Welcome to World Maths Day! Right now, children around the world are playing mental math games online.
So, I thought I'd just write a very quick post about how to extend the learning by finding the teachable moments that surround you every single day. Here are just a few off the top of my head:
- Point out those street signs. Ask your child what shape and color each one is. If they're learning to read, ask what the sign says. Talk about why we need street signs, and why they might come in different shapes and colors.
- Make fractions out of food. Whether it's cookies your child will share, or pizza you're eating, help your child to see part/whole relationships. For example, if there are 10 cookies, ask your child what fraction makes up the whole (10/10). Help your child to understand that 10/10 = 1 whole. If you and your child each take one, what fraction did you take (2/10), and what fraction is left (8/10)? Older children may be able to reduce those fractions to 1/5 and 4/5. There are so many possibilities!
- Calculate the tip at a real or pretend restaurant. Older children will love to figure it out. If you double the tax, it makes it easier for them to understand. They could also help you split the bill, which is great division practice.
- Count and sort any and all objects. All ages can practice this one! It's not just math skills here - it's life skills, like sorting data and organizing information. From toys to puzzles, the possibilities are endless!
- Go shopping with a calculator. Children who are learning to use a calculator will love using one at the supermarket. It might take a little longer, but what a great math connection for them. On a separate trip, it's great to have them start reading and understanding food labels (there's math in calculating the serving sizes and such). You'll get more of a literacy connection in there, and you'll be helping them to make healthier food choices too!
- Take out those measuring cups and spoons. Cooking together is the ultimate math/literacy/health connection. From practicing concepts relating to fractions and measurement, to choosing and reading healthy recipes, to communicating and creating something wonderful together, it's an experience not to be missed. All ages of children will love to cook, if you're enthusiastic about it yourself, and let them help with the whole process. What a great way to connect!
I could go on and on here, but I think you get the idea that there really is math in every single day. You just have to take time out to notice it. That's really what a teachable moment is - an ordinary circumstance, situation, or event that we spontaneously turn into a fun and interesting learning opportunity. The best teachers seize those moments, instead of always following a scripted lesson plan. You can too...
Please feel free to add to this list! Of course, you can always look back through my math resources as well. You'll even find some great picture books and games to get your child thinking about more math too.