The recent survey we published to help our manufacturing decisions was a great success. Thanks to everyone who shared the link on Facebook. There is so much passion out there to update our classrooms and homes with devices that reduce the workload on our kids’ brains! For all those who provided feedback at the end I will get in touch with each of you to answer your questions.
If you are interested in seeing the survey, you can fill it out here: Real Times Tables – Make It Stick! Design and Manufacturing Survey.
We have made some design changes based on the feedback – including swapping out our number grid.
Originally the number grid was designed to work as much like real life as possible to embody to concepts in Singapore Math of concrete-pictorial-abstract. This method starts by teaching a math concept using concrete, real-world examples (for example, literally having four apples in front of the child when teaching two plus two equals four). The child can take this concrete concept, then draw it pictorially quite easily (which means they can then use workbooks). This is where our posters come in. Once they have the confidence at this stage it’s time to move into abstract thought – as the visual and spatial processes are solidified in their mind.
Therefore the number grid was designed to work just like the physical world – a wall of bricks that replicated the concept of gravity. The first group of ten numbers were on the ground – then the other sequences were built on top of them.
However, thanks to much feedback from teachers who work in the classroom, what we missed was that we were ignoring an existing mental model. Children habitually use a number grid that goes left-to-right and top-to-bottom – like reading. Teacher responses suggested this would be too much of a leap for Years 1-4. In this instance there is no point reinventing the wheel to the detriment of learning. The number patterns are still the same regardless of the positioning of the grid – so we have flipped it.
There were also many questions about the final print size of these posters, as classrooms might be physically large (lucky students!) or children might have sight issues. Never fear – these are huge A1 posters with big squares. Ideally they are placed in an area where kids can gaze and muse over the patterns as they are layered over each other. Any larger than A1 would be prohibitive for most classrooms and home interiors.
Other questions that popped up:
- Colour blindness (red-green) is most definitely taken into account, although the product would work in black and white too.
- The wood comes from a sustainably managed FSC-certified forest.
- The PET (plastic layers) are not recycled as apparently that creates a yellow tinge and degradation. For the first batch we will be printing on new PET (which is fully recyclable) until a more sustainable option can be found that won’t degrade.
- To keeps VOCs down each PET layer will only have a one colour print.