Make YOUR Own Math Books = Learning

My little learner decided she wanted to make her own books.

Math books! 

We'd been choosing and reading math literature from our home library shelves, borrowing others from the local library. Math was intriguing. Math was fun. She wanted to make her own books and apply her creative bent to master concepts. 

Thankfully, we had blank books on hand. 

My little learner chose a book from our stash, one which would match the fall leaf table toppers I found while grocery shopping. 

Once the leaves were sorted, we made piles of ten. 

On a piece of paper, I wrote numerals 1-10 alongside corresponding number words. From the sample, my little learner copied the numerals and corresponding words, giving each number a page in her book. By the time she was done copying, she felt very confident in her ability to form the numerals and count objects into sets. The more her book took form, the happier and more excited she became.

"I'm writing a book!" 

She wanted to write the number words. I wrote the words on a piece of paper and she copied them into her book. The final step was to count out leaves to correspond with the numbers on each page. 

I showed her how to set her book--open like a fan--on the kitchen table so the glue could dry. This prevented pages from sticking together. 

In the end, my little learner had not only written her first math book--she was quite proud of her accomplishment--she had also learned to match number words with a set of objects and mastered one-to-one correspondence--all foundational math concepts.


Shopping for Christmas wrapping paper, I discovered stocking table toppers. I immediately thought of my eager book-making learner and added them to the conveyor in the check-out line. 

Arriving home I told her there was a surprise in the  bag for her. 

She was thrilled.

Once again she chose a blank book from our collection and started to work. 

Before long, she added another counting book to her collection. 

She was ready for addition--adding two small sets to make one big set. 

As the weather cooled, I found foam snowflakes online. I knew they could be the makings of her next book, Adding Snowflakes. I pulled one of our favorite reads, Snowflake Bentley, from our home library shelf and sat side-by-side on the couch, engaged in the unfolding plot. 

When we finished reading, she sorted the foam snowflakes by size, shape, and color--three attributes--another foundational math skill. This was a perfect start to making sets!

Once the snowflakes were sorted, I asked her to make sets of two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. 

I explained the concept of addition--the combining of two sets to make a larger set and wrote some addition facts on the two-page spreads of her blank book. She read the numbers and glued the set required on each page. When gluing was complete, my little learner added the two sets and wrote the sum on the bottom right-hand corner of the two-page spread. 

Book complete--now three in total--my little learner had the makings of a math library!


The next concept, addition with three addends--three sets. 

With Valentine's just around the corner, I knew what we would do--add three sets of hearts. 

Again, she chose the blank book--red stripes this time--sorted hearts by size and color, counted sets, and started adding. For this book she wrote the equations vertically. I explained that equations could be written horizontally or vertically without changing the answer. She was intrigued by the tidbit of knowledge. I wrote an equation both horizontally and vertically on a piece of paper and proved the concept by adding foam hearts. Indeed, the answer was the same.

In the end, she completed the book and added it to her collection! 

Perhaps we will tackle subtraction next season?

I love that we were able to work side-by-side on these projects and that she was engaged and eager. She enjoyed math and wanted to learn more.  

Time well spent.

Indeed, intentional, real, and relational. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Popular Posts of 2016

2016 is marked as significant.

Why? Because every moment of our days mattered--the triumphs and the trials. We lived and learned together being intentional about using what was real and relational--from cradle to shingle--toddler to adult. Thank you for walking that journey alongside us! We are grateful for you, our readers! 

As a recap of our year together, I compiled our top 15 posts of 2016. ENJOY! 

 

The Many Possibilities of High School Success

Just as there are many potential pathways to successfully completing high school--the end result of helping a young adult develop his or her divinely-created strengths and giftings--there are also many different avenues to the young adult's future; the years beyond the turning of the tassel.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also be encouraged by Real-Life for High School Credit: Care and Concerns for the Elderly.


Preschooling, Naturally

Preschool is foundational for life and learning. In fact, it is during the preschool years that little learners master foundational skills which serve as a base for later learning. More importantly, attitudes and temperaments toward learning are set during the preschool and early elementary years.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also be encouraged by "Let Me Do It!" Helping Little Learners Become Independent


5 Comments I Don't Regret

Words are remembered, taken with us through our days. This is true for us and it is true for our children and young adults.

If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy Legacy: Learning Alongside


The Possibilities of Elective Credits - Part II

When I wrote the first edition (who remembers that first spiral-bound resource?) Celebrate High School I included a sample list of potential course titles--both core and elective. When I published my extensive revision in 2015, I expanded my list based on our experience and the experience of those with whom we work.

If the information in this post was helpful, you might want to continue on and read Part III.


32 Ways to Learn from Real and Relational 

Some of my children love making lapbooks, others prefer unit studies. Still others learn best when we incorporate field trips into our days. And, our middle and high school young adults? They have learned at co-ops, through online courses, and with personal independent study. 

If you are being intentional about keeping learning real and relational, you might also be encouraged by the practical life lessons (and history!) in this post-- Living History: 30 Questions that Bring History to Life


8 Skills Children Practice in Puddles

There was much to learn in the puddles. Each learner carried a small fish net, sand bucket or shovel. They were off on an adventure.

Rainy days are natural wonders which intrique little learners. If rain is falling at your house and you are waiting for a safe pause in weather, try this indoor art activity--Torn Paper Rainbows


Grades...In High School

"How do I give grades in high school?"

If designing a transcript is your next step, this post may be helpful--Transcript Matters


Using 4-H for High School Course Content

"Our high school learner is very active in 4-H. Can we use any of what the student is doing toward high school credit?" 

If you have middle school learners and are wondering how you can help them manage time, organize belongings, and pursue interests, this post--Magnificent, Make-A-Difference Middle School--might be helpful. 


Preschooling, Intentionally

Learning is the natural outcome of everyday living, especially for little learners. With a few intentional questions here and a purposeful explanation there, preschoolers can learn naturally from walking alongside older siblings and significant adults. Through everyday experiences, preschoolers gain a jump start to mastering foundational cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual life skills.  By the time the young learner blows out six candles on the birthday cake, significant progress toward mastery of foundational skills has likely been made.

If you are seeking ways to help your little learners do what they can, 3 Things They Can DO on Their Own, might be helpful. 


Living Books and Independent Studies

An interest evolved into an independent study, a year-long learning adventure. 

Science--especially animal science--is particularly interesting to little learners. If you have little learners with a zest for all things living, check out the book list in Vintage Science Readers for the WIN! 


Nature Adventures Made EASY- A Glimpse into Part of Our Day

Ten minutes later, peering out the bedroom window to check on the adventure, my heart smiled--three little learners discovering, wondering together. Co-laboring in learning. 

Looking for a way to learn math outdoors, in nature, where children crave? Check out Math Adventures!


Using Living Books in High School for Credit

We have used several approaches to formulating classes based on strengths, interests and the future plans of the young adult.

Interested in earning credit for writing college essays? This post--High School Made Simple: College Essays for Credit--might offer some insight. 


SIMPLE Prepositions for Little Learners

Keeping early learning active and fun!

Picture books can encourage learning. Read Aloud to Foster Counting Skills lists some of our favorite math picture books. 


Intentional Cursive Handwriting

Oh yes, there is good reason to teach cursive, teaching correct strokes and rotations. Proper letter formation does make composition easier. However, once initial instruction is complete and letters are formed properly, practice begins. Practice.

Interested in hands-on, real-life, spelling activities? This post--What About Spelling?--has lots of practical ideas. 


Helping Learners Foster Strengths and Interests

A trip to the electronics store. I was hoping to go alone. You know, time to enjoy quiet; time to think without questions. After all, it is ONLY the electronics store. 

If this post made you curious about interest-based learning, The Benefits of Interests: Motivating Learners, may answer a few more questions. 

Want to know more about how your days can be intentional, real, and relational? Click below to sign up for the Celebrate Simple Newsletter. 

FREE Winter Resource

math snow.jpg

Math Adventures: Experiencing Math in Snowflakes is available for download  in Free Resources


Winter Fun for FREE Plus Extras!

We all need mid-year boosts--teachers, parents, and learners! 

Celebrate Simple is all about encouraging and equipping parents and families; adding spring in your winter steps! 

We have created several winter-themed, inter-related learning resources for your family--all ages preschool to adult. The contents of each resource is related but nothing is duplicated. 

Our first FREE winter resource is FREE to subscribers! If you are a current subscriber, you will receive this resource in the next newsletter. If you haven't yet subscribed, please do! We would love for you to have this handy, practical winter-themed unit. The contents are related to all of our NEW winter items listed below. The content of Simple Winter Family Fun includes

  • conversation starters for family members of all ages,
  • winter-themed book lists for preschool through high school, 
  • practical ideas for family team building,
  • learning activities for Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (different from those included in Math Adventures: Experiencing Math in Snowflakes),
  • a four-year plan worksheet for families walking the home education high school journey, 
  • winter-related spelling words with fun spelling practice ideas, and
  • math practice for patterning, counting by fives, and solving word problems.

Our second FREE winter resource can be found in our FREE RESOURCES tab. Math Adventures: Experiencing Math in Snowflakes is a shorter math study similar to Math Adventures: Experiencing Math in Parks and Math Adventures: Experiencing Math in Nature. Click on FREE RESOURCES to download your copy!

Our third winter resource is intended to extend the learning in the above units.  The snowflake blank book and foam snowflakes are available in the store. The self-adhesive snowflakes can be use for sorting, counting, adding, and multiplication. When littles are finished sorting and counting, the snowflakes can be used to make a counting or addition book.

Finally, we are offering a winter special which includes all of the above resources AND a Magiscope! This sturdy, metal microscope has been a favorite in our home for twenty-two years and comes with a lifetime warranty! Our scope was a Christmas gift to our oldest son from his gandparents! 

Whether your winter will be spent outdoors making snow forts or indoors wishing it would snow, refresh the mid-year, winter blahs with some fun new ideas and resources. We would love for your family relationships to grow and for this to be your best winter EVER!

Remember, every moment matters when using what is intentional, real, and relational! 

Preschooling, Intentionally

Life is learning. Learning and life go hand-in-hand, everyday!

Learning is the natural outcome of everyday living, especially for little learners. With a few intentional questions here and a purposeful explanation there, preschoolers can learn naturally from walking alongside older siblings and significant adults. Through everyday experiences, preschoolers gain a jump start to mastering foundational cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual life skills.  By the time the young learner blows out six candles on the birthday cake, significant progress toward mastery of foundational skills has likely been made.

Math

  • Identify colors
  • Understand and demonstrate one-to-one correspondence
  • Make sets of 1 to 5 objects
  • Identify sets of 1 to 5 objects
  • Associate a number with a set of objects
  • Recognize numerals 1 to 10
  • Recognize and draw simple shapes--circle, square, rectangle, and triangle
  • Count to 20 orally
  • Recognize similarities and differences in objects (Comparison is a foundational pre-number skill.)
  • Recognize and identify coins (This is an easy one. I haven't met a little learner who isn't interested in how much money is in his or her piggy bank. Capitalize on this interest by sorting, counting, and identifying.)
  • Identify tools of measure (Tools of measure include thermometers, speedometers, scales, Knowing the purpose of each is important to later math skills.)

Language

  • Recite the alphabet (Why not sing the alphabet song while jumping up and down.)
  • Recognize letters
  • Recognize similarities and difference in letter formation
  • Recognize similarities and differences in sounds
  • Speak in complex sentences
  • Hold a book and track from left to right (One of the best natural ways to learn this skill is by modeling others, doing as they do. As you read aloud, trace a finger under the words, working from left to right, top to bottom.) 
  • Retell a story (This is a foundational skill for reading comprehension and vital for auditory processing.)
  • Follow a two-step direction
  • Hold a pencil with correct grip
  • Write lower and upper case letters (There are so many ways to learn letter formation. Some of our favorites are writing in shaving cream on a bathroom wall while taking a bath, finger painting on easel paper, forming letters in a salt tray, and writing with a stick in the mud. 
  • Spell first name
  • Recognize cause and effect (Offering explanations if every day cause and effect will help your little learner do the same. If we leave the door open, kitty will run out. If we put all the cold groceries together they will help each other stay cold until we get home.)

Science

  • Recite phone number and address (This is a safety life skill. While learning this information we explain to our children why they may need it: emergency, calling 911.)
  • Name basic colors
  • Identify living and non-living
  • Identify parts of a plant: roots, stem, leaf, flower, pedal
  • Make simple predictions
  • Develop observation skills
  • Form questions and find solutions

Social Sciences

  • Order daily activities
  • Locate home state on a United States map
  • State the significance of and the similarities and differences between people who work in the community: police, firefighters, librarians, grocers, etc.
  • Learn left, right, straight, and diagonal (When entering your neighborhood, speak the directions as you drive. For example, we turn right at the stop sign. We will turn left at the corner, and so on. Once you have repeated these directions several times going in and out of the community, ask your child to tell you how to get home using left and right.)
  • Identify basic geographical formations: river, mountain, cliff, ocean, and continent

Physical

  • Draw a person with a recognizable body
  • Use utensils properly
  • Catch a ball
  • Kick a ball
  • Run
  • Gallop
  • Skip
  • Use a scissors (Providing a cutting box, old magazines, or newspaper ads for cutting along lines and curves.)
  • Identify body parts. (Play Simon Says. Simon says touch your nose. Simon says touch your elbow.)
  • Walk a balance beam (Okay, so most of us don't have balance beams in our homes. However, there are curbs and lines to walk. See a line, seize the moment and walk, carefully as a tight rope walker does.)
  • Dress and undress
  • Personal responsibility (Taking care of oneself and the areas in which he or she works and plays. Tidy up the toy room. Use a tooth brushing chart to encourage consistent care.)

In the early years, our homes provide a place--a haven--where our children can gain a foundation for future cognitive, physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual health.

 

8 Skills Children Practice in Puddles

Rain poured.

Five years ago. One solid week of on and off rain. Our learners caught cabin fever. Petty arguments found themselves frequent visitors to play and learning time. My children and I needed outside time, desperately. When thunder and lightening pushed away, I announced it was time to find the raincoats.

Out we went!

There was much to learn in the puddles. Each learner carried a small fish net, sand bucket or shovel. They were off on an adventure.

Catch. Look in the puddle when the water is still. Do you see insects? Do you see any tadpoles? If there are tadpoles, try to catch some in a container. Once home, place in a larger container or fish bowl and observe over the next week or ten days. What happens to the tadpoles?  Draw pictures of each change. This is an amazing first lesson about life cycles. 

Jump. Who doesn't love to jump in puddles? Puddle jumping allows little learners to learn about the properties of water. If the weather is particularly rainy or cold, a raincoat will help keep little learner warm during his or her discoveries. Experiment with stomping. How does the force of stomping effect water displacement?  These experiences build physical skills while placing important files in the brain for later science learning. 

Listen. Listen to the rain drops hit the water. Listen to the rain patter on the house roof. How does the sound of rain change? Once inside, make a rain stick. Find a paper roll. Cover one end with wax paper. Measure (another great skill for littles) 1/4 cup of rice. Pour into the tube. Cover the other end to keep rice contained. Decorate. Shake. Try to replicated the sound of rain. While making music, chant Rain, Rain, Go Away or sing The Eensy Weensy Spider. Differentiating sound, replicating sound, and moving to music are important to auditory and physical development. 

Measure. Take measuring cups and spoons out to the puddle. Experiment with measuring. How many 1/2 cups can be poured into 1 cup? How many tablespoons can fit in a 1/4 cup? If you have a balance scale, compare the weight of 1 cup of water to 1 cup of mud. Compare 1 cup of wet leaves to 1 cup of broken sticks. Measuring and comparing are important math skills for little learners. 

Sink and Float. Collect objects. One by one, choose an object and guess whether the object will sink or float. If the object sinks, place it on one pile. If it floats, place it on another. This is a great activity for children to experiment with making predictions.

Write. Use a stick to write numbers, letters, or words in soft mud surrounding the puddle. For littlest learners, begin with writing the first letter of the child's first name. From the first letter, move to the whole name. 

Count objects. Are there object floating on the puddle's surface? Are there objects around the puddle? Count objects. Are there more objects in the puddle or on the edge? 

Evaporate. After rain, puddles disappear. However, evaporation happens at different rates. Be sure to go back outside to check on the puddles. Are they still there? How are they different each time you return.

Read. Once inside, place wet clothes in the laundry and redress in dry. Choose a few rainy read-alouds while sipping on hot chocolate. 

Some of our favorite rainy reads have been: 

  • From Tadpole to Frog, Wendy Pfeffer (one of three books available in the Math Adventures Math and Science Combo Kit)
  • Frogs, Gail Gibbons
  • Why Frogs are Wet, Judy Hawes
  • Ducks Don't Get Wet, Augusta Goldin
  • Peter Spier's Rain, Peter Spiers
  • Weather Words and What They Mean, Gail Gibbons
  • Down Comes the Rain, Franklyn M. Branley and James Graham Hale
  • Clouds, Ann Rockwell
  • Feel the Winds, Arthur Dorros
  • Flash, Crash, Rumble, Roll, Franklyn M. Branley
  • Weather Forecasting, Gail Gibbons
  • Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean, Arthur Dorros

As long as it is safe to go outside, rainy, puddle-filled days can provide memorable learning moments.

It's intentional, real, and relational. And, it matters!

Want to learn more? This Psychology Today article offers further explanation about what really happens when little learners play in the rain. Fascinating!

Tried-and-True Homemade Play Dough

Tried-and-true for over thirty years!

Play dough. Hands-on creative fun with the ability to build motor skills. It is a staple in many homes and schools.

 

As a high school student employed as a teacher’s assistant, I was introduced to an amazing homemade version of a timeless childhood treasure.

Play dough.

Part of my role as the assistant was to make sure the play dough was fresh, every day. Sometimes that meant making a new batch of pliable goodness. Over thirty years later (and counting) I am still using the same recipe with my littles.

Gather

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar (cream of tartar acts as a preservative)

2 cups cold water

Food coloring

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon OR a few drops of essential oil

Wooden cutting board or clear counter space

Air tight plastic bag or container

Make

1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the flour, salt, vegetable oil, cream of tartar, and water. Stir well. Add 5 to 6 drops of food coloring and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon or essential oil. 

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough is the consistency of mashed potatoes; about 5 minutes.

3. Spoon onto wooden cutting board or wax paper covered counter top.

4. Knead until smooth.

5. Store play dough in an airtight plastic zipper bag or container up to 6 months.

Knead, roll and pat to build fine motor skills.

Play dough is not just for molding and making. 

Consider

  • Make a long rope and form into letters. Begin with the first letter of the child's first name (this is important to them). 
  • Make a long rope and form into numbers.
  • Make a long rope. Ask the child to cut the rope into specified number of equal parts. This can be used to introduce and reinforce the concept of fractional parts. 
  • Make a long rope. Ask the child to divide the rope so that each person in the room receives an equal number of pieces. This reinforces the concept of division. 
  • Cut circles from the play dough. Cut the circles into equal parts, fractional pieces. 

Perhaps this recipe will be a new favorite in your home.

State Study with Discover America Series

While sitting around a table this morning with a sweet mom and her precious daughter--discussing their state studies--I remembered one of our favorite resources.

Discover America State by State

Colorful, inviting and plentiful in intriguing content, this fifty-one book series takes young readers on journeys through each state's geographical landscape while also allowing children to become familiar with landmarks, wildlife and culture. Truly each book provides a window from which children can peek into places they may not otherwise visit. 

One day as we were combing the shelves for the state books, our children discovered Sleeping Bear had also published state-themed number books. These, too, quickly became favorites. In fact, when used in conjunction with the State by State books, our studies deepened. 

Visit the Sleeping Bear Press website for more information including a plethora of teacher guides and learner activities. The State by State activities were helpful to us in our studies as were the guides for the state number books

As I post this blog, I am with you on this summer journey of fondly remembering the highlights of our year yet looking forward to the learning ahead, just like the mom and sweet daughter we met this morning. 

Perhaps these books will enhance your future learning adventures. 

 

 

 

Picture Pie: Fractions, Art and Fun!

One of our favorite picture books related to fractions is Picture Pie by Ed Emberley.

Learners often use fractions and dread in the same sentence. 

It doesn't have to be so.

Picture Pie by Ed Emberley allows fractions and fun to partner for intentional learning and retention. 

My children found the circle cutter in the scrapbooking cabinet, the one that hadn't been opened for quite some time. One child carried the circle cutter. Another carried twelve bright-colored sheets of construction paper. Each raced to the kitchen table, inspired by Ed Emberley's book. 

Within minutes, piles of rainbow-colored circles grew on the table. Elmer's glue flowed, spurted, then sputtered from orange tops as contents were drained. 

The results. Folds. Fractions. Art. 

Mastered. 

What we did?

  • Read the explanations and looked at Ed Emberley's collage work.
  • I explained fractions are parts of a whole. The bottom number is the denominator. It tells how many total parts are in the whole. The top number is the numerator. Itrepresents a specific part of the whole. 
  • Each child selected one paper circle from the circle piles and followed directions to fold the circle in half—two equal parts. Together, we unfolded and cut along the fold line. I had each child write the fraction 1/2 on each semicircle.
  • I encouraged the learners to select more paper circles to fold and cut into two equal parts. I demonstrated how each half circle could be folded in half again, making four equal parts. I labeled each part with the fraction 1/4.
  • I allowed time for experimental folding, cutting and creating. WOW! Creative. Fraction. Fun.
  • One child suggested using printed papers and aluminum foil. 
  • At the end of the afternoon, I offered our magnetic circle set, demonstrating equivalent fractions by laying pieces on top of one another. For example,  I modeled how two 1/4 pieces fit on top of one 1/2 piece with no edges    extending over, making the statement 2/4 = 1/2.

My learners not only understood fractional parts and equivalent fractions, they applied what they learned to create amazing art--an all-around WIN WIN WIN for fraction, fun and art. And we learned together!

Intentional. Real. Relational.

Convention Preparation Time

Boxes arriving. 

"We have that book! It's one of my favorites!"

Yes, indeed! Hence, the reason more arrived in two boxes. Just sharing what has worked for us. 

Units and activity packs of real math. Those might be a favorite. Maybe the gears?

Children add ideas they've tried and liked

 

It is all about sharing what we've loved; what worked, what made a difference. 

And so, when the boxes arrive, the reminiscing and wondering begin. 

"They will love these!"

Great words to hear. 

Convention prep time is a favorite time of year, in our house, as we prepare to share.

Read Aloud to Foster Counting Skills

Counting books cycle in our home; about every four years over the past two plus decades as little learners grow and start their quest to conquer the concepts and skills involved in counting. 

Noticing some of our favorites are disappearing from the library shelves, intentionality finds me adding to our home library so we don't lose our loves. 

How Many Snails? Rich, bold vibrant colors invite little learners to jump in and count! Though counting is the main skill reinforced, attributes, following directions, and processing fair well, too. One of our favorites! Author: Paul Giganti, Jr. 

M&M Counting Book. The familiar candies on the front draw readers to the content. Once opened, this book teaches counting through 12, counting sets, and beginning addition and subtraction. Author: Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Counting is for the Birds. The rhyming text makes this brilliantly illustrated counting-to-twenty book an all-time favorite of ours. Author: Frank Mazzola, Jr.

Cardinal Numbers: An Ohio Counting Book. Counting 1-14 with beautiful illustrations and real-world word problems on the last pages, this book is one of many in the Sleeping Bear Press series. A favorite for older children, too, as side bars on each page offer additional opportunities for curious learners. Author: Marcia Schonberg

Great Estimations. An intriguing look at estimating as an advanced counting technique. Great photography, fun examples, and helpful hints for counting objects in large numbers. Great for older learners, too! Author: Bruce Goldstone.

The Coin Counting Book. Counting takes another journey into the world of coin recognition and value. Great for beginner coin counters who have a piggy bank of coins waiting to be counted.  Another of our favorites due to the interest most kids have in money. Author: Rozanne Lanczank Williams.

Eating Pairs: Counting Fruits and Vegetables by Two. Reading and learning odds and evens go hand-in-hand with this unique counting book. We love that the numbers are written down the side bar of each page, begging for us to count along...again! Author: Sarah L. Schuette.

10 Little Rubber Ducks. Fictionalized counting story of a real-life event presented alongside the classic Eric Carle collage art. Bright illustrations and a intriguing story line. Great addition to the home library, for sure! Author: Eric Carle.

 

"There's Math in My Candy Bag!"

All that candy!

This may be a proclamation in your home this week.

If so, perhaps one of these simple adventures could add a fun twist to your learning.

Measurement (linear) 

Young children, generally preschoolers, often learn to measure in non-standard (inconsistent) measurements before they measure in standard (consistent) measurements. Non-standard units might be blocks or perhaps toy cars.

So, why not Snickers?  

Snickers, or any candy bar for that matter, can be a non-standard unit of measure.

How many Snickers high is Dad? How many Kit Kats long is the bed?

Draw a visual representation. 

Measurement (weight)

Weigh your candy on a kitchen scale. Did everyone collect the same weight amount? This activity offers opportunity for children to learn to weigh objects and read a scale. To extend this activity, have the children estimate the weight before placing on the scale. If the estimation and the actual weight are written on paper, demonstrate how to subtract to find the difference (how close the estimate was to the actual weight). 

Sorting and Counting

Skittles and M&Ms create wonderful opportunities for sorting, counting, comparing, and graphing. In fact, if you have an abundance of fun size bags, consider inviting another family or a a group of friends to learn too! 

Small candies work well for set creation, comparing and counting. We used Smarties and Sprees for counting by fives and tallying. 

Graphing 

Sort out two different types of candy bar from the collection. Ask each member which candy bar is his or her favorite. Offer each his or her favorite to eat. Save the wrappers to make a "favorites" graph. 

Fractions

Packages with multiple colors of candies--Skittles, M&Ms, and Starbursts--are great for teaching fractional parts. Count the total amount. Sort the colors. Make a visual representation of each color in relation to the whole. For example, if there are 16 Starbursts and 4 are orange, the written fraction would be 4/16. Taking a step further, 4/16 is equal to 1/4 of the package. 

Percentage

Halloween behind us, stores in our area are posting opportunities to use practical math, for example 50% off $6.99, 75% off retail, and buy-one-get-two free. Take photos of these while out and work the math when you arrive home. OR, do it in the store to determine whether the sale is a "deal". 

Operations and Equations

My older children love to use math to determine whether or not they are getting a "sweet" bargain. We figure out cost (If a bag of candy costs $3.99 and the sale is 50% off, what will be pay?) and cost per unit (If the bag of fruit chews costs $2.19 and there are 50 chews per bag, what is the cost of each individual chew?). I also make up additional hypothetical scenarios (If you have a $10.00 bill in your pocket and the candy is $3.29 per bag, how many bags could you buy and how much change would you receive from your purchase?) This often leads to conversation about sales tax, taxable and non-taxable items, and cost per pound.

These yummy math ideas (and more) are compiled in my Flip Three Pancakes With One Spatula book, a resource I put together after years of hands-on math activities. Yes, my children love to eat their math. 

Ideas from the Flip Three Pancakes book. 

 

"It's All Yours!" : A Money Counting Life Lesson

"Mom, Josh gave us all the money he found in his car. And, he said we could have it if we could count it!"

There's power in words. 

Twenty-two years ago, a four-year-old, math-savvy preschooler cleaned great-grandpa's pockets. 

"Josh, if you can count it, you can have it!" Great-grandpa quipped. Little did he know his pockets would be empty when he left family Christmas Eve. Josh counted every coin.

Josh left $6.72 richer. Even more important, words--a relationship--reached across tthree generations. Josh had made a connection. The words were encouraging, egging on learning.

Would he really give all he had? 

A challenge and some change, some words and a relationship. Impact.

"Mom, Josh gave us all the money he found in his car. And, he said we could have it if we could count it!"

I inquired. "What?"

"Josh gave us all the money he found in his car and we are counting it. If we count it, we can keep it."

I had heard correctly. I remembered the similar day, a Christmas long ago.

Dimes, in piles of ten, for 100. Pennies in piles of ten for ten. Methodically organized for a simple LAST count. 

$34.15

"Mom, is he serious?"

"There's $34.15 here!"

"Did he know how much was here?"

I bet he did.

Josh wasn't worried.

He gave, but he also inspired--the counting, but also the heart behind the GIFT!

I was thankful for the counting practice, but honestly, what made my heart swell was what the girls experienced.

Someone freely gave to them, not worried about the amount. Just gave. 

"It's all yours!"  meant much more than a pile of change. 

Will they pose the same challenge one day?

I bet they will! 

 

Multiplication Turkeys

Multiplication can be tough. In fact, I get frequent inquiries requesting fresh methods and fun ways  to teach, learn and memorize the facts often associated with, "I had such trouble with these when I was in school." 

This week one of my little learners was laboring over the "harder facts". As we worked together it became evident she needed work on most of her 7s. 

She had an idea! Having seen a counting turkey online, she felt it could be modified "to be more colorful, more helpful."

Love their creative, problem solving minds. 

"Let's take a paper plate and fold it in half. Then, you know all that colored paper out on the art shelf? I will cut colored feathers out of paper. Then, on each feather could you write the facts for 7s? I will put a craft stick on the bottom so I can hold it like a puppet. Then, I can hold it up and read the facts over and over. I will learn them that way!"

Going on her lead, I gave her the high five and she was off to create, and master!

And she did!

Every day she held up the Times Table Turkey (sometimes a catchy name is all little learners need to be encouraged!), set the timer for two minutes and said the 7s aloud. There was visual and auditory reinforcement to her learning.  

Have younger learners excited and eager to have a learning turkey, too?

We did! Littlest learner colored her turkey plate and made a face on the head. She wanted numbers 1-10. Another learner decided to count by 500s! In the end, three learners, three turkeys! Learning together, and excited!

The Times Table Turkey had multiplied from just learning facts to solving problems, sharing ideas and sibling relationship building.

Mastered? Yes, and much more!