SOMA Crystal
SOMA News 10 May 2007
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1-3rd graders enjoy puzzling with SOMA.

March 30, 2007
This was the day that I received an E-mail from Thomas, a 1st - 3rd grade teacher in North Carolina (USA).
I receive on the average, one E-mail each month, from SOMA players. So what was special about this mail.?

Well, For many years I have been facinated by the educational properties of the SOMA puzzle. I'm a teacher myself you know. However, with this mail Tom had enclosed foto's. Pictures that so intensely told the story. SOMA is fun.

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SOMA is FUN
Activity
It makes you proud


So: let's read the mail then.
Subject: Soma page is a big hit in our 1st - 3rd grade classroom in North Carolina.
I just wanted you to know how much my 1^st , 2^nd and 3^rd graders enjoy building the figures on your page. I am just about to download the figure and notation for figure 56. I have found a special grid paper that makes 3-D drawing easy and many of them will then draw the figure that they have build. Your page is a wonderful stimulation of their spatial intelligence.

Thank you very much for your efforts.
Tom.

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Sometimes you need to think
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And dream

Paper
Tom and his class use a special graphical paper that makes it very easy to draw 3-D views of the Soma cube figures that the children build.
Tom also wrote:
My parents bought me a plastic Soma cube in the 60's. It didn't use the notation we have today, but I find it very exciting to have the children learn the notation and then build a figure from the notation. I can almost feel parts of their brain lighting up that don't usually get much use during the rest of the school day.

Actually Tom have a career similar to mine. Having been a software developer for 20 years, he is now a teacher.

My personal opinion on this subject is that this combination is ideal, because it presents the kids/pupils to a teacher with some real life experience.

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It may be a mess
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But the solution is there

Finally Tom wrote:
I am hoping to give a presentation of the Soma cube at next year's regional convention in South Carolina. If I can win some converts, the Soma pages might start getting a lot more hits.

I wish you the best luck ever.

So: -
Look at these pictures and note how SOMA may be used as an inspiration, and in the educational work of the classroom.

The training of the 3 dimensional skills are of unquestionable value to all the kids.
A long range of international tests have shown, how some students find the perception of 3D structures, and their relations to the spatial geometry as it is teached at college, to be a very difficult task.
The kid's in "this" school have already gained insight in the intrinsic features of 3 dimensions and projections. They will definately have a huge advantage in about 8 years time, in college.


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For one player
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And for many


Thank you to Tom, and to the parents of this class, for their story and the permission to tell it.



Submitted by Tom Keeler
(permission to use photos granted by H4 parents 2007-05-10)
Edited by Thorleif Bundgaard <thorleif@fam-bundgaard.dk>

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