Mathematical Concepts in Childrens Books

Big Bear, Little Brother by Carl Norac.

Big Bear, Little Brother is a children’s book aimed at children ages 3-5. At a first glance, it seems to be a beautiful story about a child who has lost his way and Big Bear looks after him until he finds his Dad. However, when reading the book again with fresh eyes – there are many mathematical concepts throughout this book.

Here is a list of words that I found throughout the book that can be linked to maths:

  • above
  • quickly
  • huge
  • behind
  • side by side
  • slowly
  • “to make sure the ice was thick enough” – this is a good one, evaluating the ice bridge and deciding if it is thick enough to cross, a lot of mathematics in this!
  • different
  • down
  • edge
  • much taller
  • copy
  • “mound of snow”
  • faster
  • same
  • twice
  • stopped
  • distance

This is 18 different words that can be explored and worked upon – however, every time I read the book I keep changing how many ‘math words’ there are! I started this blog with ten, I am now on eighteen! The story itself can also have mathematical concepts and activities can be planned.

For example, some activities that can be planned could include:

  1. Making footprints in the snow, and counting the number of footprints, exploring different sizes and shapes, and seeing if patterns or symmetry can be explored
  2. Compare and contrast all the different words and bring this into the classroom (for example Big (bear) and little (brother). What else is big and little? Faster, slower, quickly, stopped. Look at all these and see if we can compare and contrast.
  3. In the last few pages of the book – it is dark and windy and the headlights shine on Big Bear and Little Brother. Maybe having a cross curricular lesson that involves lights, shadows, size, symmetry etc.
  4. Simple tasks such as counting how many pages there are in the book, how many times a word is said in the book, how many footprints are on each page etc.

These are just some little examples that can be explored through this book – however, there are probably 100 more different ways to implement this book in the classroom and link it to other subjects. For example Minik (little brother) falls of the cliff at the start of the book, and big bear catches him – this could be linked to science and could look at speed and force (eg drop things from a height and measure how fast they fall). It could also be linked with maths and languages – how many footprints are there? Tres! (Three!).

I have only read this book a few times, and only studied it in depth about 30 minutes ago. But in that time, I have noticed how mathematical concepts are featured in this book, and how important it is that when we are reading childrens books there can be different mathematical concepts in all of them.

Equality v Equity (Part 2)

picture2 In an earlier blog post ( https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/mmkeportfolio/2016/09/20/equity-and-equality-the-difference/ ), I said that equality is not the same as equity: which it is not. But since this blog post I have discovered a new third option (in Vics values class today), and it is that there doesn’t always have to be a choice about if someone is being treated equally and equitably – you can try and remove the cause of the inequality and therefore no one is disadvantaged.

The original picture I have always been aware off, and quite often think of it in situations, but this picture here makes you really think about the fact that there always a simple solution. You just have to remove the barrier.

 

Disabilities and Mental Health.

For me, mental health and disabilities is a topic that is always close to my heart. Since I was 14, I found a love for volunteering, and not just volunteering for Cancer Research or big charity campaigns, but I volunteered for local disability charities. The first time I ever volunteered it was for a fantastic charity called Dreamz4U, the goal was to help children who
are disabled either mentally or physically get their dream. One lucky girl even got to meet Lady Gaga (and this was only a local charity in Edinburgh!). However, I chose Dreamz4U because for me, it doesn’t matter how rubbish I feel, or how hard my day has been because I know that someone else is feeling worse than me, and I know that I can make it better. I volunteered to put smiles on peoples faces, and make sure that while they are with me, I can make them forget the physical or mental pain they are feeling; even if it’s just for a few minutes.

 

I also volunteered with Guide Dogs Kirkcaldy (which was more for the puppies than actually helping people) and I’ve worked with schools and other places. But my favourite, and the one that really made me think was Down Syndrome Scotland. My time there was great, I volunteered for just under two years (I think!) and it was just amazing. I was apart of a new project called Friends Together – which was to make sure than the two voluntees than I took out became friends and wanted to hang out and eventually do so without my company (if the two friends that met up didn’t get along or didn’t bond, we would find someone else as soon as possible). During my journey I met 3 fantastic guys, but they told me horrible stories of how cruel the world can be. I also met one woman in particular who haImage result for mental healthd Downs Syndrome and told me about the abuse she got just from her local shop. She would go in and ask for a newspaper and they cashier would mock her every morning saying that she was “too dumb to read” and “you wont understand”. This breaks my heart, and this is the reason why I volunteer and talk about my experiences so openly. I hate how people can be so nasty, so mean and so cruel and not understand how what they are saying can affect someone. Due to this cashiers words, the lady was too afraid to tell anyone incase they thought she was lying, incase they mocked her too and lived with this for many years. This lady was fully capable of getting a job, being paid and she lived in a house on her own but because she was mocked so much this effected her mentally as well.

Out of this blog post, I wanted to raise awareness on how much a volunteer can change just one life. The lady in question now has a job due to her great volunteers and the 3 guys that I worked with all have jobs now too – when before they were too shy to even speak to myself, they all also have girlfriends and they are best friends too.

But it wasn’t just volunteering, it’s about mental health and disabilities as well. It is about raising awareness of the abuse that goes on, about making sure people feel they can talk to their GP, friends or family if they feel they are suffering with a mental/physical illness, it’s about making sure people don’t judge others because of the way they look/speak/hear/sound/walk etc. and hoping that people open their eyes to everything that is going on around them.

 

Racism and Patriarchy

My Story on Racism and Sexism.

When growing up, I never looked at the colour of someones skin and judged them. I never thought about why a man was with a man or a woman with a woman. I had the privilege of being brought up in a house where it doesn’t matter where you came from, your religion, your sex, disability etc. I was brought up that as long as I am happy in my life, then my family would be happy for me.

Which is why, when I was older and starting High School, I never really understood racism or sexism. I never understood people who bullied others for having a disability, or for being gay, or for believing in a certain religion. I just really didn’t see how it was okay to bully someone with a disability, how it was okay to shout abuse at people who had fallen in love with someone of the same sex, how it was acceptable to throw things at people who believe in God or Allah. For me, everyone is the same.

But obviously, throughout High School, I was learning more from others and even though I didn’t understand it (and still don’t fully understand it) I accepted the fact that black people, gay people, women and disadvantaged people were always going to be looked down upon. This is something that has always hit me hard. Due to my gender I am constantly quizzed about not wanting a child. I have never wanted a child and it’s just a personal choice I have made, on my own. Yet, I am being told that I will change my mind when I’m older, that all women eventually have children, that I will regret my decision, that I am selfish for not having a child as there are people in this world that cannot have children. Yet, I don’t hear men get the same ‘grilling’.

Emmet Till + Racism.

Today, in my lecture we started the class off with a story about a young boy called Emmet Till. Emmet Till was a 14 year old boy who apparently wolf whistled at an older lady, a few days later the lady’s husband and brother took Emmet and beat him, tortured him and shot him in the head followed by dumping his body in the river. At court, the jury decided that the two men were innocent and let them go. Not long after they admitted in a magazine interview that they did kill him. But nothing was done about this. Now, this story is shocking and nearly unbelievable. However. I missed out that Emmet was a young black boy, the lady was white, her husband and brother were white, and the jury was white. This also took place over 50 years ago. This is a shocking story to us now when we read this, we can’t even imagine this to happen in todays society.

But in 50 years, will there be another young blogger talking about how s/he couldn’t believe that white police in America were just shooting down innocent black people because they were ‘dangerous’? In 50 years will they be disgusted that up until recently women couldn’t go into St Andrews Gold Course Clubhouse due to their gender? Will they be ashamed that we thought it was okay not to employ someone because they are in a wheelchair? I hope they would be, because I certainly am.

Summary

Today’s lecture really hit hard. I felt angry and sad. It was incredibly interesting and everyone I spoke to agreed as well. It really gets you thinking and wondering what kind of society we live in. I can’t wait to go further into this area, I really enjoy reading about the different sociological theories, and this is something that has really grabbed my attention.

What a load of Pollack!

I have a strong interest in Sociology, and as someone who has such a keen interest in sociology, I recommend that anyone reading this should have a look at researchers such as Pollack. He is specifically gender related.

(EXTRA INFO ON POLLACK IN CASE INTERESTED) In the 1950s, a man called Otto Pollak investigated into whether or not women committed as much crime as men; what he found was women were less likely to be prosecuted and more likely to be cautioned. This was due to a criminal justice system dominated by men and because of this they will tend to be more lenient with women due to them not being considered a threat or danger to society; Pollak called this the Chivalry Thesis. Pollak, however, had no evidence to support this claim, and based this thesis on the fact women are devious and sneaky due to their female biology, or, in other words, because women are able to hide their pain when menstruating and are able to not show a true interest in sexual activities and pretend in the bedroom – this meant that they could trick the criminal justice system.

Equity and Equality: The Difference.

This afternoon I had a workshop, in which we were all sat down anywhere on any of the four tables. After this, each table was given an envelope. Inside this envelope contained materials and we were told to make something that all students should haveequity-vs-equality in their first week of University. So, in our group (group 3 out of the 4) we were given some materials – but not as much as group 1 and 2. We tried to make a leaflet, found it really difficult, tried our best to make something to impress our new lecturer but it was so hard when every time he came over he wasn’t praising us as much as the other tables. Now, when it’s your first workshop ever, a chance to shine and show how hard you want to work and impress people, it’s extremely hard when it seems he already has favourites in the group.

At the end, however, he asked us to stand and present what we had made. Group 1 making a lovely bag which obviously Derek loved as this was his favourite group – the table that happened to have the most resources also. He marked them 9/10. Group 2’s wasn’t as good as group 1, with just a pad (which was still good by the way) and he marked them 7/10 – because they didn’t have enough resources. It came to my group which only really had paper, couple of post it notes and paper clips and marked us 4/10. Which I was so disappointed with as we tried so hard to impress Derek – and even put his hashtag at the bottom of the leaflet for extra points as we felt he didn’t like our table. But actually, it was group 4 that had it the worst with just a pencil and a post it note (plus a couple of paper clips) and he rated their group a 2/10.

After asking us how it went, how we felt, how was the task. Group 3 and 4 agreed it was hard and felt like we hadn’t done a good job. Whilst groups 1 and 2 had a great time. Derek finally explained to us that it’s not fair to give different people different resources and expect us all to come out with the same thing. When helping others as a lecturer (or a student) that people don’t have the same things and do come from different backgrounds – and that’s’ okay.

Today, I was given a reminder that equality is not the same as equity. That everyone here is given the same starting line, and no one is put into an unfair position or disadvantage.