Thursday, May 2, 2013

Algebra Morning

The girls and I have lots of funny conversations throughout the day, and many of them turn into great teaching opportunities - sometimes I am teaching them, and sometimes they are teaching me!

One morning, Delaney was making up silly math problems for me.

"What's a dinosaur plus a cat?"
"A Dino-Cat!"

 "What is a gazillion jillion plus a million?"
"A Gazijillion Million"

I asked her, "What's 2x plus 3x?"
She cracked up at my ridiculousness, and told me it was 5x.

So I said, "If a equals 1, and c equals 3, what is a + c?"
She thought for a moment and said, "4".

Then she made up one, "If t equals 3 and r equals 2, what is t+r?" She correctly figured out that her answer would be 5.

Sophie did not want to be left out, and said, "How 'bout u equals 3?", and the new problem was t + u.
Delaney considered this, and answered "t + u = f. Because f equals 6."

A few of my favorite math blogs are Let's Play Math and Moebius Noodles. They both stress the importance of letting kids play with numbers and concepts. It is amazing how our brains work and put together concepts through playing with them, and how those same concepts become difficult to learn as an older student looking at a problem set. This 10 minute conversation of ours was a perfect example to me of how letting the girls do a little bit of silly problem solving can lead to the understanding of much bigger things, even at the ages of 4 1/2 and 2!

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