- - - - - - - CLICK HERE to join the FREE Facebook Group - - - - - - -

What Does Inspiring Math LOOK Like?   

Okay, maybe you read my last blog post about How to Inspire a Love of Math, and you are still not clear on what this kind of natural math looks like. 

So I've racked my brain (and my iphone photos) to give you as many examples as I could come up with. 


Inspiring math is all about noticing, playing with and creating with shapes, patterns, numbers, proportions and more.

Area 1 - Noticing shapes, patterns, numbers and proportions

Area 2 - Playing with shapes, patterns, numbers and proportions

Area 3 - Creating with shapes, patterns, numbers and proportions

These aren’t sequential, meaning kids won’t complete Area 1 math and move on to Area 2 math.They will bounce around naturally. 

All of these things are great for youth, so don’t think your 15 year old isn’t learning math when he’s baking or playing Battleship. I simply put things at the youth level when I felt that younger kids just wouldn’t be interested in it much, but your kids are unique, so don’t use this list as a hard and fast rule. If your 9 year old likes The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, great!!!

There is no way this is comprehensive, there are literally hundreds, probably even thousands, of ways that math is part of natural learning. Remember, these types of things are the foundation for a love of math (or at least not a hate or fear of it), and youth who have this foundation will easily build on it with higher math when they need to.

This isn’t theory, this works, I’ve seen it in my own home, and heard many stories that support this.

If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to read How to Inspire a Love of Math.

Area 1 – Noticing Shapes, Patterns, Numbers and Proportions

  For young kids

  • Counting flower petals or stair steps or red cars or the change in their piggy banks
  • Using a wall calendar and a clock
  • Looking for shapes on road signs and cars and plants and buildings
  • Baking, cooking
  • Estimating which is bigger, or comparing sizes or prices
  • Dividing up apple slices evenly
  • Setting the dinner table, especially when you have guests
  • Books – Blockhead, The Boy who Loved Math, How Much is a Million, The Math Curse
  • Videos – Several in School House Rock

 For big kids, all of the above, plus

  • Counting their money by sorting and stacking
  • Books – The Phantom Tollbooth, Why Pi?, Carry On Mr. Bowditch
  • Video – Donald in Mathmagic Land

 For youth, all of the above, plus

  • Books – The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, The Rithmatist
  • Videos – Vi Hart Doodling in Math Class: Plant series

Click here for my linked PDF of some of our favorite Math Resources (books, games, tools, etc.). 

Area 2 – Playing with Shapes, Patterns, Numbers and Proportion

 For young kids

  • Tangrams, pattern tiles, blocks, measuring
  • Messing around with a calculator
  • Putting together puzzles
  • Playing “store” using an abacus or calculator or pencil 
  • Counting board games like Chutes & Ladders, The Ladybug Game, Parcheesei
  • Pattern games like Connect 4, Set, Rack-O, Uno, Blokus
  • Card games like War, Crazy 8s and Go Fish
  • Books – Mathemagic, Math & Magic in Wonderland

  For big kids, all of the above, plus

  • Number puzzles, number “tricks”, hand arithmetic
  • Money board games like Monopoly, Payday, Cash Flow for Kids, The Game of Life
  • Logic board games like Clue, Battleship, Chess, Mastermind
  • Making patterns with Legos or blocks (even Minecraft)
  • Videos – Vi Hart Hexaflexagons series, Vi Hart Doodling in Math Class: Dragon series
  • Books - Sir Cumference series, Math for Smarty Pants, Take A Number, The Math Curse (we gave this one to an 8 year old for her birthday, a self proclaimed math hater, and she later told me it was her favorite book)

 For youth, all of the above, plus

  • Books – The Secrets of Mental Math, Danika McKellar series

                      

Area 3 – Creating with Shapes, Patterns, Numbers and Proportion

 For young kids

  • Building toys like Legos, blocks, Builderific
  • Books – The Librarian who Measured the Earth

 For big kids, all of the above, plus

  • Building a fort or tree house
  • Creating card or board games
  • Making creations out of cardboard or wood
  • Making paper snowflakes or paper airplanes
  • Origami
  • Designing original creations with Lego, K-Nex or LaQ
  • Designing on graph paper – “pixel art”, floor plan of their room, mazes
  • Building elaborate structures in Minecraft (not necessarily recommending Minecraft, but it is mathy)
  • Drawing, Painting and Photography (yes, art has a lot to do with mathy-ness)
  • Designing houses with house plan software
  • Books – String Straightedge and Shadow 
  • Videos - ViHart Doodling in Math Class - all of them!

 For youth, all of the above, plus

  • Books – The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Flatland

Click here for my linked PDF of some of our favorite Math Resources (books, games, tools, etc.).

I hope that now you will be able to "see" the mathy-ness happening in your home, and have confidence that while your kids are playing and building, they really are building that math foundation.

I'd love to hear about the natural mathy-ness in your home, so comment below!

If you liked this, please share it by clicking one of those little round buttons over there >>>

 

 


2 comments

  • Kendra – good question! By “hand arithmetic” I am referring to many hand tricks you can find for different basic arithmetic functions. The most well known to me was the trick for multiplying single digits by 9. Here is a pretty good explanation of this trick (there are many others out there) https://www.easycalculation.com/funny/tricks/6-10-finger-multiplication.php

    Heidi Nash - Project Inspire
  • Good post! What do you mean by “hand arithmetic?”

    Kendra

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published