I recently came across this video on David Wee’s Blog.
This video really stuck with me and inspired me to think about how we can create Mathland in our classrooms and schools. We live in a mathematically rich world but I often find that unless students use a mathematical lens in which to look at it the math remains unseen. I think it would be like living in France but only interacting with people who speak English. You never would get the whole experience.
So how can we help students to see Mathland?
Building on the comparison of learning math and learning French I started asking myself how teachers teach French so that students can become functional, fluent adults… without shipping everyone to a French-speaking province or country. In our division the way we do this is through immersion education. French Immersion requires that teachers “consistently reflect in his or her classroom and practice a fundamental understanding of French Immersion Education regardless of the grade level or subject matter being taught.” (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education). French is taught in all subject areas, connections are fostered, classroom spaces reflect an immersion of language, students interact with the language in and out of the classroom, cooperative language rich opportunities are provided, students quite simply are immersed in French. This environment may not be the same as going to Quebec or France but it is the next best thing.
The question now becomes can we create a Math Immersion environment? Can students begin to see the math in all subject areas, and foster connections? Can our classroom spaces reflect an immersion in math? Can students interact with math in and out of the classroom? Can we provide opportunities for rich cooperative mathematical experiences? Can we immersed our students in Math? This environment could provide our students with the lens they need to see that they ARE living in Mathland!
“If we all learned mathematics in math land, we would all learn mathematics perfectly well.” ~ Seymour Papert.