Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Morning - Coffee is Brewing and so is something in my noggin...




Ya know how sometimes you feel like you've got an itch you just have to scratch but you just can't quite reach it? Well, I have that same feeling this morning only it's a thought, or many thoughts, that are brewing but I just haven't built the mental bridge to link them yet. 

"What we create, we always create first in a thought form." 
Shakti Gawain.
 
It is sort of like a brain buzz in that I am intrigued by what is being mentally crunched and enjoying the half arrived at "AHAH" moment. I will say I am closing in on it. 

It's not that I have been given a problem by someone and have to figure it out. I saw something and felt a brain synapse quiver for a brief moment.  I actually got up from what I was doing at work, asking a co-worker to cover for me, and got a sticky pad to write on before this mental sneeze was forgotten. I wrote down two questions for me to think about later. Here they are: "What are the similarities between the game BINGO and the Montessori finger boards for computing math problems? What are the similarities between reading a map and playing BINGO?



The seniors at The Bridge love to play BINGO. They even comment about it days before and after. We play it once a week on Wednesday.

I started thinking about coding or the breaking of simple codes. Think of BINGO for a second. A letter and a number are called out, ex., B 6.  Simple codes replace a letter with a number.  Such as the following -  6468  If B is 6, and A is 4, with Y being 8 than the code would be broken and the word revealed - BABY.



Pairing quantity with symbol happens when we use cards and counters in the Montessori Primary classroom, true. However, the symbol is numerical and the quantity is consistent with that numerical value.



When reading a map and trying to find a specific location we read horizontally and vertically. We match a number with a letter - J 18 might be the exact location you are looking for.



So...I haven't figured all of this out yet, but I have this nagging feeling that there is a connection between the GPS of the brain and the way BINGO works.  I just said to myself, "Susan, Google BINGO and see if someone else already figured out this Saturday morning SUDKO," - but then I wouldn't have the company of my own thoughts working this out while I ride my bike into Juneau for the 2nd Annual Farmer's Market Local Food Festival. Last year there was a wonderful stall selling mushrooms from Sitka, AK or was it Haines...hmmmm.

I will check Google later if necessary. However, before I depart here and strap on my bike helmet, I want to share a story regarding a conversation I overheard on the playground of Thacher Montessori School in Canton, MA a few years ago.


I was sitting outside on the playground watching children engaged in a variety of outdoor activities. I noticed 4 children, all girls around 5 years old, had gathered under a tree near the sand box. I walked closer and took a seat on a near by log.

They were talking in a various serious tone. One of them said, "Well, my home is inside a large building and there is a number and a letter on our door. It is 3 A. All of the other doors have a number and a letter on them too."

A second child said, "I live in a house and there is only one family living there, mine. My mom looks for three numbers on our house and those numbers tell her which house is the right house. The numbers on my house are 743. If she writes a letter to my grandmother she writes those numbers and the name of our street in the corner of the envelope that she sends the letter in."

They all got quiet for a moment and seemed to be reflecting on all that was stated. Another child spoke up and said, "I live in an apartment complex that has a number on the outside of each of the apartment buildings. You have to find the number of our apartment building and then inside, like you Sara, is a number on our door. So you have to find two different numbers if you want to come to my house. The numbers have to match. But we don't have a letter on our door, just a number" Again, the girls got very quiet. A few minutes later they were up and chasing each other.

I remember thinking that these girls were talking like women elders sitting around a fire sharing wisdom. This was the wisdom of finding your way home. It is also the wisdom of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. They were identifying their first maps.

Ok...new brain spasm...BINGO and the cartesian coordinate system.

A Cartesian coordinate system specifies each point uniquely in a plane by a pair of numerical coordinates, which are the signed distances from the point to two fixed perpendicular directed lines, measured in the same unit of length. Each reference line is called a coordinate axis or just axis of the system, and the point where they meet is its origin, usually at ordered pair (0,0). The coordinates can also be defined as the positions of the perpendicular projections of the point onto the two axes, expressed as signed distances from the origin.
One can use the same principle to specify the position of any point in three-dimensional space by three Cartesian coordinates, its signed distances to three mutually perpendicular planes (or, equivalently, by its perpendicular projection onto three mutually perpendicular lines). In general, one can specify a point in a space of any dimension n by use of n Cartesian coordinates, the signed distances from n mutually perpendicular hyperplanes.

 
 
Cartesian coordinate system with a circle of radius 2 centered at the origin marked in red. The equation of a circle is (xa)2 + (yb)2 = r2 where a and b are the coordinates of the center (a, b) and r is the radius.
The invention of Cartesian coordinates in the 17th century by René Descartes (Latinized name: Cartesius) revolutionized mathematics by providing the first systematic link between Euclidean geometry and algebra.


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If Rene' Descartes can link Euclidean geometry and algebra why can't I show the act of playing BINGO as a left/right brain act that is appealing to individuals with dementia? Especially when so many seniors play multiple BINGO boards simultaneously.

Wait though, that is not the entirety of my question. I want to understand more. We talk about muscular memory often in the Montessori world. We quote Aristotle - "Nothing goes into the mind that doesn't first go through the hand." It must be the same for mental activities -  a computational memory. What computational memory is activated, and in a favorable way, in a senior with dementia, or not, and why is it such a significant recall that they feel compulsive about playing the game. The winnings for a game won at The Bridge is only a quarter so its not the mullah.

Deep breath...Ok...get on the bike Susan! Wait...should I just Google Bingo? Yeah no...

3 comments:

OrcaSister said...

BINGO in my life has been a community social event. I remember BINGO at the county fair (agricultural) and as a school fundraiser.
Anne

MathUnplugged said...

I thought about it a lot and can't create a complete fusion the two things into one game. The two things being Cartesian coordinates and bingo. But I think I came close.

In bingo you need 4 or 5 in a row (a line) to win. So that is another similarity

The game must be fun to best serve purpose of learning. But fun as a goal in and of itself is what motivates most people to play. "Fun and games" because life shouldn't be serious and doing what is required all the time.

The Indian Poet Tagore, suggested God created the universe while playing, not because it had to be created. The ultimate motivator being the joy of creating. And man is created in god's image.

Your thread and this comment is drifting way out to the deep end.
Going back to shallow water now.

MathUnplugged said...

I thought about it a lot and can't create a complete fusion the two things into one game. The two things being Cartesian coordinates and bingo. But I think I came close.

In bingo you need 4 or 5 in a row (a line) to win. So that is another similarity

The game must be fun to best serve purpose of learning. But fun as a goal in and of itself is what motivates most people to play. "Fun and games" because life shouldn't be serious and doing what is required all the time.

The Indian Poet Tagore, suggested God created the universe while playing, not because it had to be created. The ultimate motivator being the joy of creating. And man is created in god's image.

Your thread and this comment is drifting way out to the deep end.
Going back to shallow water now.