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Math Monster

 
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:27 pm    Post subject: Math Monster Reply with quote

I sent my two oldest to an expensive private prep school for grades 7-12. Ask them to multiply 3x23, and watch them scramble for a calculator. Seriously, paper and pencil won't do it. Must have calculator. This is one of the reasons we're home schooling now.
So with the 5 year-olds, I'm immersing them in math already. I started with the concept of the number line. I have no curriculum that I'm following, I just know what works for me when it comes to mental math. And it seemed to me that it all starts with the fundamentals - like understanding the number line.
We learned the concept by playing a game called math-monster. We started with 13 orange safety cones in the street, lined up in a row, spaced about 12-feet apart. Each had a stick in the center, onto which was stapled a piece of cardboard with a consecutive number on it, 0-12.

We started with the basics, just walking through the numbers. Then the math monster came out Twisted Evil , and began calling out little problems to solve. Like, "Monster says, ADD TWO!" They would have to run to the correct cone, or risk being tagged. Both the starting cone and the correct destination cone were safety zones. "Monster says, SUBTRACT 4!" There was no penalty for being tagged, only the thrill of eluding the "monster".
It works. They understand the number-line concept and even understand negative numbers. I think what's best about this kind of approach is the image of the cones that will stick with them for a while, if not forever.
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chan58



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I though I was logged in when I posted this!

Jim Chandler
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My middle child is a high energy boy. He's settling down quite a bit, but when he was starting to add, we had a game that we'ld play. It involved a lot of running and touching objects as well as identification and generalization.

Eg: Touch five maple trees. " 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5" Touch three
oaks "1 ... 2... 3" How many trees have you touched? "8" Make sure "1 ... 2 ..."

Of course, he was running about, checking leaves and generally burning off excess energy.

Paul
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chan58



Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right on! That's one of the side benefits of this approach - they run around so much that they go to bed earlier!
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Paul
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't work that way with Max. I finally found out where he gets that overflowing font of energy. He saps it from all the adults in the vicinity! I get tired just watching him! Wink

Paul
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Lee
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:39 am    Post subject: That Math Monster idea is great! Reply with quote

That is a great idea sure to not bore the boys. One advantage you guys have is that you are likely to be hands on learners, like your sons, and able to translate material in a way that will work for them.
Fortunately, I am a Mom who's easily bored, and not a "paper" learner, but a "doer", so I can keep it interesting for them.
Lee
PS
I read that this is intended for Dads, but who can resist a peek into how you guys think? Very Happy
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Paul
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really don't have any special insight into what makes Max tick. In reality, my daughter and I are cut from the same basic mold. We're quiet thinkers who are more prone to planning than action, and in this manner, Max is my opposite. The real advantage I have with Max is that wer're unschoolers and approach every day as a new oppertunity to experiment with the world. We've tried many learning activities; a substantial fraction have been discarded. However as we find things that work, we capatilize on them.

As a note, Max has grown beyond arithmatic by touching trees, but still enjoys bascally the same task as a botany exercise. It's no longer necessary to touch the object, but one must run to it to inspect it. "How many trees have grape vines and how many have poison ivy?" Not something he wants to touch! Max's current math obsession is workbooks. Give it a soft cover and let him write in it, and he's in hog heaven. He asks for them as presents ... begs for them as rewards ... grinds through them like most kids go through a sack of candy. Homeschooling is just too easy ;-).

BTW, it's a bit dangerous to look at how my family thinks. As one nice mother noted, "You guys are a bunch of loonies!"

IMNSHO, a high complement B-).

Paul
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