Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015
A Westminster College professor, alumna and student teamed up, researched, and executed an idea that was featured in this month’s Teaching Children Mathematics NCTM Journal.
In the journal article, Dr. Sararose Lynch, assistant professor of education; Alex Taylor '14; and Katie Becherer, a senior early childhood education major, described their activity concept, “Jump Plate,” which was tested and used at the Westminster College Preschool lab, as well as in a local elementary school classroom. Diana Reed, education lecturer and program coordinator, conducted research operations with the group.
According to the research conducted by the team, Jump Plate aids in the development of number sense, fluency, and flexibility with numbers. Through the activity, students apply basic number concepts and operations as they jump from plate to plate.
“I wanted students in my classroom to develop an early sense of numbers,” said Taylor, a special educator at the Wilmington Area School District. “Through Jump Plate, my hope was that students would learn to gauge a number of items by looking rather than counting – or, subitizing.”
In the program created for young children, instructors are asked to arrange numbered plates from 0 – 10 in a randomized sequence on the floor. When the instructor calls a number from a deck of premade cards, the student jumper travels to the other side of the arrangement by jumping on different arrays representing that number.
“What’s attractive about the program is that it’s flexible and easy customizable – different facts and operations can be arranged on the plates,” said Lynch. “For example, if ‘10’ is called, a student would jump on 6 + 4, 8 + 2, 3 + 7, and so on. Or, for older students who are working on more difficult problems, students can jump on 5 x 2 or (3 x 3) + 1.
Lynch received a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education at West Virginia Wesleyan College; a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from West Virginia University; and a doctorate from West Virginia University in curriculum and instruction.
Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Westminster College and is completing requirements toward a master’s degree in education at Westminster’s Graduate School.
Becherer is a daughter of William and Deborah Becherer and a graduate of Poland Seminary High School.
Along with appearing in an educational journal, last year, the group traveled to New Orleans to present their idea at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Conference.
For more information about the Jump Plate activity, contact Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 946-7185. To learn more about the education program at Westminster College, visit www.westminster.edu/education.