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A few serendipitous activities

We had a few math activities that came up more naturally this week.

Symmetrical drawing

Grab two pieces of chalk and put one in each hand. Draw a heart using both hands/arms at the same time (one hand is doing one side of the heart while the other hand does the other side at the same time). What other symmetrical picture can you draw?

Estimating clovers

Lots of clover flowers have been blooming in the grass. When Bel remarked “there are hundreds! Thousands!”, I asked her whether she thought it was closer to a hundred or a thousand. She started to count (!), so I saved her and said she didn’t need to count all of them. After pausing, she said it was thousands because it does not look like a hundred.

I showed her how to estimate a small rectangular section by counting how many where on each side and multiplying. Then estimating (again) how many of these rectangles cover the field.

Note: It is very important in math that kids can eyeball and estimate how much there is of something, work with approximate numbers and figure out whether they have an overestimate or underestimate. It gives them a lot of common sense using and manipulating numbers.

More measuring

It also has been very hot here lately. Bel and Nia asked to do the measuring activity again, probably because they wanted to play with water. Nia tested which one out of a pair hold the most water. Bel was trying to measure how much a container holds using a measuring cup.

It always amazes me how much entertainment they get out of two buckets of water and a few plastic containers. Then they invented a sort of “video game” where Nia was at the bottom of the driveway and had to avoid wet spots while Bel was at the top throwing cups of water down the driveway.


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