Math is Everywhere! April is Math Month

by | Apr 05, 2022

The Preschool Scientific Method

With young children, opportunities to investigate mathematics are everywhere. Math learning is taking place whenever the following activities are going on:

Observing — discovering and creating knowledge about the world using all the senses (e.g., seeing colors ranging from light to dark, hearing sounds that vary in pitch and loudness)

Exploring materials — discovering the properties of objects and how things work, seeing how things change when they are acted upon by people or events (e.g., seeing what happens when paint colors are mixed together, watching the monitor after hitting different computer keys)

Working with numbers — making intuitive judgments about quantity (i.e., pre-counting), understanding numerals represent numbers of objects, grasping one-to-one correspondence, counting, knowing a quantity stays the same even if the shape of the container or arrangement of objects changes (conservation) (e.g., seeing that three cookies is more than two cookies, putting one and only one plastic bear on each wooden block)

Ordering things — putting things in order according to some graduated attribute on which they differ, such as size, age, loudness, color intensity, and so on (e.g., hanging pots on a pegboard from biggest to smallest, singing a series of notes that increase in pitch)

Navigating in space — arranging objects, understanding how one’s body relates to its surroundings, fitting things together and taking them apart, understanding direction and position concepts (e.g., putting the widest block at the base of a tower, doing a jigsaw puzzle, building a hideout under the table)

Comparing quantities — recognizing bigger, smaller; more, less; and so on; comparing amounts in continuous materials (e.g., sand and water) and discrete objects (e.g., blocks and beads) (e.g., aligning two sticks to see which is longer, counting to see if their shirt or a friend’s has more snaps down the front)

Identifying regularities — recognizing, copying, adding to, and creating patterns; identifying regularity and repetition in objects and events; making predictions based on observed patterns (e.g., gluing a row of alternating red and blue circles, knowing that outside time always comes after snacktime in the daily routine)

Classifying — organizing and sorting information, fitting new information into existing categories or changing categories to fit the new information (e.g., from calling all four-legged pets dogs to differentiating dogs and cats, distinguishing living and nonliving things)

Drawing conclusions — offering explanations for what one observes, predicting — accurately or not — what will happen (e.g., deciding the cat likes wet food more than dry food because it eats more of it, guessing someone is older because he or she is taller)

Communicating ideas — sharing one’s thoughts about the world with others through talking, drawing, writing, or other means of representation (e.g., telling a classmate how to build a tall block tower that will not fall down, sharing how one got a computer program to work)



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