We listened to a lot of Tom Chapin music when my boys were young. From “Big Rock Candy Mountain” (I just saw the real one in Utah and sadly it’s all rock, no candy) to songs about crazy cousins whipping through and destroying the house on a quick visit, his music captivated us. One song in particular moved us to action. After listening to, “What is a Didgeridoo?” we decided to make some of our own.
I can still picture the faces on my children the first time we allowed them to help us to pick out pumpkins for Halloween. They had plans for these big orange spheres and could visualize just what they wanted their jack o’ lanterns to look like. They plotted out the shapes they wanted the eyes and other parts to be carved. Then a funny thing happened, we sliced into the pumpkins and their facial expressions changed. My boys were simultaneously fascinated and a bit horrified with what they saw.
Bon Crowder, Math Mom and Education Advocate, publishes MathFour and That’s Math to support teachers and parents in their quest to build better math learners. Our most enthusiastic interviewee to date, Bon shared six thoughts about math, suggesting that perhaps the 5 Thoughts about Math could be +/- 1 due to rounding.
It’s the most bo-tiful time of the year with fun parties and tasty treats. However, there’s no need to leave math fun behind as you embark on Halloween hijinks. It’s easy to incorporate your love of math into this crazy holiday. Want some help? Here are some exciting ideas for Halloween costumes and goodies:
When my children were babies they loved to sit in the shopping cart and just marvel at the bright colors, shapes and smells at our local grocery store. That phase of wonderment can turn into a shopping nightmare as children age out of wanting to quietly gaze and absorb their surroundings. You can keep little kids and big ones from becoming frustrated bystanders in the produce aisle with these fun grocery store math activities. Turn your weekly grocery store trip into a math scavenger hunt!
We are big “Halloweenies” and love to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but here’s the trick: I’m not a big fan of the treats! After allowing the kids to bargain to keep some of the less offensive sweets, I hide, donate, trade-in, and perform kooky science experiments on the rest of it.
You can also take a bite out of math on Halloween, counting that candy, dividing it into piles and figuring out your average haul per house. Bigger bats and ghouls can explore exponential growth, too!
Before there was Google, there was googol. And, no, a googol is not another incredibly popular search engine. A googol is a number—a really, really big number. Don’t ever expect to count to it or ask your child to do so. Why not? For starters, it would take forever to get there. It’s typically expressed as 10100, but to write it out on paper, you would start with 10 and then write another 100 zeros! Here’s what it looks like: 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.
Rachel Levy, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, agreed to share five thoughts about math with us. She’s the editor in chief of Grandma got STEM (a site dedicated to grandmothers who work or worked in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math), the Interface Compendium of Student Work, and SIURO, an undergraduate applied mathematics research publication, as well as an associate editor of Math Horizons.
The air is getting crisp in many areas and the leaves are quickly changing colors. Families spend a lot of time outside looking at and collecting the beautiful leaves. Why not utilize Mother Nature’s bounty for some math extensions with a creative twist?
As we go about our morning routine each weekday to get ready for school and work, I’m reminded that my children are being exposed to math concepts simply by sticking to their routine. Their morning activities allow them to experience sequencing and order first-hand. The same can be said for much of their day – there’s the morning routine, their school day schedules, our after-school routine, and the evening and bed-time routine. Each was implemented without much thought to how math played a role; our routines came about from a need to plan our days and be on-time. Yet, math is definitely present even in such an everyday occurrence.