Finally, after a whole year, I managed today to finish my equation slips and start filling my math cabinet. I borrowed the idea from What Did We Do Today, as usual.

But, my math cabinet post isn’t really about math cabinets.

It’s really about autonomy.

I had a really hard time doing this last year because I was very confused on the concept of equation slips. We weren’t really introduced to them in our training. The equation slips I saw were so detailed. For example, for addition, they would have static and dynamic, just like our training. But then they would break it down into 2 digits + 2 digits, 3 digits + 2 digits, 4 digits + 4 digits, etc. Some equation slips I’ve seen have those special cases like 0’s, 0’s in unit place, 0’s in tens place, etc. I assumed that a child was to work through each *step* of these equations, which are increasing in difficulty much like how it’s presented in regular schools. Totally different from the way I learned addition and subtraction in class. Even multiplication, was split much finer than what we learned.

Finally, during my math class, my trainer tells me that** students should be encouraged to generate their own math problems**, she was mostly against pre-printed equation slips. She said that they will hit those special cases during their work somehow and if I weren’t sure I could just do a quick assessment before allowing them to move on. I had a Montessori teacher friend who talked about how her students decided to write a huge long string of numbers and divide them. I saw the pic. It must have been 30+ digits long. They ran out of paper and had to tape more and more paper on the first sheet in order to solve the equation. When I hear stories like that, I see how not having worksheets can really spark a child’s imagination in what they may want to try. The elementary child really love big things, and trying things that you did not talk about during your presentation.