In the readings this week regarding embodied learning, I was interested in the applications of embodied learning theories to mathematics. The ability to understand numbers and unknowns is a concept that many students struggle with at some point in their academics. Being able to experience the learning through more tactile means adds another dimension on learning to students. Also, using signs and symbols to represent numerical equations can assist in students understanding on mathematical phenomena. Radford (2009) emphasizes that in order for students to embody their learning, they must first disembody their previous notions of spatial awareness. When students have partially developed ideas of mathematical concepts, it can be much more difficult for them to learning through embodied methods.
In the paper by Carraher et al (1985), the authors noted how children that had little to know formal education in Brazail were about to understand and compute mathematical problems as they bartered for goods in the markets. This demonstrates how the way we go about learning math in more formal education settings is not the only way to build real world skills. For a project with my grade 4s, I gave them the opportunity to plan a party with a budget of $100. We walked to our nearby grocery store so that students could decide on products they wanted based on how many guests they were having. They had to use their math skills as well as planning skills to make sure they’re guests would be satisfied. I think this is the closed I’ve come to teaching embodied learning in mathematics. I’m curious what new educational technologies will emerge for educations to use in the classroom.
Some questions I have :
Embodied learning to me seems to be more of a teaching strategy that educators turn to when more traditional disembodied methods are not working. How can we make embodied learning more relevant and integrated into the curriculum?
The second questions ties into the first… If we use embodied learning in the classroom, how do we know it’s working? It seems that we may flip back to the traditional assessment formats to measure its success. I was wondering what types of measurable assessment can we conduct to demonstrate its effectiveness?
Carraher, T. N., Carraher, D. W., & Dias Schliemann, A. (1985).
British journal of developmental psychology: Mathematics in the streets and in schools British Psychological Society.
Radford, L. (2003) Gestures, Speech and Sprouting Signs: A Simiotic Cultures Approach to Students’ Types of Generaltizations. Mathematical Thinking and Learning