This is our second year using Miquon Math but our first establishing a “math lab.” I had never heard of the idea before however after reading what the concept of a math lab is in the Miquon Notes to Teachers I was impressed.
It was more than that, I was excited and couldn’t wait to create a math lab in our homeschool room.
What is a math lab?
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In the Miquon Notes to Teachers appendix E describes a math lab as this:
“The Miquon Math Lab are math materials that are meant to be used in an activity-based classroom setting where children use all their senses to solve mathematical problems and test out reality. They need to learn to use the tools of the mathematician as well as the math tools of the work-a-day world. They need to be given time and materials to experiment, invent, and test out their own ideas.”
This isn’t just hands on learning but a multisensory way of understanding math concepts!
More on the construct of a math lab from Miquon Notes to Teachers:
”Children have free access to the materials in the room, and they use them as they feel a need to demonstrate to themselves how something works or to prove that their conjecture are correct. These materials are not conceived of as “crutches” to learning, but as the child’s version of the laboratory behavior of the adult researcher who makes direct observations, sets up experiments, collects data, and generalizes from them-before he is willing to accept ideas as facts.”
What is in A Math Lab?
There is a list of items that Miquon Notes to Teachers recommends to have in a Miquon Math lab. Several items can be hand made or are everyday items that you use and can find around the house. Miquon Notes to Teachers suggests to buy selectively and gradually what you need to set up your own math lab, as the child should need it. I have already begun to make some of the items for our math lab and have purchased several items that we need. These are the items recommended for a Miquon Math lab:
Structured commercial materials
Counting, Conservation of Number, Computation
- Math Games
- Math Toys
- Pebbles (We collected ours on our beach nature walk)
- Real money
- Play Money
- Counting Trays
- Egg carton
- 1-100 Number Board
Volume, Capacity, Weight
- Boxes of various size
- cans & jars
- Balance Teaching Scale
- Spoons, cups,
- metric spoon set
- liter and milliliter set
- metric bathroom scale
1. Sand Timers
2. Play Clock
4. Minute timer
5. Alarm clock
Shapes and Patterns
4. Cans, dowels, fabrics
Miquon Math Lesson & Lab
Miquon notes to teachers explains that a math lab can be used formally and informally. I use it both ways. I leave the math lab supplies out for my children to explore and discover math concepts through.
For my oldest (6 yr old) this is an example of a Math Lesson.
Odd & Even
Step 1: Explain the concept of Odd & Even numbers and visually demonstrate on chalk or white board.
Step 2: Allow child to process and explore the learned information by using the material supplied in the math lab.
Step 3: Child applies what they have learned by completing Odd & Even math worksheet.
Some of the materials for the math lab I was able to find around the house. As you begin to build supplies for your math lab pay attention to what you can gather from outside. You can do this by collecting pebbles or shells whenever you see them. A number line or 100 chart can be handmade as well.
What are your thoughts on a math lab?