At the start of the school year at every grade, students should begin with learning about their brains--the body's information center.
Mystery Science has a module about the brain I want to share with students. Mystery science is quickly becoming one of the most popular elementary school science sites since the information and activities are well organized, up to date, and engaging for students.
Boaler introduces information about the brain in both her Ted Talk and her Mathematical Mindset books. She demonstrates the fact that our brains interpret math, to a large degree, visually. That's why visual models such as number lines are so important to learning math. Children should utilize and create models as they learn math, and these models will help children to make connections between symbolic and visual representations of numbers. Learning math by visualizing is also engaging for students.
Boaler encourages us to open mathematics by encouraging students to see mathematical ideas differently, explore those ideas, and ask their own questions. We must invite students to play with mathematical concepts and ideas.
I hope to add more to this post in the days ahead as I explore more brain-friendly math techniques, strategies, and tools to set the stage for joyful math learning and teaching. I welcome your ideas as well.