Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Storytelling through mathematics

Today, I came across Maths Storytelling Day (25th September, celebrated annually). Although the day isn't for a while yet, it got me thinking.

When pondering my own education, I remember maths being one of the subjects which incorporated stories fairly regularly. A favourite being that of making a robot move around and follow your instructions, which in today's education, could probably slide under computing. I always thought that it was perhaps my teacher's style, but upon reflection, and with a particular day dedicated to it, it has become apparent that the reason we do maths through storytelling is because it works!

There's various pieces online about this (found with a quick search), but I'll be looking more into this in future. The Guardian and NRICH are two particularly good ones. To quote the latter, "Children are born with an ability to make sense of the world through play and storytelling. By creating narratives, they act out concepts and ideas that confuse them or that they find fascinating. Examining the world in this way they are able to explore and relate to the variety of topics and subjects that the world throws at them."

Many of our iPad apps follow a story, but our maths ones are particularly engaging. They really do make you want to solve something, e.g. work out who really did kill King Ted. You want to find out what has or has not happened, and the way to do this is to do the maths! We have made all three of our apps FREE for a limited time, except King Ted, which is always free.

Students work in pairs or threes around one iPad. The app gives students lots of digital slips of illustrated information then one open question - they must work together to make sense of this information in order to answer it.They can create and name groups, stick things together and lay the slips out. As well as developing various mathematics skills, the apps also help with collaboration, problem-solving and higher level thinking.

All three apps target a slightly different age range but depending on ability level, what methods the children know/will be learning soon, they may suit younger or older students:

King Ted - FREE - Search 'Digital Mysteries King' on the App Store or click here
Main question: Who killed King Ted?
Age range: 8-9 year olds
Topics covered: Mental methods addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, comparing, calculations
Screenshot from Trev the Triff

Trev the Triff - FREE for limited time, usually £1.49 - Search 'Digital Mysteries Trev' on the App Store or click here
Main question: Should Trev hire the new machine or stick with the old one?
Age range: 9-10 year olds
Topics covered: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, multi-step problem, averages

Captain Quint - FREE until 16th June 2015, usually £1.49 - Search 'Digital Mysteries Captain' on the App Store or click here
Main question: Did Captain Quint and his crew make it around the world in 30 days?
Age range: 10-11 year olds
Topics covered: Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, statistics, measurement

Many thanks,


1 comment:

  1. I like it. I like the idea of learning math through storytelling and play. It makes it easier for some people to conceptualize and apply the knowledge they have learned. I am in the process of getting a teaching certificate and I hope to teach math.