Brain Power – Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them

“This is what we believe focused math education does: It sharpens the firing of these quantity neurons,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Collège de France in Paris and author of the books “The Number Sense” and “Reading and the Brain.” The firing of the number neurons becomes increasingly more selective to single quantities, he said; and these cells apparently begin to communicate with neurons across the brain in language areas, connecting precise quantities to words: “two,” “ten,” “five.”

via Brain Power – Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them – Series – NYTimes.com.

A similar honing process is thought to occur when young children begin to link letter shapes and their associated sounds. Cells in the visual cortex wired to recognize shapes specialize in recognizing letters; these cells communicate with neurons in the auditory cortex as the letters are associated with sounds.

The process may take longer to develop than many assume. A study published in March by neuroscientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands suggested that the brain does not fully fuse letters and sounds until about age 11.

In Liquid and Air, Scientists Find Order Among the Chaos – NYTimes.com

Putting themselves in Roamer’s “shoes”: we ask students to see a math idea through Roamer’s eyes–this means they become a Euclidean point traveling through space. This enables them to get physical, geometric intuitions about formerly abstract mathematical ideas.

Why would the intuitions this provides be important? Here’s an example from the NYT Article on predicting current flows in the ocean

To find the structures, scientists must track flow, not by watching it go by but from the perspective of the droplets of water or molecules of air moving in it. “It’s like being a surfer,” Dr. Campbell said. “You want to catch the wave and move with the wave.”

New Category: Matter, Energy, Life on Earth

Matter Energy Life on Earth Logo

The Hands-On, Integrated, 5-Level, Active Learning Design, Less-is-More, Three-Year Science & Math Curriculum….

  • Level 1: 3 Year Overview: Theme and Project Flowchart
  • Level 2: Single Year Overviews: Theme and Project Flowcharts
  • Level 3: Single Quarter Project “Challenge-Trees”: Visual Learning Goals for One Quarter of One Year of the Matter*Energy*Life Cycle
  • Level 4: Single Quarter Syllabus: Detailed Project Credit-Checklists (Pass/Try Again) and Achievement-Based Grading Ladders for all Projects in One Semester.
  • Level 5: Project Handouts and Models of Excellence: All the materials students need to prepare for a given Project’s Pass/Try Again Exit Exam: sample: math-science challenge problems, lab report layout guidelines, quickstart guide to using the USB Shot microscope, etc…

presented in 3 cycles, for grades: K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th–WILL GO HERE….