Q&A #105

Math 'to the power of'

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From: Lee-Anne
To: Teacher2Teacher Service
Date: Jun 02, 1998 at 13:40:17
Subject: Montessori Math 'to the power of'

This was a Montessori classroom exercise for 10- to 11-year-olds. Comments on 
the teaching method, please!

  1 to the power of 1 - 1
  1 to the power of 2 - 1x1 = 1
  1 to the power of 3 - 1x1x1 = 1
    etc., written longhand to the power of 10

  2 to the power of 1 - 2
  2 to the power of 2 - 2x2 = 4
  2 to the power of 3 - 2x2x2 = 8
    etc., written longhand to the power of 10

continuing on through 3's to 10's, all written out longhand even when a child 
finds a pattern. It takes some 4+ hours to complete, mostly as homework!

Calculations are done on the calculator even though the children only have 
8-digit calculators and some of these numbers are too huge to calculate this 
way, so these are also done longhand with up to ten movements on the 
calculator, at times leaving the child open to forgetting times they may have 
pressed the buttons and leading to easily preventable mistakes and huge 
frustration, re doing calculations etc.

Or... the child could do it in his head longhand!

There were no comments about trying to find a shortcut or pattern. It was just 
to be completed at all cost or punished by being kept in at playtime to 
continue working on this exercise.

This  exercise was given by a Montessori teacher whose job it is to enrich the 
child and create a lifelong love of learning with stimulating challenges! My 
child now hates maths and is very reluctant to try anything more after this 
very painful, boring exercise! 

Your comments would be greatly appreciated and also a suggestion on how else 
this could have been approached from a professional level. How can I now 
stimulate my child to want to learn again?  He is a very bright child.

Thanks, Lee-Anne

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