Poetry forms are like a puzzles. You have to take the words you want to say and rearrange them, find synonyms, and reformulate them until they can fit in a form. This problem solving is so similar in math.
One of the first forms to play with is the Haiku. It is a three line poem with no rhyming scheme that fits a syllable pattern of 5/7/5. Traditionally there is a season mentioned (Kigo) and a cutting word to compare two ideas (Kiru). Learners can try to do a traditional Haiku, or they can just work with the syllable pattern to start. This can be done in any classroom to contemplate the concepts that are being learned in a different way. When we relate these abstract ideas to our inner beings, we remember.
Once poems are complete, maybe a work of art can complement it.
This week learners can dive deep into their imaginary worlds (or real world inventions). The project this week is to create a map, castle, spacecraft or invention. The math focus will be on developing a sense of scale. Younger learners may practice scale with proportions in their drawings. Older learners may add units and measurements to their designs.
Offer various materials for their designs: graph paper, extra large sheets, engineering papers, isometric, or hex. Facilitators can supplement learning by looking at maps, blueprints, and patent designs that learners are interested in.
This week break out your blocks (or whatever building toy you enjoy). We are building a Sierpinski cube (Menger Sponge) or Sierpinski tetrahedron. I would also encourage learners to create their own shape and expand on it to create a self-similar sculpture or fractal (think what each iteration would look like).
2.) Use toothpicks and gumdrops, cardboard, paper, aluminum foil or other handy building tools in the house.
3.) Use lego (I try not to show learners pictures of the tool they are going to use. I think it’s important to figure it out and discover.)
4.) Try Lux blox – this took us quite a while for the third iteration, but it was fun. We found that for the first three sides we needed to build inward to “figure it out.” My daughter built the last two sides while I build inward. It was a lot of fun.
5. Goobi toys are great and my kids and I have built many fractals with them as well. Below is the Sierpinski tetrahedron.
I love to incorporate drawing skills into math education. This week I encourage learners to start seeing birds (or other animals/people) as shapes. Heads are circles, torsos are ellipses, beaks are triangles, wings are long ellipses…
Sketching is a skill. A skill is something that you can master in time (think growth mindset). This week I challenge learners to start a daily doodle routine. Just doodle something (anything) for 1-2 minutes a day.
Here is an example of the activity. I will use a hummingbird as guidance, but please feel free to pick any object/bird/animal. I tried to do this as a quick sketch example:
Some of the concepts and discussions around sketching can include proportions, ratios, what shapes fit best, etc. I encourage learners to research and dive deeper into sketching skills and drills. I truly believe that art and spatial awareness can be beautifully integrated into learning math.
Additional activity: For high school students in Algebra 2 or higher, they can use Geogebra to sketch the shapes for an animal. How do you plot a circle? an ellipse? triangles? etc. Desmos can be used at a precalculus and calculus level.
KMUZ’s Steven Slemenda interviewed our family in a two part series for a wonderful program called Poetry on the Air. Thanks to KMUZ and Steve Slemenda for sharing. This show is in the archives on their website, and with permission I am posting it here. My children were appreciative of the experience for the interview. It was such a wonderful exercise for them to reflect on. We are grateful for a way for voices to be heard in our Salem Community.