This February, join us in a celebration of our unwavering love for math, as we unveil the stories behind why our team is head over heels for math education.
April is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month! While we love to appreciate math all year round, April is a time to celebrate the diverse researchers and students who work in math and stats fields. These individuals and teams contribute so much to furthering discoveries, solving problems, and finding beauty in our world – all through math!
It’s also a time to reflect on the importance of math education at all levels. From our perspective, it's especially important to help children learn to understand and to love math, because we know that feeling confident in math helps young people develop their potential to change the world. That’s why we love teaching math to your children!
It’s never too early to start involving your kids in math-y conversations! By talking to your child(ren) about how math affects them directly you make math and statistics more relatable, which in turn helps your child(ren) learn to love and appreciate these topics!
While math appears in basically all aspects of your life, a great way to get started with these conversations is to invite math-y conversations into your kitchen, on car rides with your family, and to the store.
Keep reading for math-y conversation starters and activities!
Some of our team's favorite memories growing up involve cooking with their families. From one of our instructors: "Even when I was too young to actually be helping, I was still perched on the counter sticking my hands into everything I could, and my mom would let me help measure the dry ingredients!" Measurements are a perfect gateway into harder math topics like fractions and percentages, and they’re easily introduced to children of any age (often with tasty results)."
Reese (the instructor quoted above) suggested this Snazzy Snickerdoodles recipe from Pampered Chef. They shared "We don’t use fancy gadgets like the cookie press, instead we scoop out dough and then flatten them with a glass dipped in sugar."
If you do have a cookie press We're sure that could lead to some great conversations about shapes and geometry — rotational symmetry, anyone?
⭐ Fractions (Using measuring cups)
⭐ Size/Shape (Making cookies that are more or less the same size and shape)
⭐ Symmetry (Depending on what shape you make your cookies)
⭐ Time (How many minutes do these go in for? How many seconds?)
Pizza is commonly considered a childhood staple, and many kids love to experiment with different toppings. Even if your child is cheese-only, they'll enjoy helping to prep the dough, draw shapes in the sauce, and sprinkle the cheese!
⭐ Fractions/Percents (What percent of the pizza has cheese? What percent has peppers? What percent are you going to eat?)
⭐ Counting (How many pieces of pepperoni are on the whole pizza)
⭐ Shapes/Symmetry (What shape is the pizza? How do we cut it so we get equal sized slices? What if I made the pizza this other shape instead?)
⭐ Fractions (Cutting the Pizza)
Have you ever thought about how much time you and your kids spend in the car? Going to school, the grocery store, after school activities, visiting family, going on vacation…. It adds up. Rather than letting that time become lost to hours of handheld video games or movies, use it to talk about math!
There are endless variations to this game. One way to play is to use the letters from a license plate and try to come up with silly things they might be an acronym for, but you can use the numbers too! For example, your car-riders may enjoy seeking out the numbers from 0-9 in order, seeing who can find them all the fastest. Another option is to look for the license plate with the largest sum when you add the numbers together. Better yet, have your kids invent their own game!
⭐ Basic Math Operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, etc.)
⭐ This is really open to whatever you want. Pick a topic and figure out how to make a game out of it!
People are constantly processing data, even if they aren’t consciously thinking about it. Your kids are no different, so encourage them to be cognizant of the data around them! Keep a notebook in the car for data collection and spend the car ride keeping track of things like how many cars are a certain color, which color cars tend to have dogs hanging out of the window, etc. You can even start the drive by asking everyone in the car to form a hypothesis for what they think the data will say, and then check to see how those hypotheses held up at the end!
⭐ Types of Data (Quantitative vs. Qualitative)
⭐ Statistics (Is it more or less likely for this type of car to show up?)
⭐ Percentages (What percent of cars were a dark color?)
Whether you’re shopping in person or ordering your groceries online, you can include your child(ren) in the process and let them participate in an everyday math activity that directly affects them. After all, everyone’s gotta eat!
While this is perhaps the most obvious “everyday math” activity related to the store, it’s also a very versatile activity! You can have your child practice all sorts of math that will help them have a clear grasp of numbers and how to manipulate them.
⭐ Counting by a Number (2 for $1 means 4 for $2 and so on)
⭐ Basic Math Operations (how much have we spent so far? How much is it for 5 of those? etc.)
⭐ Estimation ($1.89 is about how many dollars? About how much have we spent so far? Should we round up or down if we want to make sure we have enough money)
⭐ Unit Price (Which one of these is cheaper per item? When is it better to get the pack that costs less per item? The one that costs more per item?)
⭐ Percents (40% off means we pay 60%, What is the discounted cost)
Many adults use credit/debit cards instead of cash these days, so children don't get as much practice with handling money as they used to. Even if it’s just using Monopoly money, have your child practice making change. Give your child $10 and let them pick out and purchase the snacks for your upcoming road trip. If there’s no line behind you, pay with cash and let your child count the change to make sure it’s correct.
⭐ Counting Money
⭐ Making Change (Counting up vs. Subtraction)
⭐ Counting by 5s, 10s, 25s, etc.