Even a Math Workbook Can Be a Game

Homeschooling Memories…

My youngest daughter wanted to do Singapore math. Miquon Red was her main math text at the time, but we added a bit of Singapore Primary Math 1B whenever she was in the mood.

We turned to the lesson on subtracting with numbers in the 30-somethings.

The first problem was pretty easy for her:

30 − 7 = _____

I reminded her that she already knew 10 − 7.

She agreed, “Ten take away seven is three.”

Then her eyes lit up. “So it’s 23! Because there are two tens left.”

Wow, I thought. She’s catching on quickly.

Mom Always Talks Too Much

We went to the next problem:

34 − 8 = _____

“Now, this one is harder,” I said. “But you know what ten minus eight is, right? So we could take one of these tens and—”

She waved at me to be quiet.

I was just getting started on my standard speech about how to turn a tough subtraction like 34 − 8 into the easy addition of “2 + 4 + two tens left.” But her mind was still on the last problem, specifically on the two tens and the seven.

“If you have 27,” she said, “and you add three more, you get 30. And four more is 34.”

“Um, yes, but…” I interrupted.

She shushed me again.

“And then you can take away the four. And then you can take away the three. And then you can take away one more…It’s 26!”

Mom Learns a Lesson

She continued through the next page that way. For every problem, she started with whatever number struck her fancy, usually containing at least one digit from the problem before. She added enough to get up to the 30-something number in the book.

Only then would she deign to subtract the number in question.

I don’t think she ever saw the point of the mental math technique the book and I were trying to teach, but she did have a lot of fun playing around with the numbers.

In the long run, that’s much more important.


Feature photo: “Laughing Girl” by ND Strupler via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Rabbit Trails and Fibonacci Poetry

Homeschooling Memories…

Well, I hadn’t planned on spending my day that way. But one of the great things about homeschooling is the freedom to follow rabbit trails.

While browsing the Carnival of Homeschooling, I found a link to Farm School blog’s article Fib Foolery, which sent me to Gotta Book for his articles The Fib and More Fibbery (read the comments on both threads, but be warned that some are crude) and several other posts, all of which set me off on a morning of poetic fun.

A “Fib” is a Fibonacci poem. It’s based on syllable count, like a haiku, but the lines follow the Fibonacci counting series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8… Each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.

I knew what I was going to share at our Tuesday Teatime and Poetry Reading that afternoon.

Here’s the best one I’ve come up with so far:

Math:
Word
Problem,
Mental play.
Archimedes shouts,
“Eureka! I figured it out.”

The Kids Join the Fun

While we always enjoyed our tea and poetry times, that day was the only one that inspired the kids to actually write poetry themselves.

My 7yo dd was so proud to be able to count syllables and write:

Cat.
Soft.
Pretty,
But sleeping.

While my 12yo ds really took off, creating more than a dozen Fibs. His first two are still his favorites:

Ducks
Have
No luck,
But they do
Have many feathers.
Hunters like to shoot ducks a lot.

and

Paul
Is
Revered
A lot by
Paul Revere’s Fan Club.
What is Paul’s last name, anyway?

Wouldn’t you like to try it, too? Please share your Fib in the comments below!


Feature photo: “Rabbit” by Save the Bay via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


Noticing Fractions in a Sidewalk

fraction-circle

My daughters didn’t want to admit to knowing me, when I stopped to take a picture of the sidewalk along a back street during our trip to Jeju. But aren’t those some wonderful fractions?

What do you see? What do you wonder?

Here is one of the relationships I noticed in the outer ring:

\frac{4 \frac {2}{2}}{20} = \frac {1}{4}

sidewalk

And this one’s a little trickier:

\frac{1 \frac {1}{2}}{12} = \frac {1}{8}

Can you find it in the picture?

Each square of the sidewalk is made from four smaller tiles, about 25 cm square, cut from lava rock. Some of the sidewalk tiles are cut from mostly-smooth rock, some bubbly, and some half-n-half.

I wonder how far we could go before we had to repeat a circle pattern?

Continue reading Noticing Fractions in a Sidewalk

A Review for my Daughter’s Novel

“… a captivating fantasy story with a well-thought-out plot … people who like medieval-style fantasies with wraiths, spirits, and even an attacking swamp tree will enjoy the story. I certainly did, and the excitement, adventure, and suspense will easily keep the reader’s attention …”

— Wayne S. Walker
Home School Book Review

Thank you, Mr. Walker!

As a fantasy fan myself, I agree that Teresa did a great job on this book. She improved in every way from Book #1 — more world building, more complex plotting, and a deeper emotional identification with the characters. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Check it out for yourself:

Hunted600

Find out how the adventure began:

BanishedKindleCover


Free-Learning-Guide-Booklets2Claim your two free learning guide booklets, and be one of the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.


New Internet Math Reference Pages

The Internet boasts a wide-ranging assortment of math websites, and for years I maintained (or mostly neglected) a huge page of reference links. This spring I’ve been working on the paperback edition of my book‌—‌with its appendix of favorite books and internet sites‌—‌and I decided to revise my blog links to match.

Blogging while we watch the tide come in. :)
Blogging while we watch the tide come in.

So this week, I’m in Jeju, South Korea, visiting my daughter who teaches English there. In between seeing touristy sites and gorging ourselves on amazingly delicious food, she took me to a beautiful coffee shop that overlooks the beach in Aewol.

Great place to work on my blog!

The long monster list morphed into eight topical pages. I hope you find something useful.

Playing tourist with two of my daughters at Halla Arboretum.
Playing tourist with two of my daughters at Halla Arboretum.

I will try to keep these pages up to date, but the Internet is volatile. If you find a broken link, you can search for the website by name or enter the defunct URL into the Internet Wayback Machine at Archive.org.

Changing of the guard at Old City Hall, Jeju-si.
Changing of the guard at Old City Hall, Jeju-si.

And if you know of a fantastic website I’ve missed, please send me an email (LetsPlayMath@gmail.com, or use the comment form on my “About” page). I appreciate your help.


Feature photo above by Fractal Ken via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Korea photos ©2015 Denise Gaskins, all rights reserved. For more math resource suggestions, check out my Math with Living Books pages. They’re not finished yet, but I’ll be working on them next.

howtosolveproblemsWant to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.

New Fantasy Novel by Homeschooled Teen Author

Hunted600After months of editing, formatting, proofreading, sweat, and tears:

Teresa Gaskins’s new ebook Hunted: The Riddled Stone ~ Book Two is available now at Amazon worldwide.

You can download the first five chapters here:

To celebrate the release of Hunted, the ebook version of Banished‌—‌the first book in the Riddled Stone series‌—‌will be on sale for 99 cents for the next few weeks.


Free-Learning-Guide-Booklets2Claim your two free learning guide booklets, and be one of the first to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.