I’ve been doing well with my living math resolution. Each week we put aside the Singapore Math textbook/workbook for at least one day and do math games instead. I cannot express how much Sprite’s motivation has improved with this change! She adores the games and begs to do them again and again. Our last venture into math games was a result of cooking. While making cookie dough I realized that Sprite’s understanding of fractions was almost nil. I made a mental note, and looked in my Family Math book the next day.
Using directions from the fractions chapter, we started work on a Fraction Kit. Then the next day we played very simple games with the kit. Using a special fraction die that we made, we took turns picking up the amount we’d rolled. The winner was the first to get to one whole.
I was utterly amazed at how quickly Sprite caught on. Before I even had a chance to explain things like 2/8ths are the same as 1/4, she was switching out the pieces herself to make equivalent values and saying, “I only need 1/16th more!” Wow. That was so amazingly easy. And fun!
I tried to throw her for a loop by then playing the game with subtraction — we each start with one whole try to get to zero. No stumping her was possible! She grasped it fully. I asked her why. She said, “I can look at the pieces and see how they are the same or different.” She is a very visual-spatial child, and I now realize how spending fifteen minutes making a fraction kit and playing games was so much more productive than using the textbook would’ve been.
No, we were not scheduled to learn about fractions this week. But we needed to know about them to make cookies. And that’s living math — using math in real situations in a hands-on way. I hope that next time we bake together that these concepts will carry over.
We did so much hands-on fractions, that I made a lens. So visit Hands-on Fractions for more of the same.