Monday, December 9th, 2013
There are lots and lots of different cards games you can play during math time. I made a set of six little cards (0-15) for my daughters this December. They look like this:
Ages 2-4: If you have a toddler or preschooler you can print out two sets of numbers, cut out one set and have your kids match the numbers on the other (uncut) sheet. You can also use these numbers to go around a game board (Here’s a game board I made for the kids that you can download for free). You can pull out festive erasers, flip over a card and have you kids count that same amount. As long as you’re having fun, you child will have fun too!
Math War (Ages 5-10): There are also a number of games you can play with cards like these with older kids. Place all the cards face down in two stacks (one pile for each player). Each player turns a card over. You can play math war…
either by adding two numbers and seeing who has the larger number:
or by multiplying two numbers and seeing who wins the battle with the larger number:
If you have a preschooler, you can also play math war. Simply lay out one card per player and have the child determine which number is greater.
Ages 4-8: You and the kids can play a place value game — to see which player comes up with the largest number (there are two cards in the packet):
Another game for kids learning to add is Make 10 (or 7 or 18…)
Age 2-4: If you have a toddler or a preschooler you can also print out two sets of number cards, cut them up, lay them all out spread out face down on the floor and play memory finding two 3s or two 8s.
Math Spinner Game: The final game is similar to Math War above. Have each player add (or multiply) two numbers [for a younger child just choose one number]. Spin the spinner and see who won!
You can download this free set of Christmas math cards and the games above by clicking on the link or the picture below:
Free Christmas Number Cards and Math Games (13 pages total)
If you found this helpful, I would love to hear from you over at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page. Hearing from readers is what makes sharing worthwhile!
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Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Last fall (a year ago), LD did a unit on geometry. He needed some basic review of some of the things he learned — so I put together a small review pack for him. I’ll share it here for anyone who might find it useful.
You can download the free Geometry Review Packet here: There are 6 pages, plus the answers.
Last week I talked about how we’re trying to make math time more challenging, engaging and meaningful. I explained how we’ve added in Math Circle time (math questions, challenges and riddles–read more in this post-Math Should Never Be Boring: More Math Riddles-and the wonderful book we’re using for that!). But I also mentioned that we’re trying out a couple of other books as well.
LD has also started using Challenge Math. I love the sentence on the front cover: “Math is often taught as all scales and no music. This book contains all the music!” Since LD only started the first chapter I’m not ready to do much a review, but so far LD really likes it a lot — and has figured out the circumference of the Earth and how long it takes light to reach earth from the sun! It’s a neat book so far (for upper elementary/middle school). I’ll try to add in another review in another month or so, once he’s worked through more of the book, but so far so good.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Yesterday, I mentioned that we’ve added a new portion to our math day. For much of the fall, the kids were simply doing math problems from their math book and they were complaining that math was B*O*R*I*N*G. What? Oh NO!! It was true, though, with everything else going on they were doing straight-forward stuff; you know fraction problems like this…
or long division… or a good meaty problem like 5789 x 673… but honestly I could understand the kids’ complaints. There’s so much more to math than the plain old arithmetic from their books! We really needed to make sure that math was relevant, engaging, challenging and even a bit fun!
As you probably know, the American students rank 25th in math among the 49 industrialized nations that were involved in the study. Here’s a question from the 4th grade test:
From: The Nation’s Report Card
This kind of question definitely goes beyond straight arithmetic, right?!!
As I started looking around, I read about something called Math Circles and saw collections of Math Circle problems. I was intrigued… just what was that? There’s a tradition in Russia of hosting math contests where students compete to answer various word problems. The contest itself was designed to get students intrigued and excited about mathematics. There’s something similar here in the US called the Math Olympiad.
I started looking into some of books on Amazon and decided this “math circle” approach really might be a good fit for our homeschool. The math riddles I shared just a couple of days ago are examples of the types of questions that get kids thinking. I’ll share the answers to the brain-teasers I asked:
The questions from the other day were… 1) Three matchsticks are laid out like in the picture below. Moving just two matchsticks, make six. 2) 8 matchsticks are laid out to look like a fish swimming to the left. Moving just three matchsticks, make the fish swim to the right:
Did you get the first solution for the first challenge (III)? My husband got it right away! And my 8 year old wondered if the solution was XI… That got my son thinking — and they figured out the answer (they said IV first, but when I told them that was 4 they quickly figured out VI is six).
For the fish puzzle, the picture on the left shows which match sticks to move, the picture on the right shows the final solution:
These are the types of questions you’ll find in Mathematical Circle Diaries. This is one of several books I bought recently and the kids absolutely LOVE the questions and challenges in this book!! It’s quite challenging for both my 8 year old and 10 year old, but they BEG for more math time!!! I love that!
I also searched the internet for some math puzzles and we’ve worked through this set of problems as well. My kids really enjoyed these — and maybe you can challenge your kids to answer these over the Thanksgiving break!! The answers are available if you click on the picture below.
Download and print the Math Riddles Page:
We’ve been using a couple other math books to add a new challenging, fun dimension to our homeschool, but I want to use them with the kids a bit more before talking about them here on the blog.
If you have any great suggestions of math resources that go beyond the traditional math book, I’d love to hear from you over on my Homeschool Den Facebook Page! The kids will be grateful too!!
You may be interested in reading the Harvard Study: Achievement Growth: International and State Trends in Student Growth which explains how math scores are improving in the US and internationally.
You might also be interested in the Nation’s Report Card: 2013 which shows the progress US 4th and 8th graders are making in Math and Reading.
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Monday, November 25th, 2013
Here’s a math puzzle for your and your kids. Three match sticks are laid out in front of you. Moving just two match sticks, make six. I’ll share the answer in another day or so and explain why I’m asking!!
There’s another puzzle over at my Homeschool Den Facebook page if you like this sort of challenge!
Later: The solution is here at More Math Brain-Teasers (Free Printable) plus there’s a long post about how we’ve changed our math time to be more engaging, challenging and fun.
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Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost here?! Here is another set of Thanksgiving-themed math sheets I made for my Kindergartner. She is starting to work on number families and continues to work on very basic addition.
If you are interested you can download the free Thanksgiving Number Family and Basic Addition Sheets here. It is 7 pages; Make 6 through Make 10 pages and two turkey-feather addition matching sheets.
We’ll be using Number Family Gameboards by Kathy Gursky at the School Bell (such as Make 6, Make 7, Make 8 etc.) after the Thanksgiving holiday to reinforce the number families:
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