Living Math with Your Kids

Reluctant math learner?

5 tips to get your reluctant learner excited about math (3)

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Include Your Kids In Your Chores & Show Them How Math is All Around Them

You can incorporate math into your everyday activities.  You can help math to come “alive” for your kids by just including them as you do daily chores or run errands.  You don’t have to have a lesson plan to do math with you kids.  Live math with your kids!

Recently, I decided to cook spaghetti for lunch.  I called my oldest two kids into the kitchen to explain to them that the higher numbers meant the temperature was hotter.  I decided to look on the back of the spaghetti sauce jar, and we all know there’s LOTS of math on the back of a product as it explains how many grams of this are in it and what percentage of your daily this is in it.

Lunch Turned into a Math Lesson

I saw that a serving of spaghetti sauce was 1/2 cup.  So then I took out 1/2 cup measuring cup, and explained to the children that this was how much it was recommended that a “normal” person should eat in a setting.  I fixed my son’s spaghetti, and I used the 1/2 cup to measure out spaghetti sauce for him.  I noticed that this was too much spaghetti sauce for him, so I told him we needed less sauce for him.  That led to me pulling out the 1/3 cup.  So he then was able to visually see that 1/2 was less than 1/3.  I took the opportunity to ask him, which was more the 1/2 cup or the 1/3 cup.  He’s only in the first grade, but moments like these are great opportunities to visually have him compare fractions.

Living Math: Turn Lunch into a Cool Math LessonI ended up asking questions such as how many 1/3 cups does it take to make 1 cup.  My son wanted to know how many 1/20 cups does it take to make a cup.  It is natural for your kids to start to ask questions, and that’s great!

How Talk of a Pound Cake Turned into a Math Lesson

At some point, the conversation turned to a pound cake (I can’t quite remember how that happened…lol.  It may have started with my son asking about a cake for his upcoming birthday.)  Anyway, we then went to look up why a pound cake is called a pound cake.   It turns out that a pound cake is called a pound cake because the recipe called for a pound of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.  So then we ended up going back to the kitchen, as I wanted to visually show the kids what a pound of butter or flour looked like.  We took out the butter, and I showed them how it is measured in tablespoons, cups and ounces.  We talked about how 16 ounces equals 1 pound.  We then were able to talk about how we  needed 4 sticks of butter to equal 1 pound since each stick of butter was 4 ounces.  I talked about abbreviations for ounces and pounds (oz and lb) and let me son practice reading things such as net wt. 24 oz.  My flour contained 80 ounces, so I asked my daughter to do 80 divided by 16 to figure out how  many pounds were in the flour bag.  All that talk about pounds cakes, and my son was READY to make one right then…lol.

Living Math: Turn Lunch into a Cool Math Lesson

So even if you think, you don’t have time to fit ANY extra math or STEM activities into your already busy day, you can do just that by doing living math activities with your kids.  Slow down a bit and try to include you kids more into everyday household chores.  Live math with your kids and help to answer that age old question of “How will I use math in REAL life?”

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