Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Math (Loosely)

I am a bit behind on blogging.  A COUPLE WEEKS AGO, on the way home from school, Eli said to me, "Can we work on my math today?"  Music to my ears.  Seriously.  Here's what we came up with:

I decided to have the kids investigate the different ways that we can combine numbers to make a total of 6.  I had both of these papers set up at the table, exactly like you see above, and invited the kids to explore.

We started, of course, by eating the candy pumpkin.  The six candy corns were used as the counters for the activity.  I had a bag of candy corn and pumpkins in the pantry that had been purchased to top some cupcakes.  We opened the bag a bit early.

For Eli's paper, he would count out the candy corn needed for the sum.  So, he would put 2 candy corns under the 2 (in the 2 + 4) and then 4 candy corns under the 4.  We could then count the total and find that 2 + 4 was indeed 6.  We worked our way around the paper, marveling at the many ways you could get a total of 6.  It's true;  we marveled.

On Abby's paper, there were boxes drawn in which she would place the candy corns.  With her, this was more of an exercise of practicing one-to-one correspondence:  one candy corn goes in one square.  Many times, she would try to put two candy corns in one square.  As with Eli, we would count the total number of candy corns once they were in the squares to find a total of 6. Again, for Abby, it was great practice of counting with one-to-one correspondence as she does like to count the same candy twice.  2 + 4 is definitely not 7.

Counting and adding away.
Some fun extensions:
  • Investigate what happens when you do 2 + 4 and 4 + 2.  Does the same thing happen for 5 + 1 and 1 + 5?  YAY!!  You just taught your kid the Commutative Property of Addition.
  • How about some Algebra?  I have 2 candy corns...how many more do I need to make 6?  Essentially, you just solved the equation 2 + x = 6 and found that x = 4.
  • And now the fun part...SUBTRACTION.  Once all of the addition has been completed, start eating!  I have 6 candy corns and I just ate one.  How many are left?
  • Here's a tricky one:  I have three candy corns left.  Can I eat 6 of them?  NO WAY.  3 - 6 and 6 - 3 are not the same thing.  You just taught your kid that subtraction is NOT commutative.
I titled this "Pumpkin Math (Loosely)" because that is what it is.  The pumpkin in the center of the paper is meaningless, it could just as easily be an apple or a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas tree or completely blank.  You could also investigate ANY number.  I chose 6 simply because it seemed like a good amount of candy to eat...enough to feel like you were eating a decent treat, but not enough to make kids crazy.   All that to say, the pumpkin was festive for fall and we got to eat 6 pieces of candy.  Ok, really, we got to eat 6 + 1 pieces of candy, including the pumpkin.

Doing math while eating candy with my sweet kids...that was a fun day.

1 comment:

  1. Eli and Abby are going to be math whiz kids! And you are so creative!