After completing the fifth grade math curriculum for the state of Texas early we decided to start introducing Rowan to some of the sixth grade material over the summer to get a head start on next year. We started with the relationship between speed, distance and time.
Research shows that when a person is under too much pressure this can lead to the production of the stress hormone cortisol which can inhibit learning. For this reason whenever we introduce a new topic to Rowan we begin by ‘dropping’ the concept into conversation without, at first, expecting anything back. Dropping the relationship between speed, distance and time was easy. Rowan loves the car, loves road trips and loves to know how many miles it is to his current favorite destinations. We therefore simply began to talk about how long it takes to get to each of these destinations and how we can work out the speed we are traveling at based upon how long it takes to drive a certain distance.
As always after a couple of weeks of ‘dropping’ Rowan began to participate more and more in the conversation chiming in on whether he wanted to drive at 90mph (we did explain we couldn’t actually drive that fast) in order to get where we were going faster. It was at this stage that we moved on to what we at Horse Boy Learning call ‘do it.’
Children with autism are often kinetic learners which means they learn best when they are allowed to move and explore. It is therefore essential to find a way to teach any new topic kinetically or through movement.
In order to get Rowan more involved in the exploring the relationship between speed, distance and time we, therefore, decided to make use of the fact it is summer in Texas right now which means the weather is perfect for swimming.
Rowan has two favorite rivers to swim in at the moment - the San Marcos and the Guadalupe. This week when we went to swim in those rivers we decided to estimate the speed of each river by measuring how long it took a stick to travel a certain distance. We worked out the section of the Guadalupe River we swim in is over twice as fast as the section of the San Marcos River (1.2mph as opposed to 0.5mph). Then afterwards we went tubing.
Tomorrow Rowan wants to measure how fast his favorite river of all is – the Brazos. We will keep you posted.