Monday, November 8, 2010

Math: not just a four-letter word

Mrs. Thompson's grade two class is studying geese. The geese have started to leave on their winter migration. During a class field trip the class saw two flocks of geese flying by. The first flock had 35 geese in it. The second flock had 91 geese in it.

Write the math equation: __________________________

How many geese did Mrs. Thompson's class see? _______

Do you find math frustrating? You're not the only one. Even those who love math themselves may struggle to pass on that "natural"ability to their children. We are surrounded by numbers. But while we work intentionally to make reading a habit and a joy for our children, we all too often neglect to give the same care to mathematics.

And so we make math a chore, something "hard" (and by that we mean unpleasant), a workbook to make it through instead of a life skill to practice.

Let's not forget that God is Lord of numbers as well as words (more on this to come!); let's not turn our back on an entire realm of His truth.

This week and next, I invite you to join me in challenging our culture's assertion that math is dull, irrelevant, or purpose-less. Although nothing can replace learning the basics and repeating or re-sounding them until they are mastered, as an addition, you can begin with something as simple as a creative word problem.

The website the above problem came from, KidZone Math Word Problems, has seasonally themed word problems for grades 1-5 that you can print, copy by hand, or work in your head. Make it a challenge for the whole family: don't just work these problems, create your own!

You can add illustrations, practice good handwriting, and invite your older children to make up problems for you to solve. Remember, you know they understand the material fully when they can teach it to you!

Adding a creative touch to the math problems you work every day offers you another opportunity to share (and learn!) the order, structure, and fascination of the universe with your children.


Unknown said...

Leigh, I love the books Mathematicians are People, Too by the Reimers. Learning how the great mathematicians and scientists discovered solutions and the formulas we use today inspires a love for math.

1 Smart Mama said...

This is great! Thanks for sharing.