Monday, April 1, 2013

Math is Everywhere!

By Savannah Hill, RME Professional Development Coordinator

Last week, at an event hosted by RME, we discussed the importance of making mathematics relevant to children in their everyday lives. Many students may lack motivation in mathematics.

Students think math is not relevant.
Math is meaningless.
Math is boring.

In addition, as mathematics gets more difficult, students are even more unmotivated to persist.

We challenged our participants to come up with some ways that they could involve mathematics during activities they encounter everyday! Take a look!

During story time
  • Looking at the page numbers
  • Telling a story about planning how many people can share a picnic using leftover fruits, etc.
  • Calculating the percentage of a book completed and counting the characters in a story.
  • Finding mathematics in art.
  • Adding ages of people, pets, etc.
  • Reading mathematics related children's literature.
When outdoors
  • Planting a garden with your child. Make sure you measure the space and figure out how many rows and columns of veggies can fit in your garden. You could also find the area and perimeter!
  • Finding numbers on road signs
  • “Pick up 20 acorns, subtract 8. How many are left?”
  • Counting the number of white cars, blue cars, red cars.
  • Tracking sports statistics.
  • Discussing geometry and angles of playground activities such as swing sets and teeter-totters.
In the car or on the bus
  • Counting the floor tiles
  • How many miles to go? How much longer is a bus pass valid?
  • The bus holds how many? Costs how much?
  • Talking about speed limits and time. If the car is going at 60 mph then it’s a mile a minute and how far would it go…
  • Reading/following a map – distances and destinations.
  • Measuring car dimensions and ratios. Count items in view when in motion (driving).
At meal time
  • Baking a pie or cake for dessert. Become familiar with measurements. After, dividing the pie or cake into
  • pieces and illustrating fractions.
  • Counting your green beans. If you eat 5, how many are left?
  • What is the cost of different foods?
  • Figuring out how many pizzas to order – size needed – to feed a group of friends.
  • Discussing fractions (Ex. ½ or ¼ apple, 3/8 peas.)
Doing household chores
  • Finding 6 pairs of shoes and placing them in their proper places.
  • Calculating the square footage of a room vs. how long it takes to vacuum.
  • How long would it take to complete specific tasks? (Ex. make bed, hang clothes, pick up toys.)
  • Discussing the most efficient ways to clean the house and dilute cleaning products using fractions.
At the grocery store
  • Comparing prices - Calculate the cost per ounce and the price difference between products.
  • Weighing the produce.
  • Helping out by keeping an account of how much the grocery bill will be with the use of a calculator.
  • Listing the ingredients you will need to make a recipe (ex. a cake, a pizza, cookies) and calculating how much money you would need to buy ingredients on the list.
  • Reading weights and volume on packages. Convert between pounds and grams; package dimension and its content versus price. Ask your child to determine how much could be bought with his or her allowance?
Around the house
  • Encouraging your child to figure out how to make an allowance last 7 days.
  • Opportunities to earn money from performing special tasks/projects.
Math is all around us. There are numerous daily opportunities for you to share new math words and concepts with children. The more we talk about it, the better chance we have at changing their attitudes towards math and increasing their motivation! Do you have some other ways that you could engage the children in your life to make math relevant daily?

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