## Friday, October 4, 2013

### "What is 2+2+2+2+2?"

“Amma, what is 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2?” I hear Isha’s voice from the toilet as she’s getting her ‘big job’ done! I tell her “You tell me!” After a few seconds she says “10!” I ask her “How did you figure out?” and she responds “Just like that! It’s so easy!!” Every time she sits on the toilet seat, she looks down and stares at two rows of five while tiles in front of her, and this exact same conversation has happened at least 5-6 times so far. And from what I understand of how children learn, it is quite unlikely that she is figuring out the same thing each time. My guess is that she must be figuring out newer ways of counting five 2’s, or two 5s, i..e. her understanding of the numbers is growing more complex with each time, even though the conversation / her expression remains the same.

Actually, her answer is so profound in a way. That she learnt to add up 2, five times, “just like that”. She wasn’t told or didn’t know that she was learning her ‘2’ or ‘5’ tables or addition. She didn’t even know that she was doing ‘Maths’. I’m sure she didn’t even think that she was “learning” something! She must have simply been curious and found it fun to put them together and see what it came up to!

When Isha was just two, her great grandmother taught her this cute song that they used to sing as children.
Onnum onnum rendu, kai pidikkira chendu
Rendum rendum naalu, pasu karakkura paalu
Moonum moonum aaru, mookkula podura mookutthi
Naalum naalum ettu, netthiyil vekkara pottu
Anjum anjum patthu, kazhutthula podara mutthu
Aarum aarum pannandu, pottukkodi kondai
May be because of this song, Isha finds it so easy to tell that half of six is three, half of eight is four, and so on.

When parents ask me “So, you sit down with her and follow a curriculum to teach Maths?” I’m going to tell them what Isha tells me “No, she learns Maths “Just like that. It’s so simple!” J