Our world is made up of colors and shapes. Children try to understand their surroundings by looking at the differently shaped objects around them which are directly responsible for brain development. . These mental mapping of shapes play a crucial role in the development of analytical, life, and career skills and problem-solving abilities in children.
Why is teaching shapes important?
- Help children learn how to organize visual information. Shapes help them identify things and objects and they can classify and differentiate them.
- Help them identify letters and numbers, signs and symbols
- Improves categorization and comparison skills
- Facial recognition and navigation skills are swiftly developed among kids who can categorize and compare various shapes.
- Shapes help in teaching basic mathematical concepts
- Helps in teaching the concept of symmetry. They learn about placements, positioning, and overall motor skills.
But “How do we educate our children with various concepts of shapes and geometry? Is mere knowing the shape names or simply responding from memorizing the facts enough or we should focus on making connections using the various understanding and utilization of shapes and the interdisciplinary concepts in the curriculum and real-world context?
This is where Vega Schools, one of the best schools in Gurgaon, comes into play as it has adapted Problem-Based learning pedagogy to promote deeper learning and high-order thinking skills. They introduced the iLEAD program at the pre-nursery level which was developed by Dr. Steven Edwards, Co-Founder of Vega Schools-Prenursery school in Gurgaon. Vega Schools currently has admissions open for Nursery Admissions in Gurgaon
Let us now understand in detail how the i-lead Programme was utilized by the Learning leaders of Vega schools, to understand shapes and its importance.
GETTING INTO THE ZONE (GITZ)
Learners are introduced to shapes through a real-life example at Vega, one of the top schools in Gurugram. Learners were made to observe different objects in their surroundings and through presentation of various rooms and objects and asked to draw pictures of the same.
GITZ intends to create interest and further questioning like “What is the similarity in all the objects that you see around yourself?” or “What is common amongst all the objects kept across different rooms?”
Skills Acquired at this stage are: Curiosity, Self-awareness skills when they ask questions, Inquisitiveness, Engagement
In this stage, Learners ask questions about shapes. Since the interest has been sparked in GITZ, learners are led to probe and look for answers around shapes. They start thinking at a deeper level making connections between concepts and real-life videos they had watched.
Focus is on the Voice and Choice of the learners and great thought and attention are given to each of their probing questions. One single “Driving Question” is derived from all their questions and based on gentle prompts, the learners themselves come up with the title of their project.
Some examples of driving questions are “Why does everything have a shape” or “ Why are shapes important?
Skills achieved-Higher Order Thinking Skills: Creative thinking, Critical thinking. Life and Career Skills.
Learners discuss how they can get the answers to their questions. In this stage, learners go about trying to derive answers to their probing questions asked during the i-Think phase. Learning leaders decide on how to delegate tasks and how to split them into groups and hand over various tasks to them so that the process is collaborative.
Some inquiries were conducted on topics like dimensions, 2D and 3D shapes, etc. Are shapes important? In what way does it help in spatial perception?
In this step, learners gain basic literacy skills like knowledge of basics shapes, lines, and curves, patterns, names of different shapes. They also learn other numeracy skills like Venn diagram, dimensions, tally marks.
Learners research shapes and learn about their properties. These researches are conducted in the form of inquiries to help learners answer their questions. For example, learners explored the shapes in their environment (natural and man-made). They reflected on how various shapes come together to form structures and artifacts around them. They learn the differences in the properties between 2D and 3D shapes and discover how these shapes are used for different purposes.
Some Skills Acquired were: Collaboration and communication-articulation, justification, conflict-resolution, emotional -intelligence, Creative thinking, innovation, Problem-solving, Leadership: initiative, Decision-making skills, Imbibing and inculcating the values and Empathy
Learners use the concept of shapes to create a solution to a real-life problem: Learners created their personal projects by applying their understanding and knowledge of shapes. Keeping in mind the pandemic and its problems, they created first aid boxes and masks using their knowledge of shapes.
Some art and craft created were: Masks, First-Aid box, Pencil Stand, Organizers, Pillow, Purse, Flower pots, Balls, Storage box, Candles, Hand fan, Water purifier, Notebooks.
Skills Acquired: Critical thinking, Decision making, Problem-solving, Ideation, Innovation, Curiosity, Real life connections, Presentation skills, Articulation
Learners recount their learning journey and rethink how every task could be done better. They reflect upon the materials used to create the projects.
For Example: When a learner created a Pencil holder, he was also asked to reflect upon what was it made of (Cardboard), what shapes were used (Cylinder, circle, and square), and what is the use of the product (to keep brushes, pencils, etc.)
Various group-based and individual reflection techniques were used and learners were also made to share their experience with the inquiry
The I-LEAD cycle aims to examine the effects of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach on students’ performance in the learning of shapes. Secondly, it seeks to gain insights from the students regarding the implementation of PBL in all the inquiries. Vega Schools is one of the top international schools in Gurgaon that works towards making learning a creative and engaging activity.