Gender and cultural barriers in math education have lessened since I was a student (and definitely since generations before), but there are still improvements to be made. I earned an engineering degree which means I took a lot of math courses in high school and college. I was often the only female and in many cases, the only person of color, in many of my classes. Rather than discourage me, it motivated me to succeed – not only for myself, but for my future children. I felt a need to push beyond barriers to benefit future generations.
In an earlier post I recommended seeking out mathematicians you already know and finding people your children can be introduced to who use mathematics in their jobs. My Ace-in-the-Hole is Tracey Annable, owner a full service custom design, fabrication and installation company for home decor. Tracey is someone who is handy to have around, whether you are trying to figure out how to mitre a corner or help your kid work through a calculus problem.
Origami, the ancient Japanese art of folding papers into shapes and artful forms, continues to evolve and attract new artists into the, ahem, fold. Origami requires spatial reasoning skills, thinking in three dimensions. It builds an understanding of geometric shapes and geometric concepts. It’s also creative and fun.
Money provides a perfect, authentic opportunity to explore mathematics. Not only does each coin and bill have an assigned value, currency also makes a great math manipulative for sorting, counting, comparing, measuring, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and eventually using fractions, decimals, percentages, and more.
We’re delighted to welcome Amy Hengerer, founder of Creative Kid Mission, where she shares budget-friendly crafts, games activities, science projects, books, music, field trip and even snack ideas based on weekly themes. Amy not only shares her learning philosophy but two fun math activities she developed just for Add It Up readers.
So what’s all the hoopla in the news about Common Core standards? Last week, New York State announced results for the new Common Core-aligned state tests in Math and English Language Arts (ELA) for grades 3-8. The data showed a big drop in student proficiency rates compared to previous years’ results, leading to a slew of information that can be tough to wade through. Indeed, the results showed that New York City, where only 26.9% of students were proficient in Math and 26.4% in ELA, has its work cut out for it if it is going to prepare its students to be career and college-ready. For Bedtime Math subscribers and readers, we’ll lay out what led to the drop in scores so that parents and educators can have a clear picture of just what the new scores mean.
We’re pleased to present Danielle Woods, one of the Education.com founders, as our first guest in the 5 Thoughts about Math series. In the coming months we’ll feature additional exciting guests sharing their thoughts about math and raising young mathematicians.
We’re launching Math in a Snap, our first photo challenge! This month’s theme is Find Cool Shapes in Nature. We’re asking our Bedtime Math fans, even our littlest ones, to head outside with a camera (and some adult help) to photograph math shapes in nature. This weekend or in the waning days of summer, we’re challenging you to spot geometric shapes out in the world. Circles, spirals, squares – they’re all out there.
My son’s preschool teacher joked that parents should procure LEGOs at any cost-even if it meant taking out a second mortgage-because those little bricks are like nothing else when it comes to helping kids to develop strong math skills. Recent studies bear out what that preschool teacher already knew – spatial skills can be an early predictor of creative potential in STEM fields, particularly in math.
Around my house, “Can we order pizza?” is a common request. If your kids enjoy pizza, they’ll devour pizza math. When it comes to building math vocabulary and an understanding of fractions, this activity is quite filling.