When our son was in first grade, he religiously collected shiny red seeds in our neighborhood and in his school. One day, when our discussions veered towards multiplication and division, these red seeds came in as a prop for grouping and sorting.
These early discussions laid the foundation for transforming our initial software educational venture to a physical one, Puthir. These discussions unquestionably demonstrated the effectiveness of manipulatable physical objects in learning.
This year, all members of Puthir are participating in Global Math week. Exploding dots transform into Exploding shells, seeds and mancala holes at Puthir.
Our session started with introduction to the 2 - 1 machine. There was so much interest among all age groups that they went all the way to number 50 before we found the time to talk about 3 - 1. After the 3 - 1 machine, the idea clicked for everyone and they were well on their way forming groups and discussing ideas.
When we moved on to the 10 - 1 machine, the idea clicked for all our seniors. The fact that the machines are nothing but place value generators manifested very clearly through exploding dots / seeds and shells :)
We moved onto 8 - 1 and 16 - 1 machines for our seniors while some of our juniors decided to explore their 4 - 1 machines. We are looking forward to an exhilarating week of exploding dots.
Huge thanks to James Tanton and the Global Math Project community from all of us at Puthir.