World in /e/motion

Lajos Kovács
Újlak Elementary School
email:
ujlak@elender.hu

1 Introduction

To understand the world around us is a very difficult problem for adults as well. The long and complicated process of study -that will sooner or later turn the big mess of information into knowledge- brings up several exciting questions:

• What does an abstract mathematical concept with philosophical contents project into our children’s mind ?
• How are these projections present in their everyday life ?
• What kind of tools do they use solving problems like those ?
• How independent is the child during a computer aided discovery?
• How authentic is the product ?

The best way to have a look at the flashing moments of this process is a demo workshop. We can watch groups of children - aged between 6 and 11- during their work on a given problem.

The purpose of this demo is to prove: certain abstract mathematical problems can be solved by children belonging to different age-groups. The results will be accurately measurable and valuable if proper method is used during the discovery – verification process.

To demonstrate how 6-11 years old students create their own solutions –by using a computer– for the concept of infinity and accidental.

Minimal requirement against students :

• being qualified –according to their age– in maths and geometry
• having a basic skill –according to their knowledge– in algorithms
• having the skill of cooperation
• having the capability to solvepreviously exercised– problems independently
• being capable to use PC LOGO computer program during solving a problem:

1. age-group: being skilled to use the basic Logo commands both in English and Hungarian
2. age-group: being skilled to create and use procedures
3. age-group: being skilled to create and use parametric procedures
4. age-group: being skilled to write programs following certain algorithms with the application of flowchart.

3 Method

When the right teacher’s method has to be picked during a classroom activity the most important is to take the children’s motivation and differentiation into consideration .

Problems are raised in front of the class : group activity with teacher’s direct guidance .

Teacher’s guidance is continuously adjusted to the mixed composition of the students. The "problem" oneself is introduced through a children’s story, placed into their world.

Solving the problem also starts with a direct guidance of the teacher:

• considerations of planning and execution
• tools to use during modeling

During planning and execution phases the teacher will only intervene if it is required :

• mistakes, correcting mistakes
• clever solutions

A very important part of the teacher’s job is to keep contact between the speaker, the students and the inactive participants of the conference. Questions, ideas, comments, opinions brought up during the phase of independent job are meant to all those in present .

4 Tools: a piece of paper, work-sheet

• board , projector
• objects connected to the project :
1. logical games*
2. a set of colored sticks**
3. dices
4. balls , rings
5. computers (at least two per age-group)