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.
No doubt you’ve counted your child’s fingers and toes more times than you can remember. Here’s a fun spin on basic “body math” that teaches the concept of ratios in a fun way using the human body as your guide. All you need is a tape measure, some string or rope, a piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and, of course a few bodies!
From the produce department to the snack food aisle, there’s no shortage of way to engage your kids in math at the grocery store.
– In the produce aisle…
Dan Shapiro is the founder of two software companies, has worked at Microsoft and Google, and is the proud dad of four-year-old boy/girl twins. He’s the creator of Robot Turtles, a tabletop board game that teaches computer programming concepts to kids ages 3-8. Dan uses math as a programmer, a business owner, and as a dad. He generously shared five thoughts about math.
If you hang around the under 5 crowd, you know they don’t have a great grasp of time. Whether it’s rising at 5:30 AM ready to roll for the day or whining in the car, “Are we there yet?” it’s clear their understanding of time is lacking. The Two-Minute Olympics, clocked by a sand-timer, provides a fun way to literally watch the minutes go by and help little ones build an understanding of time.
With some toy cars and a few simple, inexpensive materials, you can build ramps and incline tunnels with your kids to study the effects of incline on velocity.
Ramps can be constructed with rain gutters (which you can pick up from any home supply store for about $5), cardboard mailing tubes, or paper towel tube rolls that have been cut in half length-wise. Pool noodles can also work with the smallest toy cars or, if they are too narrow, you can use marbles, instead of cars. Create at least two ramps of the same length. First, give your child some time to set up the ramps and race cars down. Then ask, “What do you think will happen if one of the ramps is higher?”
Practice and memorization play a role in learning math, but there’s nothing wrong with having a few tricks up your sleeve too. Provide your kids with simple tips and tricks they can apply when multiplying to make the process easy and fun. Here are 5 great tips:
In “Toe tapping math” we were introduced to the notion that music is math. We can find math in intervals, measures, steps, beats and rhythms. In fact, music without math would probably just be noise. But what if we flip that around – is math music? What connects the two in our brains?
Susan Cahalane, a research scientist turned elementary school science teacher, writes about fun science experiments and activities on her blog, Science for Kids. Today on Add It Up, she shares thoughts on raising kids who love math and being a positive role model for girls.