In this learning sequence, calendars are used to explore number patterns and to make and prove conjectures. Teachers can find ways to adapt and extend the activities described in this collection for use in years beyond Year 2. They include opportunities to make strong connections with the historical development of calendars and cultural events and celebrations.
Activity 1: Making and using calendars
Create wall calendars for whole-class use. Students will maintain the calendars by attaching appropriate day and date labels. Daily activities can be written on sticky notes.
Many of the activities described in this resource may be used as year-long 'Mathematics time' routines or integrated into general or cross-curricular class time. The important educational feature of representing events in calendars or parts of calendars is that the cyclical/periodic aspects of events and routines are highlighted and recorded.
Activity 2: Events, festivals and celebrations
Include events and celebrations as part of the sticky note recordings of daily activities and events on the class calendars. Focus particular attention on students’ birthdays, and national days and festivals relevant to the students in the class.
All countries have special days on their calendar. Some are celebrations of cultural events; some are days on which historical or political events are remembered and/or observed. Some dates are fixed, such as New Year’s Day (1 January) or Australia Day (26 January); other dates vary from year to year and may depend on the lunar calendar, such as the Chinese New Year.
In many instances cultural festivals are held in association with the events. India, it is said, has more festivals than there are days in a year.
The chart provided on Events, festivals and celebrations shows the dates of some significant national days, cultural events and festivals of Asian countries. Where no year is given, the events are fixed dates; that is, they are celebrated on that date irrespective of the day of the week on which the date falls. For events and festivals where the dates vary to fall on particular days of the week or to align with the lunar calendar, the date for 2012 is given.
The internet is a rich source of information about cultural festivals, national days and other observances.
Activity 3: Chinese zodiac match
Use the suggested websites to enter students’ birth dates and identify their Chinese zodiac sign according to their year of birth. Note the regularity in the cycle of zodiac signs (12 years). Students will play a game called Chinese zodiac match, using cards produced from Chinese zodiac years and signs.
Activity 4: Calendar and patterns
In this activity students will use Follow me cards to learn about calendars, or calculate patterns in calendars.
Teachers interested in pursuing additional ideas with their students should refer to:
- Milton, K & Reeves, H, From conjecture to proof, Objective Learning Materials, Melbourne, 2002.
- Swan, P, Calendar capers, Mathematical Association of Western Australia, 1994.