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Fall SAVY 2022–Mathematicians in History for Grades 1 & 2

Posted by on Monday, October 24, 2022 in blog, SAVY.

Day 3: Saturday, November 5

Galileo, Fermat, Gauss, and Germain: These are the mathematicians we discovered and discussed on our last morning in our Fall SAVY course, Mathematicians in History: Patterns, Order, and Relationships. These greats and their work ranged from the precise calculations used in scientific experiments to the more “extreme fun and games” adventures. We certainly observed that there was a relationship or connection that could be described between the work of mathematicians and their individual circumstances, environments, or period in history.

We wondered what circumstances and opportunities in our own worlds could lead us to become great problem solvers or novel thinkers about complex concepts. We know we must be willing to observe closely things going on around us and ask questions. Like many of the great mathematical minds before us, we must be willing to persevere in making sense of the mysteries of the universe. We acknowledged that like many of the mathematicians in history, our advanced thinking might be contrary to some current ideas and it might take centuries for others to come around to our disciplined understanding. Galileo said, “In questions of sciences, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” It is the habit of a scholar to take intellectual risks as evidenced by their work products and ideas.

It was a joy to see the students engage so enthusiastically with numerous “hands-on” activities. I am always excited to see children curious and reasoning about the real world around them. It is also important that they be able to communicate their thinking, questions, and discoveries in collaborative verbal exchanges and in writing. Thank you so much for the time to experience some mathematical challenges with your child at Open House. Mathematics is the study of structure, space, change, and of course, quantifies. Mathematicians observe patterns and create order so that they may understand all important relationships that lead to great knowledge and understanding. Mathematics is often magical!

It was my extreme pleasure to work with your children in this fall SAVY course and to meet you as well during our last hour. I hope your family is even more inspired for future learning activities and we hope to see you soon in another PTY SAVY course!

Day 2: Saturday, October 29

Great Day 2–we worked hard today because the work was so challenging!  We returned to the activities of some of last week’s favorite mathematicians but also introduced and worked with problems connected to Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, and finally Hypatia from Alexandria. Our emphasis today returned to “questioning” with every activity to ensure that students ask internal questions of themselves to better understand problems, formulate starting strategies, and evaluate their own progress.  We discussed the habitual statements or questions we ask of others including

  • “What do I do?”
  • “I don’t understand.
  • “Help me.”

can be replaced with self-questioning such as

  • “What information can I use such as patterns or relationships?
  • “What DO I know?”
  • “What can I try before I ask for help?” and
  • “First, I tried…, and this is what happen.  Can you help me with what to do next?”

Good mathematicians observe and ponder numerous approaches, collaborate with others, and have perseverance in solving problems!  It is the habit of a scholar to take intellectual risks as evidenced by their ideas and class products.

The students worked to solve hands-on puzzles by analyzing components, moving them in space, and creating specific structures such as tetrahedrons. The students really enjoyed the fascinating patterns of Pascal’s Triangle, observing the Power of 2, and creating various ellipses with differently spaced focal points to better understand the relationships of planetary orbits to our sun.

We look forward to sharing and discussing these and other mathematical wonders with you at our Open House next week from 2:15 to 2:45. We hope to see you there!  It is the habit of a scholar to communicate ideas with clarity and this was one of our favorite examples:  Hypatia and the Ellipse!

See you soon!

Day 1: Saturday, October 22

What a great start to our discoveries today! Pythagoras, Archimedes, and John Napier were our featured mathematicians. We learned when and where they lived using maps and timelines, as well as a little about each of their lives.  What activities or problems got them  thinking mathematically?  What were their habits or interests?  What types of problems do we notice at home and school today?  Mathematicians study patterns and develop order from the patterns by examining relationships.  Relationships are everywhere and they are powerful.  Everything is related in some way, and if we look closely we can discover the rules that govern relationships.

Pythagoras got us to think about how certain numbers or quantities of things can be arranged in certain ways to make shapes.  We can make all types of observations about numbers by studying those shapes associated with them. We had fun working with squares, oblong, and triangle numbers, and next week we’ll circle back to a hypotenuse puzzle!  Archimedes was very clever in solving problems involving mass and volume using water as we observed in the story of the King’s Crown.  We tried our own hand at dunking some things in water to observe his principle of buoyancy.  Don’t be surprised if your child wants to continue this work in the bathtub just like Archimedes did! Finally, we added big numbers to our big thinking using Napier’s rods for one digit x multi-digit numbers and lattice multiplication strategies.  What patterns do we notice when we compare the familiar Hundreds Chart and Multiplication with Napier’s Rods?  What patterns, order, and relationships can we observe?

I was so impressed with the students’ scholarship today as well as their learning.  A scholar engages appropriately both verbally and non-verbally.  A scholar communicates ideas with clarity and respects the ideas of others.  If you want to enjoy a few videos to prompt conversation during this next week, I’ve listed a few links below.  Enjoy!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next Saturday!

Platonic Solids (We discussed but did not view this video)

Levers (Archimedes) 

Napier’s Rods (we worked with the first 2 minutes only)