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July 30 , 2010

Still Little Barton

A novel way to learn mathematics


Still Little Barton comprises seven short stories on Barton’s early experiences with learning about concepts in measurement. Barton’s and his ‘little friend’ learn to tell time on their own, as they unravel the workings of a clock. The last two stories explore concepts in money and linear measure. In The hour has come, Barton’s little friend introduces Barton to a beautiful watch which he got as a present from an Aunt. He confesses to Barton that he is embarrassed to wear it because he cannot tell the time. Barton admits that he is also not knowledgeable on the subject and they agree that they will meet regularly to share their ideas on telling time. They begin by observing both hands of the clock and associating time on the hour with different events. In the second story, In an hour, the boys continue their investigations. However, they focus on the duration of events. Concepts of one hour, two hours and half an hour are explored. The boys are able to relate these durations to events with which they are accustomed. For example, they used the comparison one hour as the duration of their luncheon period. In Little Times, smaller durations such as one/two minutes are explored. The boys also learn the relationship between minutes and hours by observing, not just the analog clock, but the digital clocks as well. The have fun watching the minutes go by on the digital clock and explore the concept of one minute as they perform activities which take one or two minutes. Round as a biscuit, busy as a bee is a short story relating concepts in time to rhyming words. Barton composes a poem on the clock and his little friend is impressed, but admits that he has difficulty in rhyming words. Barton encourages him and is quite flattered when he makes his first attempt at creating a poem. In Good, better, best, Barton’s Mom is proud of him as he demonstrates how good he is at calculating bills and determining change. She is even more proud of him when he discovers that the cashier in the bakery made a mistake and gave her more change than was correct. Both Mom and Barton promptly returned the extra change to the grateful cashier. What measure meant explores the concepts in linear measurement. Barton learns why there is the need to measure, through conversations with his Dad on the use of a ruler. He later questions his Dad on measuring longer distances and gathers more information on units of measure for length.
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