Magazine article Mathematics Teaching

Surprise

Magazine article Mathematics Teaching

Surprise

Article excerpt

I was recently working in a nursery. I had most of the 24 children join me on the floor where I had laid out a tablecloth, a large pile of butter beans sprayed gold on one side and some empty film canisters. They were all busy running their hands through the pile of beans ('What can you feel?' 'What can you see?'), sorting out some to collect ('What can you find?', 'What do you notice?') and filling the film canisters with beans ('What can we do?'). It wasn't long before someone found a lid to fit and began to shake their pot of beans. This caught on (it makes a good noise).

My neighbour was shaking vigorously and smiling broadly at me, "NOISY!" After a while, he opened the lid and tipped them out. He was surprised that there were only four inside. He paused for a moment and then filled his pot as full as he could, having some trouble squeezing the lid shut and began to shake again. …

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