Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mathematizing the World

As educators, we often get asked, "How can I help my child at home?"

One way of supporting children's mathematical development is to help them "mathematize" their world by seeing math all around.  Start by being curious about your child's ideas and what they are pondering.  Notice everyday experiences and ask questions that help build on their mathematical thinking. 

For example, when visiting the Texas State Fair last week, math was EVERYWHERE! 
It was easy to capture some digital images with the use of a smart phone.

How many fair tickets did I purchase?
If each ticket costs $2, how much money did I spend on tickets?
It takes 5 tickets to ride the bumper cars.  How many times can I ride?

How many ducks in the pond?
How could you group the ducks to easily count them? 
How many would there be if you added 1, 10 or 100?
What if you took one away?

Estimate the height of the Ferris wheel.
How many buckets are there?
If a bucket holds 3 people, how many people will the Ferris wheel hold?
If takes 45 minutes for one rotation on the Ferris wheel, how many minutes would 3 rotations take?

Look at the balloon array!
How many rows of balloons are there?
How many columns?
What is the product? 
How many 6x4 arrays can you find?
What fractional part is blue?

How many inches tall are you?
How many feet tall must you be to ride?  
If you are not tall enough, how many more inches must you grow?  
What is the difference between 36 inches and 42 inches?

Howdy BIG TEX!
If Big Tex is 52 feet tall, how many feet taller is he than you? 
How many inches tall is he?  
If Big Tex turned 60 years old in 2012, what year was he built?

When our children are thinking like mathematicians, they make sense of numbers, learn to persevere, are able to reason, and use multiple strategies to solve problems.  All of these things help our children become passionate about math in the world we live. 

I challenge you to "mathematize the world" and have some rich conversations with your child.  


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