A big thing in early childhood education is using manipulatives to increase understanding of mathematical concepts. For example, four quarter-circle-sections going together to make one whole circle, or three rows of five blocks to teach multiplication. Real, hands-on stuff can make concepts click in a way that abstraction doesn’t.
I’m a bit of a political junkie, and wanted to make some manipulatives of my own, but at a slightly higher level. I pulled up presidential approval ratings back to Truman, charted them, then cut them out of red and blue acrylic according to party. I also made a base (matte black acrylic attached to walnut) and a scale.
Everything is removable and everything is to the same scale, so comparisons are easy. It’s one thing to see graphics on a chart, but another entirely to hold the data, feel it, put two pieces together to compare and slide them along each other, move everything around and just see what comes out.
Jimmy Carter vs George H.W. Bush at the same points in their terms.
Using the scale.
Funny how these two flow into each other so well.
What other data sets might be cool to play with in a hands-on way? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Note: I didn’t include Trump, because I only wanted complete terms. That also seemed less likely to start any fights when I shared it, so please don’t get political and get this locked!