A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Let's Do Math!
Math is a very important part of life. We use math to set an alarm clock, buy groceries, keep score or time at a game, wallpaper a room, or wrap a present. We all need math in the world of computers and electronic communication. It is important to encourage children to think of themselves as mathematicians who can reason and solve problems.
Here are some things you can do:
- Show your children that you like numbers. Play number games and think of math problems as puzzles to be solved.
- From the time your child is very young, count everything. When you empty a grocery bag, count the number of apples. Count the number of stairs to your home.
- Put things into groups. When you do laundry, separate items of clothing: all the socks in one pile, shirts in another, and pants in another. Divide the socks by color and count the number of each. Draw pictures and graphs of clothes in the laundry: 4 red socks, 10 blue socks, 12 white socks.
- Tell your children that anyone can learn math. Point out numbers in your child's life: in terms of weight (pounds and ounces), measurements involving cooking, temperature, and time.
- Help your children do math in their heads with lots of small numbers. Ask questions: "If I have 4 cups and I need 7, how many more do I need?" or "If I need 12 drinks for the class, how many packages of 3 drinks will I need?"
for young children
- Empty your grocery bag onto the kitchen table or counter and have your child group the fruits by type: apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
- Have your child count each type of fruit.
- Have your child make a graph with the fruit by putting it in rows on the table:
for beginning mathematicians
- The object of the game is to be the first player to earn a set amount (for example, 20 or 50 cents).
- Each player rolls the dice and gets the number of pennies of the number shown on the dice.
- As each player gets 5 pennies, the pennies are replaced by a nickel, and 10 pennies are replaced by a dime.
- The first player to reach the set amount wins.
for more advanced mathematicians
- Give your child the grocery section of the newspaper.
- Have your child make up a grocery list that will feed the family for a day and cost a specific amount of budgeted money.
- Have your child add up the prices of all the items.
- If the total for the groceries is too great, talk about what items could be taken away.
- Talk about the nutritional balance of the items selected. What is the ratio of sweets to vegetables?
Resources: Information was based on Helping Your Child Learn Math. For more information, please contact the National Library of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20208, telephone 1-800-424-1616.
U.S. Department of Education
Richard W. Riley
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Sharon P. Robinson
National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment
National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students
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