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Family Math

Supporting Math at Home

Math Everywhere!

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The importance placed on learning and enjoying the process of learning math concepts begins at home. As busy adults, we tend to look to our educational institutes to foster the love and understanding of math concepts, but this is not enough. Children need to see that we are willing to participate in learning situations and show the same aptitudes and learning issues that they will show in their experiences. The trick is to make the activity fun and family-focused. The solution: Family Math Night.

Family Math night requires some organization and a healthy dose of fun with the family. This exercise gives the parent and child a risk free environment in which to experience math activities while allowing the parents to see how something fun can also be concept building and educational. Most importantly, children have an opportunity to see that their parents value mathematics while the parents gain insight into your mathematics program. There is nothing like a chance to dispel the idea that interests and aptitudes are determined by the gene pool, i.e., Mom does not like Math so this will be the same for her daughter.

Things you will need:

Math night at home is not about pencil and paper.
Everyday items such as:

• coins of various denomination
• playing cards
• measuring cup and bowl
• paper and pencil

• The goal is to create situations that require the use of math concepts to solve problems. Now let's take a look at some possible activities.

1. Fill it Up.
Concept: Filling empty containers provides opportunities to explore comparisons, measurement, volume, estimation, and geometry.
Using a measuring cup and 4 containers of equal size, fill the containers at different levels ( 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup and 1 cup).
Ask questions that deal with comparison, estimation and measurement such as, 'Which glass has more water?' 'Which has less?' 'How many glasses of water do you estimate it will take to fill the container?'

2. Making Change.
Concept: Counting, addition, subtraction, and multiplication using grouping.
Have your child gather some change in his or her hand without showing what it is. Start with amounts of 25 cents or less (for first-graders, you can start with pennies and nickels). Ask your child to tell you how much money and how many coins there are. Guess which coins are being held. For example, "I have 18 cents and 6 coins. What coins do I have?" (3 nickels and 3 pennies).

3.What is My Number?
Concept:develop an understanding of the characteristics and meanings of numbers.
Have your child select a number from a range such a 1 to 100. Ask questions to isolate and solve this mystery number. Use concept questions to make the child aware of these concepts, i.e.
"Is it more than 50?"
"Is it an even number?"
"Is it more than 20 but less than 40?"
"Can you reach it by starting at zero and counting by 3's?"

4. What are the odds?
Concept: Understanding probability is essential in many areas of mathematics.
A.Flip one coin. Every time it comes up heads, your child gets 1 point. Every time it comes up tails, you get 1 point. Flip it 50 times. Tally by 5's to make it easier to keep track of scores. The person with the most points wins. If one person has 10 points more than the other person does, score an extra 10 points. Does this happen very often? Why not?

B. Flip two coins. If the coins come up two tails or two heads, your child scores 1 point. If it comes up heads and tails, you get 1 point. After 50 flips, see who has more points. Do you think the game is fair? What if one person received 2 points for every double heads and the other person received 1 point for everything else. Is this fair?

C.Flip one coin. Then flip the other. If the second coin matches the first coin, your child scores 1 point. If the second coin doesn't match the first coin, you receive 1 point. Try this 50 times. Is the result the same as in the previous game?

Take a look at the kind of activities that your children enjoy and then try to create opportunities to explore math concepts within these activities. It all comes down to making the effort to show appreciation for the subject of math in a family setting.

Deb Russell
Mathematics Guide

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