Parents: Math Is Figure-Out-Able

I love listening to podcasts during my morning walk with the dogs. One of my favorites over the past year has been Pam Harris and Kim Montague’s Math is Figure-Out-Able podcast.

Figure-out-able. What a great word!

Figure-out-able sums up what I mean when I tell parents that math is “applied common sense.” Kids can use the things they know to figure out things they don’t yet know.

And figuring things out like that is fun, like a mental game where we play with the ideas of numbers, shapes, and patterns.

Usually, the podcast targets teachers, and the hosts try to show how they can help students learn to mathematize — to think mathematically. Over the past few weeks, however, Pam and Kim have been talking directly to parents about how to help their children learn math.

Continue reading Parents: Math Is Figure-Out-Able

Playful Math Education Carnival 147

Welcome to the 147th edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival — a smorgasbord of delectable tidbits of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine devoted to learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to high school.

Bookmark this post, so you can take your time browsing. There’s so much playful math to enjoy!

By tradition, we start the carnival with a puzzle in honor of our 147th edition. But if you’d rather jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

Continue reading Playful Math Education Carnival 147

Podcast: Real Math and Family Fun

Christy Thomas interviewed me for her Keep Calm and Mother On podcast. We had a wonderful chat. I think you’ll enjoy it:

Real Math and Family Fun with Denise Gaskins

“School math sometimes is more stress-inducing. Real math is more freeing and more joyful, and just more interesting.

    “Real mathematics is basically applied common sense.

      “Real mathematics is noticing patterns, seeing connections, figuring things out.

        “These are all things that you can do. You do them in other areas of your life. Real mathematics draws on those same abilities and focuses those abilities on numbers, shapes, and patterns.

          “Real mathematics is about solving puzzles. It’s about creative reasoning. These are the things you want your child to understand.”

          —Denise Gaskins, Real Math and Family Fun

          Go Listen to the Interview

          CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash.com.

          Podcast: Math as a Nature Walk

          Pam Barnhill interviewed me for the Your Morning Basket podcast. We had a great talk. I think you’ll enjoy it:

          YMB #94 Math in Morning Time: A Conversation with Denise Gaskins

          “Let me give you this new vision. I want you to think of math as a nature walk.

            “There’s this whole world of interesting things. More things, more concepts, more ideas than you and your children would ever have time to explore. And everywhere you look, there’s something cool to discover.

              “If you explore this world with your children, you’re not behind. Wherever you are, you’re not behind because there is no behind. There’s only, “We’re going this direction.” Or, “Let’s move that way.” Or, “Hey, look what I found over here!”

                “And as long as your children are thinking and wondering, and making sense of the math they find, they’re going to learn. They’re going to grow.

                  “So what you want to do is, you want to embrace this adventure of loving God with all your mind and approach math with an attitude of playful exploration.

                    “And you know, you’ll be surprised how much fun thinking hard can be.”

                    —Denise Gaskins, Math in Morning Time

                    Go Listen to the Interview

                    CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Jessica Rockowitz via Unsplash.com.

                    Notice, Wonder, Create

                    Many homeschooling parents dream of a mathematical magic bullet — a game, app, or book that will help their children learn math and enjoy it.

                    As in life, so also in math, there is no magic solution.

                    Do you want your children to learn math and enjoy it? Teach them to be Math Makers.

                    When they create their own math, students build deep, personal connections to math concepts. They think about the relationships between numbers, shapes, and patterns. Math becomes personal.

                    Toys, hobbies, favorite stories — all can be fodder for math creation.

                    Where Do Math Makers Get Ideas?

                    Let the child choose something to think about.

                    Make an “I Notice” list. How does that item relate to math? What patterns or shapes can you see?

                    Or how would the story characters use numbers in their daily lives? Would they cook, or go shopping? Might they build something? Would they decorate it with a design? What would they count or measure?

                    Make an “I Wonder” list. How many different ways might you turn the things you noticed into questions? What else might you ask?

                    Then turn one of your noticings or wonderings into a math story, poem, puzzle, drawing, or game. Create your own math. Share your creation with family and friends.

                    Now Get Published

                    Join the Student Math Makers team. We’d love to add your math creation to our collection and share it with viewers all around the world!

                    Download a Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form below:

                    CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by MI PHAM via Unsplash.com.

                    Math Makers: Write a Poem

                    Last week, I mentioned my new project, the Student Math Makers Gallery where children and teens can share their original math creations with the world.

                    So this week, I’m offering inspiration to get your children’s creative juices flowing.

                    Let’s Write Math Poetry

                    April is National Poetry Month, and it’s also Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month.

                    What better way to celebrate than writing math poetry?

                    • Write a poem about a math concept or idea, using your favorite style of verse.
                    • Or write a poem about any subject, using a mathematical constraint.
                    • Or both: write a poem about math, constrained by math.

                    Here are some examples…

                    Continue reading Math Makers: Write a Poem

                    New! Your Student Can Be a Math Maker

                    When children create their own math, they build a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and relationships.

                    And it’s fun!

                    So take a break from your normal math program to play with creative math. Students can:

                    Check Out the Gallery

                    We have a few entries already in the Student Math Makers Gallery.

                    Click Here To Visit the Gallery

                    Join the Student Math Makers

                    We’d love to add your students’ math to our collection and share it with viewers all around the world!

                    To submit a math creation, download a Math Makers Invitation and Submission Form below:

                    CREDITS: “Creating Math Puzzles by Sian Zelbo, the author of Camp Logic, via NaturalMath.com.

                    Playful Math Carnival 144: Anniversary Edition

                    Welcome to the 144th edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival — a smorgasbord of delectable tidbits of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine devoted to learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to high school.

                    Bookmark this post, so you can take your time browsing.

                    There’s so much playful math to enjoy!

                    By tradition, we would start the carnival with a puzzle/activity in honor of our 144th edition. But this time, I want to take a peek back at the history of our carnival.

                    But if you’d rather jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

                    Continue reading Playful Math Carnival 144: Anniversary Edition

                    Math Journals and Creative Reasoning

                    Learning math requires more than mastering number facts and memorizing rules. At its heart, math is a way of thinking.

                    So more than anything else, we need to teach our kids to think mathematically. To make sense of math concepts and persevere in figuring things out. To notice the numbers, shapes, and patterns all around. To wonder about big ideas.

                    Journaling is a great way to help children learn to see with mathematical eyes. Not just to remember what we tell them, but to create their own math.

                    Get started with creative math journaling today. Visit the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter page to download the free “How To Be a Math Rebel” sampler pictured above, which contains one of my all-time favorite math prompts.

                    Make 100 Math Rebels

                    It doesn’t matter whether your students are homeschooled or in a classroom, distance learning or in person. Everyone can enjoy the experience of playing around with math.

                    Puzzle from the free Math Rebel Sampler.

                    Continue reading Math Journals and Creative Reasoning

                    A New Resource for Playful Math

                    Are you looking for new ways to explore math with your kids?

                    Would you like an easy, no-prep resource for creative problem-solving, number play, math art, word problems, mini-essays, brainteasers, patterns, research projects, and much more?

                    Check out the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter project, which just might transform your child’s experience of math.

                    What Is a Math Rebel?

                    Math rebels believe in Truth. We refuse to accept something just because the teacher or textbook says it. We want to see the connections between math concepts and to understand why things work.

                    Math rebels care about Justice. We resist society’s push for speed and conformity. We reject the cultural narrative that math has only One Right Answer.

                    Math rebels celebrate Creative Reasoning. We delight in finding new ways to look at math topics. We want to think deeply about ideas, and we are confident in our ability to figure things out.

                    Launch your family’s math rebellion today with my free printable PDF booklet, “How To Be a Math Rebel,” available only on the Make 100 Math Rebels Kickstarter page.

                    Here’s the link again:

                    Make 100 Math Rebels on Kickstarter

                    If you like what you see, I’d love to have your support. The more people we can get backing the project in the early days, the more likely Kickstarter will promote it to new readers.