An important part of learning is application of learnt knowledge. As a teacher, specially one who adores math, I notice that children find it hard to extend concepts learnt in a math class to the real world. I also notice that framing questions is a difficult task for children.
Newspapers are a rich resource to help apply and generalize concepts that they learn in their textbooks. This newspaper clipping (source: The Hindu) was shown to a class of 13 to 14-year olds. After an initial discussion of what the bar graph is about, children were asked to frame questions based on this. These were some of the questions asked by the children (verbatim account):
Who was at Mysore Zoo?
Which is the highest number in the month?
Which is the lowest number in the month?
What is the number in the month of July?
What was the number of visitors visited in August?
Why does August have a peak number?
Why is June month have little more people coming in zoo?
In which month many people visited the zoo?
As we were coming towards the end of the class, a child piped in and said “I didn’t know there was Math and English in the newspaper”… There was another who said “I have seen bars like this in my math book”. Now, that’s some step towards generalization!