Friday, March 20, 2009

Bite-sized Math

You might be wondering why I am posting Bite-sized Math on a blog that has to do with stories. I am too, but I just had to share about our math experience today. Remember, there's always a story!

Today I purchased bite-sized bagel pizzas. They were the special bargain at the local discount grocery. When we opened the box, the bagel pizzas were neatly arranged 3x3 on a square plate. Ah! Math before our eyes! We quickly realized that there were 9 bagel pizzas on the tray because our minds saw the 3x3 array.

Skip ahead one hour. Tummies full, time for school! Five of us sat on the living room floor with papers and pencil in hand (and Monopoly Jr. to the side). One daughter worked on simple addition, one daughter was writing sentences, the toddler was cutting up the remains of an old workbook, and the other daughter was working with me on division. To her, on this day, the numbers were foreign symbols. We reviewed the division concept. I brought out objects. That helped some. And then it dawned on me. She was the one who recognized the 3x3 pizza bites. Ah, yes! Something, a mental picture and yummy lunch, to which she could relate.

I explained that our equations on the paper were just like the bagel bites. "If we had a tray of nine bagel pizzas and three friends, how many bagel pizzas would each friend get?" Her eyes lit up! A light bulb moment! Each equation was a pizza problem. I stated each equation in terms of pizzas and friends and the concept was again, understandable.

"We have a tray of thirty-two bagel pizzas and four friends, how many pizzas will each friend get? We have a tray of forty bagel pizzas and two friends, how many pizzas will each friend get?" When the numbers grew larger, the eyes of all the children (who had been listening and started to get the concept) looked in amazement. Twenty bagel pizzas! WOW! That is quite a lunch!

And so, the story is is full of lessons, even math lessons.

There are some fun, well-written children's books which reinforce the multiplication and division concepts. One of our favorites is The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins, however the library is full of fun math books, waiting to be tossed into your library bag. Grab a pizza. Divide it up evenly and then fall into the couch for an afternoon of read-aloud!

Sea Squares by Joy N. Hume

How Many Feet, How Many Tales? by Marilyn Burns

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Multiplication Book by Jerry Pallotta

Looking for more yummy math lessons? Check out my NEW book Flip Three Pancakes With One Spatula! It's packed with ways to prepare a meal or snack with your child and suggests books related to the recipe. A great way to prepare a meal, learn math and spend some quiet moments in a book.

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