Written by Kara Fleck.
Remember how I told you part of our summer learning was going to include a mini-math intensive?
Well, I did it, friends: Math Week!
And we all lived to tell the tale. Well, okay, as I write this we have one more day to go, but the week has been a good one and I’m assuming will end well.
- Who: my four kids, ages 5 to 15
- What: a week focused on math
- Where: our living room, kitchen, backyard, and the grocery store
- Why: because I felt we could all use a week of concentrating on our math skills without having to divide our focus with any other subjects
- How: casually, with no pressure, for an hour every day plus extras
So, how did it go? There might have been a few sighs and “Professor Snape” comments at the beginning of the first day.
But, it didn’t take long before we were all having a good time. Yes, really!
For one hour every morning we used a timer and had some kitchen table math time. I even varied the type of timer we used and we took turns setting them, keeping with the math and numbers theme.
We used this time to create our interactive math notebooks.
My vision is that, similar to our history timelines, the kids are building a good resource and reference book for themselves.
Each child has a blank notebook and we worked on them by either copying entries from our math dictionaries or by using these workbooks.
*Note: the workbooks are intended to be photographed for classroom use, as the instructions are printed on the back of the pages that you need to cut out and paste. To work around this I purchased two of each workbook: one we used for the instructions and one as a consumable for the pages we colored, cut, and glued into our math notebooks.
We also pulled all of our math related books from the bookshelves, from biographies to stories to picture books. I encouraged both free reading and reading aloud together.
Real world experience
We’re doing some projects around the house, so Math Week was a great excuse to get the kids involved. They got to practice using tape measures and levels. We got to practice our “handyman math” figuring out how much paint was needed for a project and what our budget for supplies should be.
Speaking of budgets, we took the kids grocery shopping, which isn’t all that unusual. However, this time we involved each family member in menu planning, coupon and sales matching, pricing items and more. There’s a LOT of math at the grocery store!
We also did cooking and baking, which is my favorite way to get fractions experience. Brownies, apple pie, and pizza were a delicious way to learn!
We watched a few different videos throughout the week. Here are some of our favorites:
- Donald Duck in Mathamagic Land
- Mathtacular 1 & 2 (we’re hoping to add 3 and 4 to our collection)
- The TED Talk on the Mathamagician
We laughed a little bit during the part at the beginning of the Mathamagician TED Talk where he asked if anyone had a calculator with them (it is from 2005). These days everyone who has a phone in their pocket has a calculator!
Speaking of math videos, The Great Math Mystery keeps coming up in our recommendations. Have any of you watched it with your kids? What did they think? My older kids and I may watch it soon.
When I announced this plan, we got so many good recommendations from all of you for games we will be playing well into the summer and beyond.
This week we played Uno, Yahtzee, and our fractions puzzles. Online, we used ABC Mouse and some games we found via lessons on Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool’s site.
We did some flashcard practice, too. I collect vintage flashcards and the kids like helping me look for these at yard sales and the thrift store. It was fun to them to put some of these treasures to use.
Unfortunately the rain ruined some of my outdoor math plans for the week. We did take advantage of one sunny day and made a skip-counting hopscotch. This was so simple, but such a hit that my 9 year old wants to make an even bigger one with more numbers. Deal, kiddo!
All in all, having a week devoted to math was a success. I feel like this will be a good “bridge” as we transition grade levels. I feel refreshed as a math teacher, too.
Math is everywhere, after all, and there are so many fun things we haven’t tried yet!
What are your favorite math resources?