment curriculum around three founding principles that encourage students to be more open and interested in math:

  1. Math is not about speed. It is about thinking deeply and making connections between concepts. Taking the focus off speech allows for deeper thinking and promotes perseverance with challenging problems.
  2. Mistakes grow our brains. Students learn to be comfortable with mistakes and use them as a learning opportunity.
  3. All students can learn math! Anyone can learn math if they work hard and believe in themselves.

Madarang said math at the Lower School level is important, as students are developing confidence in their abilities.

"I am passionate about inspiring students at this critical milestone in their lives," she said. "I want all students to feel confident and capable about math!"

Canterbury School is proud to give its teachers the flexibility and freedom to teach in a way that they know is best for their students. Learn more about Canterbury academics here.

And in case anyone was wondering, Corson's class discovered that an average ear of corn has approximately 660 kernels.

"The lesson and activity took two days of math time," Corson said. "Time well spent."