Nov 02

Remarkable math happening at Mikinaak Onigaming School – October 19 and 20, 2016

By Bev Caswell

Our second stop while in Northwestern Ontario was Mikinaak Onigaming School at Onigaming First Nation with Principal Steve Grindrod and Seven Generations First Nation Student Success Program teachers Aimee Beazley and Shelly Jones. We first started collaborating with teachers Marge Redcloud, Margaret Romain and Julie McQuaker nearly two years ago, and they continue to invent original ways to develop spatial thinking and mathematics activities with their students.

Shoe Sorting and Graphing

JICS Kindergarten teacher Carol Stephenson leads a graphing lesson

In Marge Redcloud’s Kindergarten classroom, Carol Stephenson (Kindergarten teacher at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study), helped lead a shoe sorting/graphing activity. With children sitting in a circle on the carpet, Marge and Carol asked the children to remove one of their shoes and place it in the middle of the circle. The students then counted the shoes, sorted them into shoe types and graphed their results.

The children were so excited to use their own materials to develop mathematical representations. Marge made sure to put the resulting graph in the kindergarten classroom at eye level for the students – a practice we learned from former JICS JK teacher Julie Comay and current kindergarten teacher Carol Stephenson. By posting their work, children can visit and revisit the graph, which allows for more opportunity to gain the foundation of the functions of graphs.

Name Game

Onigaming Grade 1/2 teacher Margaret Romain leads a numeracy lesson involving students’ names

Margaret continues the numeracy lesson with names –  a lesson shared by Carol Stephenson

Onigaming teacher Margaret Romain plays “Guess my Number” with her Grade 1/2 class

In Margaret’s Grade 1/2 class, Carol Stephenson helped lead a numeracy lesson that saw the children use their own name to strengthen their sense of number. The children were given a strip of grid paper which consisted of 10 squares. They wrote the letters of their name in each square, counted the number of letters in their name and used that number to collect unifix cubes. They then determined how many more cubes would be needed to make ten and compared their findings with one another.

Margaret also led a “Guess my Number”/“Guess my Rule” hundreds-chart game on the Smartboard which we learned from JICS Grade 1 teacher Zoe Donoahue.

Can You Draw This

Julie McQuaker led an engaging round of the game, “Can you draw this?” (download handout for students; BLMs for teachers) with students in her Grade 3, 4, 5 classroom.  We were so impressed with the way her students used spatial language, orientation and location while playing the game. Have a look at the video to see Julie and her amazing class in action!

This activity can be found on page 126 of our book for teachers: Taking Shape: Activities to Develop Geometric and Spatial Thinking.

In Julie’s class, we also introduced a multiplication game that we learned from the Rainy River District School Board teachers – the Array Game. The students enjoyed challenging one another as they created a series of rectangles to cover space on the grid chart paper.

U of T Engineering Outreach visits classrooms

Our friends from the University of Toronto Engineering Outreach team also joined us fo the day at Mikinaak Onigaming School. The team caused a lot of excitement when they visited classes with their gravity activity. Students used foam material to build a “roller coaster” track and released a marble at the top to see what route it would take.

Onigaming Grade 3/4 class tests out their “roller coasters”

Proud Onigaming students with their “roller coaster” creation

Students construct “roller coasters” to investigate gravity

Students construct “roller coasters” to investigate gravity

An Onigaming student revises the design of her “roller coaster”

Students construct “roller coasters” to investigate gravity

We were also fortunate to have Haley Higdon from Natural Curiosity join us on this trip. Haley collaborated with Anishinaabemowin teacher Mr. Ron to create land-based learning experiences for students.

Miigwech to Mikinaak Onigaming Principal Steve Grindrod for hosting these exciting days of learning! Miigwech to all the educators we work alongside, as well as  Seven Generations Education Institute educators Kim, Shelly and Aimee 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!

The Robertson Program team feels very fortunate to be part of these amazing school communities!

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