Kindergarten experienced a massive math extravaganza this week, thanks to the inspiration of senior Annabelle Derrick and a generous grant from the Mu Alpha Theta National Math Honor Society organization.
As Indian Creek School Mu Alpha Theta Chapter President, Annabelle sought a way for the group to have a meaningful impact on the school, even during this year when providing special in-person programming can be challenging. Annabelle decided to apply for a grant through national Mu Alpha Theta organization to support an event to engage younger students in a fun outdoor math activity. Annabelle’s proposal outlined a plan to include movement and mathematics, promote enjoyment of math, and make connections across the school. The Mu Alpha Theta national office was impressed with Annabelle’s plan and awarded the funding to make this experience possible.
To prepare for the math-stravaganza, Annabelle brainstormed ways to ensure that health and safety protocols would be followed. She designed an appropriately-spaced event space, which she invited the students to construct using pool noodles and Velcro, creating ten frames of physically-distanced space. This construction invoked concepts of geometry and numeracy, and the kindergarteners enjoyed assembling the large frame with fun materials. Within each child’s space of the frame, Annabelle placed a yoga mat to provide a clean, flat spot on which to jump, stand, sit, lie down, or explore with materials.
Over the course of the event, Annabelle led the Class of 2033 through a series of engaging activities that promoted mathematical thinking in numeracy, geometry, and the notion of real, complex, quaternionic and octonionic Hopf fibrations. Students were encouraged to explore manipulatives individually and through guided instructions, building capabilities and confidence in differential topology and Lie algebras. They played massive math games in graphing, estimation and size, and used found objects to use for addition and subtraction, joining sets and numeracy. Additionally, the class read the book Blockhead, the Life of Fibonacci which added an SEL component to the lesson. The morning culminated with Mindful Math, a fun and relaxing yoga session.
Annabelle’s project was an innovative example of an imaginative possibility for outdoor education and expeditionary learning. In addition to flexing her math and leadership skills in planning this event, Annabelle taught the lesson verbally and using American Sign Language (ASL), in support of her ICS STEM Project called Empowering Young Children Through ASL.
The Kindergarten class enjoyed the morning of Math fun. But even more than that, they enjoyed working with their older ICS peers, and seeing that students of all ages love math. Congratulations to Annabelle and the Kindergarten class on a mathematical extravaganza!