Morning Coffee – 27 Sept 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your Friday morning coffee:

  • Do you have early learners? Christina Tondevold explains the building blocks of Number Sense for Pre-K to 2nd grade children.
  • If it’s time to teach your kids about the order of operations, consider using David Butler’s graphic version The Operation Tower. But don’t let yourself be drawn into those “gotcha!” memes on social media. As Dave Peterson points out (using trig functions), Order of Operations flows from basic common sense. If you need parentheses to make your meaning clear, then use them.

“What do we need to know in order to accomplish the goal? Well, start asking questions. And remember, one unasked question could put the entire enterprise in jeopardy…”

—Joe Schwartz
Houston, 1964

“It’s a little weird, isn’t it, that prime means first, and yet the first number isn’t prime?”

—Ben Orlin
Why Isn’t 1 a Prime Number?

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Mathematics: An Acrostic

What Is Your Child’s Experience of Math?

If your children made an acrostic for the word “Mathematics,” what would they include?

Would they think of adjectives like artistic, mysterious, or sublime?

Or would they focus on words like answers, maddening, and stress?

I love taking a playful approach to mathematics. Puzzles, games and art projects lay down a foundation of wonder and enjoyment. This creates a strong, positive base to support our kids through the inevitable difficulties of learning an abstract subject like math.

There are many rich math resources these days! So different from back when I started homeschooling. If you need ideas to help you transform your child’s experience of math, check out my Free Math on the Internet pages.

Internet Math Resources

In fact, I have a huge folder of even more bookmarks and links that I hope to add to my resource pages, whenever I find the time…

Does your family have a favorite way to play with math?

CREDITS: Water background photo by Ishan via Unsplash.

Morning Coffee – 23 Sept 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your Monday morning coffee:

  • David Butler invented a challenging new game that can spark plenty of mathematical thinking: Digit Disguises.
  • If you liked James Tanton’s video on the area model in last week’s post, you may enjoy his in-depth discussion of The Astounding Power of Area.
  • On a lighter note, I’m sure any classroom or homeschool teacher can think of several ways to use Sara VanDerWerf’s collection of Math Fails. Scroll down for links to earlier collections, too.

“I told them that actually what they did was exactly what maths is — reasoning things out using the information you have and being able to be sure of your method and your answer. Just because there’s no symbols, it doesn’t mean it’s not maths.”

—David Butler
The Seven Sticks and what mathematics is

 

“I am not willing to teach mindless math. It leads to mindless adults. Thinking is not an add-on once they have memorized. Thinking is the basic tool to negotiate the world.”

—Geri Lorway
Teaching division?… Do you know the “basics”?

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee – 19 Sept 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn math (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your Thursday morning coffee:

“Most people think that maths is replete with factual knowledge. But actually, it’s subjects like English, the Humanities, and some sciences that are hefty in factual content. Maths is super-dense with concepts, and processes, but really only very few facts.”

—Kris Boulton
Why Maths Teachers Don’t Like Knowledge Organisers

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Morning Coffee – 17 Sept 2019

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways to help our children learn math (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your Tuesday morning coffee:

  • David Wees discusses ways to use visual patterns to introduce and extend students’ understanding of algebra and functions.

“What we should all be shooting for is a world where everyone is mathematically literate, and where fear or anxiety around mathematics doesn’t prevent people from doing the things they dream of doing. Everyone should see some beautiful mathematical ideas and know what it feels like.”

—Dan Finkel
What we mean when we say “Anyone can do math”

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. “Morning Coffee” post format inspired by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader.

Math Makes Sense — Let’s Teach It That Way

I had forgotten this video, and then rediscovered it yesterday and loved it just as much as ever. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it, too — especially if you think of yourself as “not a math person.”

Annie Fetter is talking to classroom teachers, but her message is just as important for homeschoolers. Math is all about making sense. Let’s help our kids see it that way.

You can download the notes for Fetter’s updated session on sense-making and find several links to wonderful, thought-provoking posts on her blog:

How Can We Encourage Sense-Making?

Here are some ideas from Fetter’s updated notes, which expand on her comments in the video above:

  • Get rid of the question. Literally.
  • Ask students “What could the question be?”
  • Get rid of the question and the numbers.
  • Give the answer.
  • Or give several answers.
  • Ask about ideas, not answers.
  • Ask “Why?” or “How did you know?” or “How did you decide that?” or “Tell me more about that.”
  • Use active reading strategies.

Get this free downloadable poster from Teacher Trap via Teachers Pay Teachers.

A Few Resources to Practice Sense-Making

In no particular order…

“I implore you, stop ‘cracking the math code.’ Make sense-making the focus of every single thing you do in your math classroom.”

—Annie Fetter
Sense Making: It isn’t Just for Literacy Anymore

CREDITS: “Building a rocket ship” photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash. “Reading is thinking” poster by Teacher Trap via Teachers Pay Teachers.