Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Double Facts with Living Math

We have a lot of beanie kids in our house. They seem to multiply without much help. The boys seem to acquire them all the time. Mostly from the tooth-fairy, but they've also gotten them for Valetine's Day (see the red monster looking thing), Christmas(the blue ones with orange stitching on their tummies), birthdays (the one with the giant head there on the bottom), and everything in between! So I decided that since we needed some practice with our double facts it was time the Beanie Kids earned their keep around here. (All though I dunno, that silly one with the glasses on top.. he's a keeper just from pure funniness don'tcha think?) I sent the boys to gather up all the beanie kids and told them we had a fun math game to play.

Now, I'm sure this is nothing new to anyone out there, but this was simply something I came up with on a whim. Seriously. I'm good like that sometimes, but usually ideas hit while I'm in the shower, and by the time I get out and two little boys plague me with "can we do" and the big boy plagues me with "what's for lunch" I totally forget my ideas! Needless to say, when I come up with a good one I put it into action right away! So that's what we did.

I also pulled out a new deck of cards I made. Don't get too excited, I didn't whip out my craftiness and design my own deck of cards, rather I took a deck of cards, some double stick tape and my scrapbooking program (best present I was ever given, thanks Honey!) and I made up some math cards. It was really easy and super fun to make. You could also make them with modgepodge, but I wasn't patient enough to wait on things to dry.

I programed all the double facts into the program from 0+0 - 10+10. Each one of those was taped to a card. Then I also put in the answers from 0-20. I also taped those onto a deck of regular cards. If you're going to use modgepodge I'd suggest sanding the cards a bit so they can adhere well enough. As for my double-stick tape, I use the kind in a scrapbooking dispenser. A sticker maker would work too, but mine was out of sticker paper.

For our game I seperated all my double facts and all my answers, then I set my answers aside. I'd hold up an addition card and each of the boys had to run and get x amount of beanie kids. For the above card they each had to run and get 8 beanies and bring them back to the table. We then set them in lines on the table so we could count them.

Once we had them all laid out on the table I'd take one from a pile and throw it back, then the next child's pile, and back and forth as we shouted out the numbers until we had the answer to our math fact. The boys thought it was pretty amusing that Mom was tossing their toys around the floor. I also initiated a few rules before we started.

They couldn't be picky. It didn't matter who owned the beanie kid the idea was to get there and back again as quickly as you could with no pushing or fighting. Don't be choosy. It's not a race. We're just trying to figure out the answer quickly. There are a few beanie kids that are more cherished then others, and I was worried they'd squabble about them. They didn't, they were just as eager to get them back to the table!

We did this with each and every problem. We went in no particular order. I'd shuffled them up and just pulled them out as we went, taking the top card. The boys noticed several patterns as we went along, and once those patterns were realized we discussed quick ways of getting the answers we needed without having to count from 1 upward until we reached it.

This fellow was dubbed Super Math Bear and left in the window to watch over our game..

So what are those patterns? They noticed that even though the problems would go from Even to odd (if you start with zero) that the answers were all even numbers. Not just any even numbers either. They realized that the answers were just like counting by 2's. So, I explained that if they were in a big hurry to find an answer that they were struggling with they could use their fingers to count by 2's.

This was helpful for them when we played doubles concentration (that's why I really made the cards, and the idea for this came from the Ruth Beechick's Easy Start In Arithmetic). They'd flip over an answer, let's say 18, and wonder which problem they needed. If one of them knew the answer but the other didn't we decided to count by twos to help the other one out. I'd hold up one finger for each number we said. (Try it!) However many fingers were standing up would be the answer. When you count by 2's with your fingers you'll have 9 fingers up when you reach 18. That helped them see that 9+9=18.

Now, before you chide me for letting my kids use fingers for math. We'd used Beanie Kids to start with, and we also used linking cubes for a particularly harder (for some) problem. After that I showed them the finger trick in order to give them a bit of speed.

All in all, we had a lot of fun learning and practicing our double facts today. The boys saw some really fun patterns that helped things stick. When I hear Morgan say, "OH!! I get it now! I see!!" then I know I'm on the right path. In the past he's memorized those facts for the sake of knowing them, but today he saw a pattern to help etch them in his mind because he loves patterns.

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