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April 28, 2021

Thousand Flowers - a ‘new’ approach to learn mathematics (for children)

Understand


The Thousand Flowers Program is designed to provoke interest and curiosity in mathematics. It is particularly useful for children of age group 6 to 10 years, when they are starting out with the subject.

The program wants to inspire interest and disregard intimidation. It uses a hands-on approach that freely draws from modern computational tools like GeoGebra and methods from antiquity such that compass, papers, straightedge. Over the last 10 years, we have implemented this program at Cheenta with varying degree of success. We continue to run this program with the hope of creating the next generation of innovators and mathematicians.

In this document we will describe the curriculum, lesson plans and tools of this program. We hope that these tools will be useful for learners of all age.

Historical Remark


Thousand Flowers program draws inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore’s Sikkhasotro experiment, Vasili Sukhamlinsky’s experiements in Soviet Union, Cedric Villani’s 21 points suggestions, Singapore method and Math Circles in Eastern Europe. It has been developed over a decade of experiments with thousands of learners from several countries. To understand the pedagogical principles of Thousand Flowers program, pleaser refer this article.

Curriculum


Presently, the curriculum is spread over 4 modules. It can be delivered over 52 weeks. There are two variants of the curriculum: Level 1 (age 6, 7) and Level 2 (age 8, 9 and 10). Apart from the ‘topics’ in the curriculum, there is a critical ‘math-circle’ component of this program. We will explain more of that later.

  • Module 1: Spatial Patterns [12 weeks]
  • Module 2: Numerical Patterns [12 weeks]
  • Module 3: Mathematical Imagination [12 weeks]
  • Module 4: Arith-metry [12 weeks]

Each module is expected to have 12 weeks duration. At Cheenta, we recommend the following study-hours:

  1. 75 minutes of group class discussion
  2. 45 minutes of 1-on-1 discussion (with a faculty)
  3. Three hours of at-home activities

Spatial Patterns

  • Paper folding geometry (2 weeks)
  • Platonic Solids (6 weeks)
  • Computational geometry (2 weeks)
  • Compass and Straight Edge (2 weeks)

Numerical Patterns

  • Exploration in Pascal’s Triangle (3 weeks)
  • Excursion in Number Sequence (4 weeks)
  • Parity (3 weeks)
  • Pigeon Hole Principle (2 weeks)

Mathematical Imagination

  • Translation (2 weeks)
  • Reflection (2 weeks)
  • Homothety (2 weeks)
  • Rotation (2 weeks)
  • Locus Problems (2 weeks)
  • Surfaces of Revolution (1 week)
  • Counting Paths in Grid (1 week)

Arith-metry

  • Geometry of addition, substraction with compass, Geogebra (2 weeks)
  • Geometry of multiplication with compass, Geogebra (2 weeks)
  • Geometry of division with compass, Geogebra (2 weeks)
  • Cryptarithmetic (2 weeks)
  • Geometry of fractions (2 weeks)
  • Digital Roots (1 week)
  • Primes and Composites (1 week)

We will add the lesson plans and problem sets on each topic from each module to this document.

Dr. Ashani Dasgupta
Cheenta
Passion for Mathematics

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