Spatial

Subtraction Made Easy (or how Harry Potter can help kids learn math)

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Blog, Ideas in practice, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Spatial | 0 comments

Today marks the start of second grade for us. The Negotiator was so excited this morning and the nerd in me was right there with him. Ever the fan of school, I have always loved the first day. To celebrate, after I dropped him off, I came home to play with Legos. A couple weeks ago, the Negotiator was practicing three-digit subtraction. We have previously turned to Legos to explore notions of time and quarters and this time we used them to understand base-ten substraction. Let’s start with a problem: 132-47. Here’s the story: Team Harry Potter is going up against Team Star Wars in an epic Battle of Squares. The visiting Team (Star Wars) shows up a week early to get settled in. While they are at Hogwarts they want to practice and so they ask Team Harry for some Squares. Team HP is very organized and keeps all of the Squares in crates, bins and bags. Each crate contain ten bins of Squares. Each bin contains ten Squares. One crate has 100 Squares. Individual Squares that are less than 10 go into a bag. Organizing the information in this way helps kids visualize the hundreds, tens and ones places. They can then manipulate the Squares in these places to understand how subtraction works. Team HP has 132 Squares. Team SW has asked to borrow 47 Squares, that is, 4 bins and 7 Squares. Since the bag only contains 2 Squares, Team HP must get some more Squares into that bag. In addition, they only have 3 bins so they need to get more bins as well. That means, they have to open up their crate and re-allocate the bins in the crate. Team HP has replenished their bins but they still need to replenish their bag. To do this, they empty out one of the bins into the bag. Now, Team SW can receive 7 individual Squares from the bag and 4 bins from the tower of bins. That leaves Team HP with 8 bins and 5 individual Squares, that is 85 Squares. In other words: 132 – 47 = 85 Once the kids go through this process a couple of times, it easier to grasp the notion of hundreds, tens and ones and they can then solve these kinds of subtraction problems with a lot more ease. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, if you like this post, please share it! __________________________ DID YOU KNOW: this is an excellent way to empower children and to develop their multiple intelligences (especially their spatial and logical-mathematical intelligence). About the Author: Karla Valenti blogs about parenting on Tot Thoughts, is founder and CEO of NiSoSa (developing resources to empower children through creativity), Creative Director for Rock Thoughts (a global art and collaborative storytelling initiative), and does creative writing as herself and as Nico, a fictional character and host of Nico Knows (creative writing for kids). © Tot Thoughts – smart parenting for smart child...

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32 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Spatial Intelligence

Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 in Blog, Multiple Intelligences, Spatial | 0 comments

32 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Spatial Intelligence

So you want to improve your child’s Spatial Intelligence? Well, I have 32 fun, engaging and crazy effective ways for you to do that. But first, if you don’t already know: What is Spatial Intelligence? Spatial Intelligence is one of eight computational abilities that we all have and it pertains specifically to your ability to process information through through visualization.  Children who favor a Spatial Intelligence tend to learn through visual aids and images and individuals with strong spatial intelligence will gravitate towards artistic and highly visual forms of communication. The does not mean they don’t use their other eight intelligences. Nor does it mean that only kids who are artistic use their Spatial Intelligence. How do you develop Spatial Intelligence? Below are 32 ways to help your child develop their Spatial Intelligence. The activities are presented in levels of increasing complexity. These levels are in no way related to a child’s age or grade level. Rather, in light of the fact that each child has a unique intelligence profile, these activities allow children to start at whatever level they prefer and to continue feeling engaged and motivated as they advance to the more challenging levels. PS – many of these activities also help develop other intelligences (see the MI code references here). LEVEL 1 Narrate a story for someone who cannot see. How would you describe the scenes, events and characters of your story? What are some of your challenges in narrating this story? [Ie.I.][L.I.] Listen to a book on tape. Illustrate the story. [L.I.][M.I.] Write words with each syllable in a different color. [L.I.] Play the “what if” game with a friend (e.g. what if you were a crocodile? What if my teacher turned into a shoe? What if my house were made of cheese?). Write and illustrate your stories and share them with each other. [L.I.] What do these stories tell you about each other? [Ia.I.] Narrate a story using only illustrations. Draw a word in the shape of what it spells (e.g. “snake” in the shape of a snake). [L.I.] Cut out words from a magazine and use them to write a letter. [L.I.] Choose an interesting work of art. Have a friend close her eyes while you describe the artwork in detail. [L.I.][Ia.I.] LEVEL 2 Draw an image and without showing it to someone else, give them detailed instructions as to how to draw that same image. [L.I.] Hide a treasure in your house and create a map or diagram leading someone else to the treasure. [LM.I.] Write a story using words written vertically. [L.I.] Create a montage of a topic that interests you. Show it to your friends and discuss why this topic is important to you. [Ia.I] [Ie.I] Look at art from different cultures. How is it different? How is it similar? What does the artwork tell you about the people who made it? [Ie.I.] Look at a painting and pretend you are in it. Write a story about your adventures in the painting. [L.I.][Ia.I.] Take a walk and listen to the different sounds. Illustrate what you think the sounds look like as well as the source of the sound. [M.I.] Illustrate an emotion you’ve had. Does this image change with different experiences? [Ia.I.] Look at different kinds of artwork and genres. How do they make you feel? What does the artist do to convey those emotions? [Ia.I.] Gather a random assortment of items from your house and arrange them in a pattern. Then sort or categorize them in a different way. Chart the results and discuss them with a friend. [LM.I][L.I.] Illustrate your favorite scents or flavors. [N.I.] Follow a recipe...

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Developing Spatial Intelligence

Posted by on Jul 1, 2011 in Blog, Ideas in practice, Multiple Intelligences, Spatial | 2 comments

Following on our discussion of multiple intelligences, today I want to talk about spatial intelligence – our inherent cognitive ability that deals with spatial judgment and visualization. Understanding Spatial Intelligence Spatial Intelligence is more than simply looking at what surrounds us but rather entails engaging our sight in processing the information we receive about the world. The extent to which we can activate our mind, body and senses to “see” the complexity of the world around us will enable us to make that interaction a meaningful one. While this process is intuitive to many (most notably, artists, designers, painters, sculptors, etc.) it is not exclusive to that group. As with the other multiple intelligences, we all have the ability to use each of our multiple intelligences. The question is, how do we develop our visual-spatial intelligence, how do we teach our children to “see”? We teach them to seek out complexity. The pursuit of complexity promotes our skill development and growth. To be clear, complexity does not necessarily mean complicated or problematic; rather, it refers to something is intricate and begs understanding. When we seek out complexity, we are engaging our multiple intelligences to make sense of the information before us. Exposing our minds to visual stimuli that is complex and intriguing will push us to engage our spatial intelligence to give that stimuli meaning. With that in mind, following are some examples of how to engage one’s spatial intelligence. Developing Spatial Intelligence Below are art pieces by three very different artists. Each one reflects a very different level of complexity and draws our spatial intelligence in distinct ways. I’ve included some questions to help guide you through the process. Gonzalo Arenas This piece is a watercolor by a Mexican painter named Gonzalo Arenas. At first glance this may seem like a simple piece but it isn’t and the mind is drawn back to explore its complexity. Think about the following: What is this? How do you know what it is? This piece reflects a highly textured object, how does the artist convey texture? There are no straight lines in this piece, what effect does that have on you? There is a dramatic use of light and darkness in this piece, how is that done? The light in this piece has a certain ephemeral quality to it, why did the artist do that? How did he do that? What does this piece make you feel? Why? Look at each element in this piece, how does it work together with the others to inspire an emotion in you? This is another piece by Gonzalo Arenas and it is quite different that the first one. How do the questions above change when you look at this second piece? Now, let’s turn to another artist: Luis Peña Luis Pena is a graphic designer whose dynamic and fluid art is candy for the senses. In addition to the questions above, a few more things to ponder: what gives this art such fluid motion? what is the effect of the paneling in this piece and why do you think that was important for the artist? why do you think this is such an intriguing visual? Finally, the next piece is by the wonderful artist: Shintaro Ohata Th art work here is quite different from the one’s above and, at least to me, it evokes a great degree of emotional complexity. There is much to focus on visually and all the questions above are relevant to this piece as well. However, here there is a depth of emotion that we can explore: how does this piece make you feel?...

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Multiple Intelligence Games

Posted by on Jun 7, 2011 in Ideas in practice, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Naturalistic, Spatial | 0 comments

Yesterday I started a discussion multiple intelligences. My objective is to spend some time covering different techniques that we can employ as parents to help stimulate our children’s different intelligences. This brought to mind one of the first posts I wrote so I am bringing it back today as I think it is very relevant to this topic. The post is about certain games we play with our kids. What I like about these games is that not only do they provide countless hours of entertainment for relatively long periods of time but they also help develop children’s intelligence in different ways. The Animal Game The Animal Game is quite simple, it consists of thinking of an animal and then giving the other people clues to describe it. The person that guesses it right gets to go next. Our daughter’s favorite: “I am pink, I live in a farm and I go ‘oink oink.'” This isn’t rocket science but you’d be surprised how long the kids wi’ll play this game. The Animal Game can really be anything (including, the Anything Game). Some popular variations: the Food Game (a personal favorite delivered courtesy of the six-year old: “I am yellow, shaped like a square, and I live in a sandwich”) the Princess Game the Dinosaur Game the Holiday Game the Objects that Fly Game… you get the idea. This is a great exercise to help children develop their linguistic, visual, logical-mathematical and naturalist intelligences. Guess Who This is a game that involves guessing the person you are speaking about based on their relationship to other individuals. For instance: “Who is my father’s sister’s mother’s granddaughter’s granddaughter?” It can be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be (our three-year old loves this game). It is a great game to help develop linguistic, musical, and logical-mathematical intelligences. Math Games These generally involve raisins or mini chocolate chips, Legos, etc. T he purpose of these games is really to offer visuals to help explain mathematical concepts such as division, multiplication, addition, subtraction. We’ll have the kids count out a certain amount of raisins and then divide them into various piles, add or take away from the piles, etc. So, for example, with the three-year old I might have her count out ten raisins and divide them into 5 piles. When she thinks she’s finished, we’ll talk about whether the piles all look as if they have the same number of raisins, then we’ll count them to confirm. To the extent they are not the same, we’ll talk about what needs to happen for them to be even. Eventually she’ll get there and then we can talk about what division means. Or, we might just do addition: 1 raisin + 1 raisin = 2, 2+1, etc…. or subtraction, you have a pile of 5 raisins and you eat 1, how many are left? Then we verbalize 5-1 = 4. With the six-year old we do a bit more advanced work, for example, we use each raisin as a base 10 or do more complicated division/multiplication problems. This is a great game to help children develop their linguistic, logical-mathematical and visual intelligences. 20 Questions We come up with the end scenario, give them all the facts and have them ask us questions until they figure it out. This was one of my favorites: “the two opposing sides faced each other and the king gathered his knights for battle when suddenly a great big hand came down from above and picked up one of the knights, what happened?” (answer – this is...

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How Building Towers can Help your Child Improve their Math Skills

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Ideas in practice, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Spatial | 0 comments

How Building Towers can Help your Child Improve their Math Skills

[scroll below to see what math looks like] Last week I started a discussion on the value of using multiple intelligences to help children learn math. The challenge arose with some math problems the Negotiator was working through, specifically related to time. He’s actually quite good at math but was struggling with two particular concepts, “quarter to” and “quarter past.” The previous post compared a linguistic intelligence and a mathematical intelligence approach to learning the concept of quarters. Today’s post will integrate visual intelligence as a way of conveying the concept of passing time and using that to reinforce the mathematical construct of hours. Understanding time as a linear concept The way time is traditionally taught is with the image of the clock and the two hands spinning around in circles –> 12 numbers that are used to convey the passing of 24 hours in 5 minute increments. The same 12 numbers represent both single hours as well as batches of 5 minutes (e.g. 1 represents 1:00 as well as 5 minutes, 2 is 2:00 and 10 minutes, etc) and once the hands make it around the clock, the process simply repeats – there’s your day. We explain it this way: “when the little hand is on 1 it means 1:00, when the big hand is on 1, it means 10 minutes.” Children are asked to memorize what each number means based on whether it is a big hand or little hand number. Taught in this way, time would seem to be a one-dimensional concept entailing counting off arbitrarily named “minutes” sixty times and doing that 12 times before the whole process starts up again. At that point, the minutes that have lapsed are wiped clean and our life is reset at 12. For some kids this makes sense. However, without understanding the larger concept of incremental time, this exercise is meaningless for most of the other kids. The problem is that time is not a linear concept, it is an incremental one. Therefore, in order for children to fully grasp this notion, we need to reinforce the linguistic component by drawing on mathematical and visual intelligences. Understanding time as an incremental concept Time is incremental insofar as each minute is added onto the preceding one. When 1 hour has lapsed, it is actually the sum of 60 minutes which is in turn the sum of 60 seconds 60 times, etc. Thus, when 12 hours have lapsed, we are not back at square one. Rather, we have already accumulated 12 hours worth of minutes and seconds and are essentially 12 hours away from where we started. Visually, this looks more like a tower or a spiral than a flat round surface. Every minute that lapses is a block in that tower and the tower is on an ever-increasing rise. That means that no matter what we do, we will never get back to the base (i.e. there is no resetting of time). Now, let’s bring out the Legos. Using visual intelligence to teach time Since the Negotiator was working on the concept of quarters, we split up our hour into four blocks. Each hour represented 15 minutes and he had to build an hour by accumulating four blocks. Once he had all four blocks, he had an hour and he could begin building his next hour in 15 minute increments. It looks something like this: We started off with the empty surface being noon and built the first hour (1:00). This is important to visualize because what we are actually doing when we start an hour is building the subsequent one....

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The Animal Game and other forms of entertainment

Posted by on Jan 13, 2011 in Blog, Ideas in practice, Interpersonal, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Naturalistic, Spatial | 2 comments

Ever on the search for ways to entertain our kids (for that is, after all, our raison d’etre), we have amassed a small repertoire of games that I thought I’d share with you all. What I like about these games is that not only can they provide entertainment for relatively long periods of time but they also help develop children’s intelligence in different ways. To be clear, I am referring to intelligence as in multiple intelligences (a theory proposed by Howard Gardner and one that I wholeheartedly support). If you are not familiar with this notion, I highly recommend you read up on it. The first and family favorite is the Animal Game (which has any number of variations, as you’ll see below). I don’t recall how or when we started this but we have been playing the Animal Game forever. We’ll play it on the way to the store, on walks, on long drives, while making dinner, over dinner, in waiting rooms, etc. The Animal Game is quite simple, it consists of thinking of an animal and then giving the other people clues to describe it. The person that guesses it right gets to go next. Our daughter’s favorite: “I am pink, I live in a farm and I go ‘oink oink.'” This isn’t rocket science but you’d be surprised how long they’ll play this game. The Animal Game can really be anything (including, the Anything Game). Some popular variations: the Food Game (a personal favorite delivered courtesy of the six-year old: “I am yellow, shaped like a square, and I live in a sandwich”), the Princess Game, the Dinosaur Game, the Holiday Game, the Objects that Fly Game… you get the idea. This is a great exercise to help children develop their verbal, visual, logical-mathematical and naturalist intelligences. Guess Who is a game that involves guessing the person you are speaking about based on their relation to other individuals. For instance: “Who is my father’s sister’s mother’s granddaughter’s granddaughter?” This can be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be (our three-year old loves this game). It is a great game to help develop verbal and logical-mathematical intelligences. We are also fond of playing Math Games with our kids. They generally involve raisins or mini chocolate chips, etc. The purpose of these games is really to offer visuals to help explain mathematical concepts such as division, multiplication, addition, subtraction. We’ll have the kids count out a certain amount of raisins and then divide them into various piles, add or take away from the piles, etc. So, for example, with the three-year old I might have her count out ten raisins and divide them into 5 piles. When she thinks she’s finished, we’ll talk about whether the piles all look as if they have the same number of raisins, then we’ll count them to confirm. To the extent they are not the same, we’ll talk about what needs to happen for them to be even. Eventually she’ll get there and then we can talk about what division means. Or, we might just do addition: 1 raisin + 1 raisin = 2, 2+1, etc…. or subtraction, you have a pile of 5 raisins and you eat 1, how many are left? Then we verbalize 5-1 = 4. With the six-year old we do a bit more advanced work, for example, we use each raisin as a base 10 or do more complicated division/multiplication problems. This is a great game to help children learn math concepts by using their verbal and visual intelligences. On the topic of math games,...

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