Stef was born out of the desire to put Steffe in every classroom. After several conversations with Dr. Leslie Steffe (the originator of much of the research we study at AIMS and longtime researcher at the University of Georgia), the AIMS Research Associates brainstormed ways to encourage children to see the math in their world. Building off of an idea others have used to help encourage literacy, Stef the Moose (originally known as the Math Moose) is used as a surrogate for “seeing” math in the classroom, the home, and the community.
In the classroom, the teacher uses the puppet as a model “student” who sees math (collections to count, shapes, etc.), notices behavior, and helps with class activities. He is a bit of a math version of an “elf on the shelf.” The teacher also models for the students how to count a collection and write about it in their super-sized classroom journal.
Every week, Stef and his special journal go home with a different student who gets Stef’s help seeing math somewhere in their home. The student then draws and writes (with a parent’s help) about their counting experience in the journal. Stef and his journal return at the end of the week and the student gets to share about their counting experience. In what ways do you engage your students with the mathematics outside of the classroom?