images of giftedness in G. K. Chesterton

I’m on a G. K. Chesterton binge right now, reading a variety of his books. Reading the books is a refreshing exercise. I have to concentrate on it. One cannot skim his books. Each sentence has such meaning and yet each gets more meaning from the sentences around it. That seems such an obvious thing to say. but it really I can read a paragraph or two and then sit and reflect upon what it means. I keep finding within Chesteron’s works descriptions about intellectual giftedness. Since the challenge of being a gifted adult is a topic of interest to me, Continue reading

Superman Grounded: a comic book about despair and hope

I’ve read two good blog posts recently on using children’s books to help counter the despair people feel about the world today. One is a post over at Steam Powered Classroom, where Gwyn speaks about how children’s books embody the best parts of humanity.  She writes that children’s books “serve as the proverbial angel on the shoulder, whispering in young ears stories of kindness, of struggle, of the human condition.” Then there’s a post at Books, Babies and Bows about sharing books about peace as a counter to the depressive nature of world news. I think back to what I Continue reading

What I want my children to practice through computer programming

My seven year old is back to computer programming, this time using Scratch, an easy programming language developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is a free easy program to use, and children can share the programs they make with it on the Scratch community website. So again I’m asking myself, what do I want him to learn from this?Understanding Coordinates. I like that programming requires him to think in terms of y being the verticle axis and x being the horizontal axis. When we eventually get to doing math using graphs and coordinates he’s going Continue reading

String Games and Mathematics, part 2.

In my last post on string games I talked about Opening A and dropping the thumb strings to create a two loop loom. Today I want to write about what happens when you take the palm string of Opening A. When you just take the index or middle fingers, put them under the palm string of the opposite hands and pull straight out you get three loops. Now here I run into a terminology problem. When I said you get three loops, I meant that you get three spaces bordered by string. My first picture represents those spaces with three different Continue reading

Combinatorial Game Theory with Early Elementary School Aged Children

Put a collection of small objects (stones, beans, Popsicle sticks, etc) in a pile. Let two people take turns removing one, two or three of the objects. Can you predict which person will take the last object? My seven year old knows who will. The game is called Nim and there are plenty of variations of it. In some variations the objects are divided into piles and you cannot remove objects from more than one pile while in other multi-pile variations you can remove from multiple piles as long as you remove the same number from each pile. In some Continue reading

Chess Resources

We’re into playing strategy games quite a bit right now. Blockus is one of the favorites. It involves placing uniquely shaped tile pieces onto a big grid according to specific rules, particularly that like colored tiles must not share edges but connect at corners. At first my strategy was to try to get rid of all the largest and most awkwardly shaped pieces right at the beginning so that I wouldn’t have the struggle of fitting them in when the board gets more crowded, but I soon began to realize that at times I needed those pieces; they could wind around Continue reading

L Systems Coding with Kids

I showed M how to use a few basic commands in an L-systems Program. Basically what happens is he types in a simple code with F meaning to draw a line a distance forward, + and – meaning to change the angles. He sets up a simple code like FF+F+F. He sets the starting axiom as F, and the angle as 90. Then the program goes through and substitutes the whole code there for every F in the code…. so that basic code becomes FF+F+F and then FF+F+FFF+F+F+FF+F+F+FF+F+F and so on and so on. We don’t see the code at this point, we Continue reading