Introduction

This report will focus on the mathematical theme of counting. Also exploring how children can learn the concepts related to counting through everyday activities at home or in the school. The report will also discuss theories of learning and how they have been applied to the design and planning of the lesson.

The curriculum

The national curriculum states that a child must be able to:

“Count on and back in tens or hundreds from any two- or three-digit number; recognise and continue number sequences formed by counting on or back in steps of constant size from any integer, extending to negative integers when counting back.”

Everyday Learning Activities

In everyday activities math’s is used in some way. As children develop and grow their minds become more mathematical. They want to spend money; they want to be able to count the number presents they get on their birthday and how much money they have got. There is no way in which mathematics cannot be used in everyday life and activities.

“… Fuzzy reasoning matches more closely the form of reasoning that would be adopted by adults and that develops naturally in children.” (Logie 1993)

By using the local surroundings to help support learning enables children to understand the world, help physical development, personal and social development, numeracy and literacy and social development, Gardner (1993) states that the ability of Naturalist intelligence enables human beings to recognize, categorize and draw upon certain features of the environment. It 'combines a description of the core ability with a characterization of the role that many cultures value.’

Children are constantly learning. What may seem like a regular daily activity to us can be an opportunity for children to discover understandings about the world around them and develop skills to build on. As Educators it is our job to provide children with the opportunities to discover the best way from them to find them self as a learner and what learning style fits their personality. There are many activities at home or at school which can be scheduled to help them.

Objectives of the lesson

With any lesson there has to be objectives or you cannot evaluate the lesson and observe the children’s ability. The objectives are:

• Be able to count on and back in tens or hundreds

• Recognise and continue number sequences

• Extending to negative integers when counting back

Lesson at School

In a classroom the teachers set up seven different work stations. Each table will consist of different teaching methods but will teach the same mathematical theme.

• Table 1 – Linguistic

• A simple lecture where the teacher stands and gives a verbal teaching of counting.

• Table 2 – Logical

• The teacher uses mental arithmetic such as 10+10, 20 ÷ 5.

• Table 3 – Musical

• Using music, the teacher will play musical chairs, counting the number of children taking part and the number of chairs which are taken away at each interval.

• Table 4 – Kinesthetic

• Using an old twister mat, on each spot write a number and then the children are told in turns to dance, hop, skip and crawl to a number after a sum id shouted out by a teacher.

• Table 5 – Spatial Visual

• Using Flash cards, the teacher will show flash cards with a sum on and for the children to be able to answer the question they must be able to count up to a certain number for the teacher to allow them to find the answer to the flash card sum.

• Table 6 – Interpersonal

• The children will sit on chairs in a circle and will help each other out solving sums. They will interact in little groups of three.

• Table 7 – Intrapersonal

• The children will work individually on worksheets using number lines.

From this teachers are able to observe and evaluate each pupil. This will be a revolving cycle which will allow all participating children to experience the different stations. The best way of evaluating the learner’s is to test them by shouting out sums and seeing who replies and how quickly, handing out work sheets stating the children must show their method of working out and one on one discussions.

Activities at Home

At home children do not realise that their home is the biggest learning environment as they are learning from everything and everyone in their surroundings. Many activities arrive from indoor and outdoor games.

• Counting the number of steps in the house and then walking up the stairs and counting how many steps they have walked and how many left to get to the top or bottom.

• When eating, how many items there are on their plate.

• Counting number of minutes/hours it takes for their parents to cook the dinner.

• Making a list of vegetables they will look for when they go shopping.

• When shopping count the number of items in the trolley or basket.

• When shopping, round off the price of every item to the nearest ten or pound.

• Counting the number of DVD’s they have putting them in order of year they were released.

These are all factors of counting will help develop children become more confident in school and help build their mathematical skills.

Theories of Learning

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences has been a popular tool in the education system. It is being used in schools across the world but still has a lot of negativity shown towards his method. Piaget believed that intelligence was a single general capacity that developed pretty much in the same way across individuals, where as Gardner believes that humans posses a number of relatively independent intelligences and these can function and interact in idiosyncratic ways. (Cited Seligman 2008)

Gardner (1998) stated “Piaget believed in general stages of development that cut across contents (Space, time, number); I now believe that each area of content has its own rules and operations and I am dubious about the existence of general stages and structures. “

Horn (1989) argues that the expressions of these abilities "... are outcroppings of distinct influences operating through development, brain function, genetic determination, and the adjustments, adaptations, and achievements of school and work."

To prove that Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory is a strong based learning method, the lesson was planned on using Gardner’s theory.

Like Piaget, Vygotsky believes that young children are curious and actively involved in their own learning and the discovery and development of new understandings/schema. However, Vygotsky placed more emphasis on social assistance to the process of development, whereas Piaget emphasised self-initiated discovery.

On table 6 and 7 of the lesson, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory are similar to the beliefs of Piaget and Vygotsky, but not all aspects of the theory can be agreed with.

Also Bandura’s Social Learning Theory (1986) was taken in account as “Children learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” (Bandura 1986) This binds with most of the tables in the lesson as a skilled tutor will model each activity and the children will observe and then replicate what they were taught.

Evaluation

All the activities in the lesson and at home have been devised and based on different theories. The idea that people learn in different ways has been explored over the last few decades by the likes of Gardner, Horn and many more. Kolb found that individuals begin with their preferred style in the experiential learning cycle. Honey and Mumford (1986 cited in McGill & Beaty 1995) building on Kolb's work, identified four learning styles are Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist.

There are many strengths and weaknesses in each of these learning styles. Honey and Mumford argue that learning is enhanced when children think about their learning style so that they can build on their strengths and work towards minimising weaknesses to improve the quality of learning.

This lesson will have its fault and can be improved. Instead of concentrating on Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory more focus on Bandura’s Social Learning theory or Piaget’s Cognitive Development theory and maybe taking the lesson outside of the classroom.

Some of the tasks in the lesson can be cross curricular as Math’s can be used in ICT, and Physical Education as well as Science. Many teachers will use some kind of theory to help teach different mathematical themes in lessons. When assessing the lesson they must match the objectives of the lesson. To find out if the lesson is successful the teacher must match the results of the tests which would be carried out using mental arithmetic, work sheets and discussion with the children to the objectives. If the outcome does not meet the terms of the objectives then the lesson has not been a triumph and the teacher must distinguish why and how to make the lesson a success.