Friday, June 27, 2014

Preschool Calculus

There it is - preschool calculus. My son was eating store-bought hummus by dipping saltine crackers. He proudly called me over to see his sculpture, pictured above, and I smiled. He had taken his square-shaped crackers and lined them along the edge of the circular container. It was a wonderful approximation of a circle using straight lines; it was calculus. He was differentiating the curve of the container!

A week later he was building an "ice castle" with magnatiles. He approximated the circular roof, or what he calls "frozen fractals," using the equilateral triangles. (It was actually a hexagon but in his mind's eye, it was close enough to a circle to pass muster.)

These are precisely the kind of math learning experiences that needs to be happening in preschool! Shapes, approximations, and error are part of preschool play that will form the foundation for learning the more academic aspects of math. All they need from us is peace and quiet, and perhaps a well-placed tool/toy.

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