On our last class of the academic year, we asked nineteen 5-10 year olds (majority 6-7 yo) to continue the sentence “Math is…” in as many ways as they could come up with. The results are in! But first, a few comments, before they get revealed.
1) The kids were encouraged to write both how they felt about math and what they thought math is all about.
2) When I compiled a list of everything that at least one kid wrote (naturally, there was much repetition), I was pleasantly surprised by the length of the list (in particular, it was much longer than the one we made when the kids were asked a similar question at the beginning of the year, which can be found here).
3) In the list below, I adjusted words for spelling and also combined noun and verb forms of the same word (e.g. addition and adding), but not synonyms. The numbers next to the words/phrases indicate how many kids wrote them down.
Math is … (According to the Golden Key Russian School)
Skip counting (2)
Beat the calculator
Counting in different ways
Helps succeed in life
Probably the two things that surprised me the most were the frequency of “multiplication” and the scarcity of “games”; I thought that we played games way more often than we discussed multiplication, and most of the kids haven’t encountered multiplication in school yet. Perhaps “multiplication” is just a very cool word 🙂 . What surprised you the most?
And finally, so that you don’t think that I came up with those words and numbers all on my own, here is the evidence!