My idea of Monk Math is to give the monks an experience of doing mathematics which will introduce them to both the content and process of mathematics. I envisage a three level approach:
- Give students a sense of the great ideas of mathematics-- the power of mathematical reasoning.
- Engage students in explorations which provide an experience of doing mathematics and a basis for appreciating the great ideas
- Help students to build basic skills needed to accomplish these mathematical and scientific explorations.
Power of Mathematics:
We want students to get a sense of:
• What does it mean to think mathematically?
• How is mathematics powerful in helping us understand the world.
• A historical perspective of the great ideas and trends in mathematical thought.
• How the ideas of mathematics interact with, support or arise from science.
Students will work through several units, each consisting of a series of explorations taken from recent curriculum work spanning grades 4-9 mathematics. Explorations will help students to appreciate the great ideas. Explorations will :
• Help students experience thinking about and doing mathematics: alone, in small groups and in the whole group.
• Lend themselves to easy modification for a wide spectrum of ability
• Support the work in science by exploring key concepts such as ratio, and where possible be based in science experiments.
• Connect to their experience of mathematics in the monastery, including mandalas, music, astronomy/astrology
Many explorations developed from my own work with teachers and graduate courses. Many ideas are modified from NCTM Standards examples, Marilyn Burns Collections of Math Lessons, Equals Investigations, Gere Confrey, David Henderson: Experiencing Geometry
Since monks come with a wide range of experience and skill, we need to provide explanations and practice for basic arithmetic concepts which will enable them to do the explorations.