# Early Childhood Education: Mathematics and Science Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos.

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Early Childhood Education: Mathematics and Science Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Overview Mathematics Standards Science Standards ECE teaching methods to foster cognitive development Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development StageAgeKey Characteristics Sensorimotor0-2 Thinks via senses Pre-Operational2-7 Can use mental symbols Thinks unidirectionally Egocentric Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Mathematics National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recommends that maths be taught in concrete contexts that allow children to problem solve Number and Operations Understand whole numbers  Counting, Cardinality, Comparison (More/Less) Joining and separating sets (Addition/Subtraction) Geometry: Identify shapes and describe spatial relations Above, below, next to Develop effective and efficient strategies for solving mathematical problems Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Maths Activities Classify objects based on relevant characteristics People in class Buttons Bottle caps Leaves, rocks, etc. Seriation: Ordering from small to large Patterns: Recognize and create patterns based on number, space, colors Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Science Two components Scientific Content: Scientific knowledge Scientific Process: Methods used by scientists to gather information Three domains Physical sciences: Physics and Chemistry Life sciences: Biology, Botany and Zoology Earth and space science: Geology and Astronomy Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Scientific Process Scientific process is more important for young children than science content Identify a problem Collect data Generate possible solutions Test solutions Draw conclusions Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Scientific Attitudes to Foster Objectivity: Look at both sides of an issue before making a decision Wait until all data has been gathered to make a judgment Critically evaluate the data Mistakes are acceptable Respect for the natural environment Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Introduction to Teaching Methods Young children learn most effectively by manipulating real-world materials because they can discover facts and relationships Cognitive development is not limited to formal class lessons but occurs as children interact with adults, peers, and the environment Rote teaching has been demonstrated to be ineffective, particularly for young children The constructivist approach is a more beneficial teaching method for fostering cognitive development (DeVries & Kohlberg, 1987) Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Revision from Psych of Learning: Constructivism Young children actively engage in creating meaning based on their interactions with the environment Young children construct new understanding based on their prior knowledge Young children construct knowledge through personal experiences and social interactions Two fundamental aspects of a constructivist classroom: Children create understanding of the world through manipulating objects Children create understanding of the world by interacting with people around them Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Constructivist ECE Classroom Provide a real-world context for learning tasks Provide opportunities for children to investigate and experiment within the domain Provide opportunities for children to work together Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Teacher’s Roles in Constructivism Educational Experiences Encourage student inquiry Nurture students’ natural curiosity Ask students to explain their understanding of a concept before teaching Tailor teaching strategies to student responses by providing experiences that contradict students’ misconceptions Promote dialogue Ask open-ended questions Allow wait-time after asking questions for students to think Ask students to explain their answers Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Montessori Method Classroom is organized into centers Children individually choose their activities and work at their own pace Teachers prepare the environment and support students in their chosen activities Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Project Approach A nursery teacher asked the children to collect as many old balls as they could from home, friends, relatives, and others. They collected 31 different kinds of balls, including a gumball, a cotton ball, a globe of the earth, and an American football. The children formed groups to examine specific questions. One group studied the texture of each ball, another measured the circumference of each ball with pieces of string, and a third tried to determine what each ball was made of. As the children studied their balls, new questions arose, groups shared information, and children learned concepts in science and mathematics. (Semi-Quoted from Katz, 1994 as cited in Henniger, 2008)

Project Approach Project: In-depth investigation of a specific topic Goal: Find more about the topic from a multi- curricular perspective Procedure Select a project topic Generate a list of questions with the students to be answered Divide students into groups to answer each question Have each group share their general findings with the class Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

ECE General Curriculum Goals Goals of curriculum in early childhood Critical Thinking: Critically examine information to determine what is useful in decision making Problem solving: Recognize and solve problems Play fosters problem solving in a nonthreatening environment Promote lifelong learning Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Centers Blocks Gardening Container Water Sand Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Activity According to a constructivist perspective, develop an activity that can be realistically taught in a Nigerian setting Objective Materials Procedures Important questions to ask Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

Revision What are the two key elements of a constructivist ECE classroom? What are the most important objectives for young children to learn in mathematics? What are the most important objectives for young children to learn in science Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos

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