By Bev Caswell
The Robertson Program has just returned from an inspiring visit to two of our partner schools in Northwestern Ontario! Seven team members from OISE, including Kindergarten teacher Carol Stephenson from the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, collaborated with our partners in this research and professional development experience.
Our first stop was Pegamigaabo School in Big Grassy First Nation with Principal Lyn Blackburde and Seven Generations First Nation Student Success Program teachers Aimee Beazley and Shelly Jones. We had the great pleasure of continuing to collaborate with teachers Jane Tom, Caitlyn Lorenz and Chris Johnson to create engaging math lessons. They always impress us with the innovative math activities they invent – all of which strengthen students’ spatial thinking and number sense, providing a really strong foundation for overall achievement in mathematics.
Paper Folding/Hole Punch Visualization Activity
In Jane’s Grade 1/2 class and Chris’ Grade 3/4 classroom, we played the “Paper Folding/Hole Punch Game.” For this activity, the children watched as we folded a piece of paper in half and used a hole punch to punch one hole in the paper.
We asked children to visualize what the piece of paper would look like when we unfolded it. Children were highly engaged in this activity, discussing their predictions and visualizations. They eagerly asked for increasingly difficult challenges. We presented the work to children as a visualization activity, but the children soon turned it into an exercise on doubling and quadrupling, as well as basic counting and skip counting.
Check out the visualization challenge below from Jane Tom’s Grade 1s. Why not try it in your own class? We’ve recently revised the hole punch lesson. Download the Hole Punch Lesson slides and Hole Punch Lesson answers.
This activity can be found on page 94 of M4YC’s spatial reasoning textbook: Taking Shape: Activities to Develop Geometric and Spatial Thinking.
Quick Image Challenges
Jane creates such interesting quick image challenges for her Grade 1/2 students. During this visit, Jane used the Smartboard to briefly show her students a 3D object made of cubes. The children recreated the image on their own using their own 3D cubes. Other challenges by Jane allowed children to demonstrate their understandings of spatial perspectives, including composition, symmetry and transformations. We were so impressed with the way the children enthusiastically took up the quick image spatial activities.
Shoe Sorting and Graphing
Carol Stephenson helped lead a graphing activity in Caitlyn’s Kindergarten classroom, which required the children to remove one shoe. Then the students counted the shoes, sorted them into shoe type and graphed their results. The children were so excited to use their own materials to develop mathematical representations.
Family Math Event
We also held a lively Family Math Event with such a wonderful community turnout. Our friends and colleagues from the University of Toronto Engineering Outreach team joined us for the evening and brought interactive activities that explored gravity, circuits and chemistry.
Miigwech to Pegamigaabo Principal Lyn Blackburde for hosting these exciting days of learning! Miigwech to all of the educators we work alongside, as well as Seven Generations Education Institute educators Shelly, Aimee and Kim Kirk, for organizing the visit! Many thanks to Richard Messina, Chriss Bogert, and Carol Stephenson of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Lab School for their ongoing support.
The Robertson Program team feels very fortunate to be part of this amazing school communities!