Math on the Move by Malke Rosenfeld. Engaging Students in Whole Body
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Math on the Move
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Math on the Move

Engaging Students in Whole Body Learning

Malke shows how pairing math concepts and whole body movement creates opportunities for students to make sense of math in entirely new ways. Filled with classroom-tested activities and detailed coaching tips, and supported with extensive online video clips, Math on the Move shows how movement can enliven the learning process rather than offer a break from it.

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Full Description

“We want math to make sense to our students, and the moving body is a wonderful partner toward that goal.”
—Malke Rosenfeld

Kids love to move. But how do we harness all that kinetic energy effectively for math learning? In Math on the Move, Malke Rosenfeld shows how pairing math concepts and whole body movement creates opportunities for students to make sense of math in entirely new ways. Malke shares her experience creating dynamic learning environments by:

  • exploring the use of the body as a thinking tool
  • highlighting mathematical ideas that are usefully explored with a moving body
  • providing a range of entry points for learning to facilitate a moving math classroom.

Malke pulls from both research and practice to build a framework for this work, reminding us that, “It’s the partnership between the math and the whole moving body that creates opportunities for potent mathematical sense making.” Filled with classroom-tested activities and detailed coaching tips, and supported with extensive online video clips, Math on the Move shows how movement can enliven the learning process rather than simply offer a break from it.

 

Malke Rosenfeld is a dance teaching artist, author, and presenter whose interests focus on the learning that happens at the intersection of math and the moving body. She delights in creating rich environments in which children and adults can explore, make, play, and talk math based on their own questions and inclinations.

Contents

Chapter 1 The Body as “an Object to Think With”

Chapter 2 How Is This Math?

Chapter 3 Beyond Mnemonics: Getting Started with Moving-Scale Math

Chapter 4 Math in Your Feet, Part 1: Understand, Experiment, and Create

Chapter 5 Math in Your Feet, Part 2: Combine, Transform, and Communicate

Chapter 6 Facilitating the Math-and-Dance Classroom

Chapter 7 Adapting Math in Your Feet to the Primary Grades

Chapter 8 Assess, Extend, and Connect

In Depth

In this book I endeavor to explain why we should use the whole, moving body in math learning by pulling from both research and practice to build a framework for meaningful, body-based math learning, but the short answer is that when children harness their innate body knowledge for mathematical sense making, they also harness their whole selves in the pursuit of new ideas and understanding. They develop, communicate, and reason about mathematical ideas both nonverbally and verbally. Teachers regularly report to me during the math-and-dance work I do with their students that they cannot believe how much the children are “talking math” while they endeavor to meet the physical and mathematical challenges presented to them and during other parts of the day. To me this makes perfect sense because this is how we learn the meaning of words in the first place—in context. Children can make good sense of the world when they get a chance to interact with it, and children are also well able to reason with and about things they observe and do. But they can do this only if they get the chance to do, make, investigate, converse, wonder, build, express, and reflect. Without these kinds of interactions they might still be able to memorize math facts, but memorization would not necessarily mean they would know, for themselves, that something was true.

In this book I focus on what it means and looks like to bring meaningful movement and math learning together in the classroom. It is completely understandable if you initially have reluctance, doubts, or questions about using movement in math class. This reluctance could be, in part, related to the fact that lots of us have really learned math only as it’s presented on the page or as a series of rules, facts, and procedures to memorize. Math learning using the whole body can feel and look very different than what we’re used to thinking of as math. But experiencing math this way can become a potent opportunity to create new insights about the math ideas not necessarily or immediately accessible to us as represented visually on the page. We want math to make sense to our students, and the moving body is a wonderful partner toward that goal. Of course, trying out any new approach for the first time may induce a little trepidation, but this book (and its online video companion) is filled with everything you need to get started: the whats, the whys, and the hows of helping learners make math meaningful through purposeful, whole-body-based math investigations and problem solving.

— Introduction, xvi-xvii

Samples

Reviews

“Do you have students who worry too much about getting right answers? Do you have students who like to wiggle? How about students with wonderful imaginations? Math on the Move provides ways to engage all of your students in mathematical thinking and problem solving. Malke Rosenfeld takes her deep knowledge of percussive dance and uncovers intersections with fundamental elementary topics from counting, patterns, and shapes, to combinations and transformations. By engaging their whole bodies in sense making, children will develop new understandings of these important ideas.”
—Ilana Seidel Horn, Professor of Mathematics Education, Vanderbilt University Peabody College; author of Strength in Numbers

“Malke shares her contagious excitement in sense-making and problem-solving in both movement and mathematics. The introduction of your own body as a tool for doing and figuring out math is powerful, engaging and will invite learners who have often been or felt excluded in the math classroom. Malke’s work is built on a solid foundation of some of the deepest thinkers in math education, like Seymour Papert, but forged through classroom practice with actual students and teachers. Clap hands and join in!”
—Dr. John Golden, Grand Valley State University

“As a mathematician whose work crosses into art it is always inspiring and delightful when I encounter work that is both genuine mathematics and genuine art; each side supporting and enriching the other. Malke's work fits this pattern wonderfully. The movement activities described naturally link to the notions of transformational geometry and the subtle questions of sameness and difference that are explored. Enabling people to find the links between that physical understanding and the mathematical abstractions is a wonderful way to make mathematics open up. Overall this is a wonderful book on the power and importance of mathematical thinking to explore all sorts of surprising topics, and conversely the importance of physical movement and dance to explore mathematics.”
—Edmund Harriss, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Arkansas