Global Math Week: Second, Fourth, and Fifth Graders Learn About Exploding Dots
This month, MMS students in second, fourth, and fifth grade participated in Global Math Week, a grassroots program that shares fun and creative math activities with students around the world. Organizers aimed for ten million children in 2018.
This year’s assignment is based on the theory of Exploding Dots, which is directly relevant to elementary school mathematics, but also provides a gateway to abstract mathematical explorations beyond the standard curriculum. The theory of Exploding Dots was formulated by mathematician James Tanton. In its simplest form, it is a visual model designed to teach students how to perform binary arithmetic, and calculations in different number bases. The theory is especially relevant to MMS students; they soon realize that Exploding Dots is really just a variation of the Montessori Stamp Game, which is used in Kindergarten and Lower Elementary to teach place value and dynamic addition with exchanges. By studying Exploding Dots, children better understand the role of place value in our number system. More importantly, they learn to see mathematics as a creative endeavor of discovery and experimentation.