## Math Art: Kolam Spirals

This is “Kolam – Brown: Four Spirals”, by Shanthi Chandrasekar, on display at the 2012 Bridges Math and Art Conference at Towson University.

## What Skills Should Children Learn?

I know very little about early childhood education, but have recently started to think more about it.  I greatly enjoy interacting intellectually with my nieces and nephews and find it fascinating to explore ideas like fractalsinfinity, and ordering with them.  But I don’t really know anything about the theory of how children learn, what they should learn, or when they should learn, mathematically, or otherwise.

To begin exploring the idea, I thought about possible fundamental questions and eventually settled on this:  What are some important content-independent skills that children need to learn?

I posted the question on Google+, and Don Pata, MrBombastic, Jim Wilder, and Christopher Danielson all offered some great ideas.  Here’s the list we compiled through discussion, in no particular order.

Problem-Solving Perseverance — the ability to sustain focus and work through a problem to the end

Intellectual Discipline — the willingness to focus and invest energy on learning and development

Number Sense — an intuitive understanding of quantity:  magnitudes, relationships, and scales

Reflection — the ability to objectively self-assess, refine, and adapt

Communication — the ability to express information and emotion in a variety of ways, and appropriately interpret and process the expressions of others

Courage —  the willingness to fail

Curiosity — the habit of inquisitiveness and the ability to ask good questions

A good list to start with!  Thanks for all the help, and if there are other suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

## Math Art: Cube Towers

This is “Prime Divisor Cube Towers on Ulam Spiral”, by Berhard Rietzl, on display at the 2012 Bridges Math and Art Conference at Towson University.

This is an artistic representation of the numbers 1 through 144.  Each color represents a different prime divisor, and so each stack represents the prime factorization of the given number.