"Science is when you think a lot."
December 29, 2014 10:43 AM   Subscribe

Two enjoyable chapters [PDF, 33 pages] from the book Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers. "This book does not purport to show you how to create precocious high achievers. It is just one person's story about things he tried with a half-dozen young children."
posted by Wolfdog (10 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Fascinating (and cute!). But the whole more coins/buttons thing could just be because of varying definitions of "more", no?
posted by ropeladder at 10:52 AM on December 29, 2014

This is extremely good:
“Remember, Dad, you once gave us a puzzle on squares and quadrilaterals, what is there more of. Well, I think we did not give you the right answer then. In fact, there are more quadrilaterals.”

And he rather intelligently explained why. Since then I’ve adhered to the principle that questions are more important than answers.
I highly approve.
posted by Michele in California at 11:31 AM on December 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Thanks for sharing this!
posted by Zephyrial at 12:29 PM on December 29, 2014

The more buttons/coins thing was formalized in Piaget's theory of cognitive development, and indeed, one of the challenges is that we (as adults) define the word 'more' (versus 'longer') and not the children, and that they are simply using their own definition which doesn't fit with ours. The author weighs in favor of Piaget when his 3-year old was bewildered when rearranging items to make 'more' didn't actually end up making more. (On page 26 as marked, but is the 12th page in the linked PDF.)
posted by fragmede at 12:30 PM on December 29, 2014

Adorable! And insightful! ^_^

One of the staff at Berkeley's Mathematical Sciences Research Institute actually has the full book available on his website: http://www.msri.org/people/staff/levy/files/MCL/Zvonkin.pdf
posted by omnomnOMINOUS at 2:55 PM on December 29, 2014 [5 favorites]

[...] if you exercise sufficient pressure you get your way: they will cease trusting their intelligence and experience and will try instead to guess what the adult government wants them to say.

There, fixed that for him.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:04 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, he refutes that issue pretty effectively, I think:
I remember once we had visitors and were one chair short, and Dima, then aged 3, tried to make the guests change their seats to accommodate everyone. Each time there was one chair short. It was enough to see his bewildered expression to understand that it had nothing to do with the semantics of the word “more.”
posted by Michele in California at 5:45 PM on December 29, 2014

He refutes nothing! His discussion of the issue is evasive at best, and depends on quibbling about "definitions". The part you quoted is an appeal to his personal experience, and I think its relevance to the issue is unclear.
posted by thelonius at 6:23 PM on December 29, 2014

This sort of thing makes me really want to have kids
posted by jpdoane at 9:30 AM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Along the same sort of line, I really enjoy Feynman's description of his Father's teaching methods
posted by jpdoane at 9:33 AM on December 31, 2014

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