Miquon Math : Making sense of math through hands-on math curriculum
Who’s afraid of math? Not the generations of homeschoolers who learned math through the Miquon Math method.
Miquon Math is a hands-on math curriculum for Grades 1-3, that uses Cuisenaire rods to allow children to observe and discover mathematical concepts. Developed in the 1960s by German educator Lore Rasmussen while teaching at the Miquon private school in Pennsylvania, Miquon Math employs a laboratory approach that encourages students to explore and investigate mathematical relationships using concrete models.
The complete Miquon Math curriculum comprises six books that are to be used over a three-year academic period and the Lab Sheet Annotations which contains specific instructions for using the workbooks. Each workbook provides mathematics lessons for one semester. Miquon Math covers math concepts generally taught for Grades 1 to 3, including the basic operations, fractions, factoring, clock arithmetic, equalities and inequalities, geometric recognition, length, area and volume, simultaneous equations, graphing of algebraic expressions, and word problems.
In Notes to Teachers, Rasmussen explains the philosophy behind Miquon Math Labs and the idea of a math laboratory. The creator of Miquon Math describes the materials used in the curriculum and the role that teachers play in facilitating exploration and discovery. While Notes to Teachers is not essential to using the Miquon Math curriculum, the book provides interesting insights about how to foster independence and creativity in problem-solving.
At the core of the Miquon Math program is the use of manipulatives, particularly Cuisenaire rods. Cuisenaire rods are colored number rods that help students visualize numbers and their relationships. The rods vary in length from 1 to 10 cm. Each colored rod is of a specific length, i.e. white is 1 cm, red in 2 cm, and so on. The maximum length of one rod is 10 cm (the orange rod). Students use the rods to construct models of mathematical relationships, from one-to-one correspondence, to the basic operations, fractions, and algebraic equations.
Although Miquon Math is student-centered, the teacher remains an essential part of the learning process. Children will need assistance from teachers as they work through the activity sheets. The Lab Sheet Annotations and Mathematics for the Primary Teacher is a daily teaching companion that includes preliminary activities, instructions for using the worksheets, teaching suggestions and follow-up activities.
Homeschoolers who use Miquon Math swear by the effectiveness of the laboratory approach to investigating and discovering mathematical relationships. By exploring math concepts with the use manipulatives, children acquire an intuitive grasp of numbers and how they interact in different ways. In addition, children learn that there is often more than one solution to a problem. When arriving at an incorrect answer, children are often able to identify where they have erred and make the necessary correction. Many homeschoolers have successfully used Miquon Math to complement other math programs like Singapore Math and Saxon Math.
The complete set of six Miquon Math workbooks plus the Lab Sheet Annotations retail for USD 60.95 at Rainbow Resource. The workbooks may also be purchased individually for USD 8.95 each and the Lab Sheet Annotations for USD 14.95.
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