My sister, Jan Wilton, is the director of the fast growing, progressive Noah's Ark Pre-School in Mesa, AZ. As sisters we are as different as, well, as pre-school to college, in our teaching careers. She is a 4’10” ball of energy whose focus has always been on early childhood education. The teachers at her school are just as enthusiastic and dedicated and have a desire to learn and challenge themselves and their students.

When I was assigned a Texas Instruments Discover workshop in the Phoenix area, I asked Jan if I could work with the children at Noah’s Ark. We had never worked together professionally, so I was even more excited when she suggested a 3-hour workshop for teachers at her school and other pre-schools in the area. She did a great job organizing and promoting the event: *1 + 1 Math is Fun*.

So, last week about 20 pre-school teachers, parents, my sister, and I spent three hours on Thursday night sharing, experiencing, and communicating mathematics, technology, and teaching for pre-school aged children. I introduced the appropriate use of the TI-10 calculator and the CBR2 data collection device used with the TI-73 calculator for the teachers to use with the children.

I also emphasized the integration of mathematics with other disciplines. Literature is most appropriate connection for this age group. The teachers were excited to see how easy it is to teach mathematics while reading a story. Some of my suggestions included:

- The Cheerios Counting Book
- Penguins in the Fridge
- Counting on Frank
- Gator Pie
- One Hundred Hungry Ants
- The Greedy Triangle

I was impressed with how quickly they came up with mathematics lessons to accompany the stories.

The next day, I had the opportunity to work with the four and five year olds at the school. It was great fun watching them interact with the technology. They were as intrigued by the overhead projector as they were with the fact the CBR2 mapped their footsteps using sonar as they created “the letter W” on the view screen. They loved “playing the game” with basic addition and subtraction facts using the Problem Solving mode of the TI-10. Most exciting to me was watching the increased confidence and excitement of the teachers as they realized how much mathematics the children were experiencing and how easy it was going to be to continue the teaching with the technology.

The latest report from my sister has been very rewarding. She relates how the teachers refer to my comments regarding the need to integrate mathematics with reading and how excitedly they’ve embraced the school’s goal for next year to build on mathematics and science. The real winners are the children! Thanks to Jan and her teachers, the children of Noah’s Ark Pre-School in Mesa, AZ will become little mathematicians - and that’s the greatest reward for my time!

1 + 1 Math is Fun? Yes, and now they know it too!

Tags: Noah's Ark Pre-School, Texas Instruments Discover, math education