Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Math At The Pumpkin Patch

To give a bit more perspective on how math happens around here at the Pumpkin Patch I journaled another week of math for you. This week is extremely different from last week as very little was intentional due to prior obligations, meetings, and sickness..

Today was slow getting going, and we started our day with math games. Morgan and I played 3 rounds of What’s The Difference? followed by 3 rounds of Sum It Up? I was happy with the results that he had no trouble doing the math facts with borrowing and carrying. He did state, with our last round, that he was getting confused, but after a few questions the bottom line was that he kept forgetting if he was trying to make a BIG number of a SMALL number.

I then set him up with math fact practice over at He asked me last week if he could play the games there again, and I was keen to see how much speedier he’d be then last time. He was delighted to come in first place against the computer with each of the games he chose.
Jayden wanted desperately to have his own special game that required card flipping and writing out math facts so he devised his own. Every two cards that were flipped over for our game he’d run to the white board and write out a math fact for them. It was could practice for him to write out a full math fact; it also showed me that he needs a wee bit of work there. While he got all the correct answers he put an equal sign under each number and the math sign by the top number instead of the bottom number.
While Morgan does math fact practice on the computer Jayden and I play 10’s Concentration. This is one of Jayden’s favorite games and whenever I let them choose the game we’ll play this is all most always the game Jayden picks. He was so excited when I suggested it.
After dealing out the cards and playing for 5 minutes I realized we’ve been turning over the same numbers with no match. I suggest we leave all cards up so we can figure out what’s going on. It turns out we’re missing quite a few cards which spoiled the game. Jayden wanders off to watch Morgan while I locate missing cards and lament the fact that someone didn’t put the rubber band around them properly to start with. (Quite possibly me!)
Jayden decides he’s like to try the math fact practice game on the computer too so I pull up a new game (since our last visit) where we can all play together. Kitty Match. I play one round alone while the boys watch so they understand how the controls work.

They find the kitten’s hideously long arms immensely funny and I’m not sure they’ve totally caught on to what we’re doing. I load up three different computers with the game and we take off.
I hear a few cries of, “MOM! You took the yarn I wanted!”  Followed by, “Oh man!” “Stop taking all the 5’s guys!” We play a few rounds before I decide to make lunch leaving the boys each playing their own game. Someone else pops into the game room Jayden’s in, but doesn’t push play on their end and messes up the game. I take two minutes to set him up with a new user name and private game room so he can resume. There’s much cheering from his corner when he finally comes in first. 

I tell the boys to finish off their games and pack it away because lunch is ready. This, for the most part, ends our math time for the day. Later, however, in the car we start singing our silly Calendar Song. 
Today is Monday, August 23.
Yesterday was Sunday
Tomorrow will be Tuesday
Hip-hip hooray, what a day!
We use to sing it daily when the boys were younger, but rarely do so now. The boys each have their own calendar (thanks to the surplus we seem to obtain each year) and mark the days off as we go along. They circle days where they feel special things are happening. They do this, daily,  on their own with no guidance or suggestions from me.
The boys also decide to use the play money this afternoon. Morgan sets up a marble maze and Jayden has to pay a “fee” to watch it work. While there’s no exact fee that must be given, they start discussing what the coins in the basket are. 
Today things are more haphazard. I’ve been hit with a cold and we have a rental inspection this week. While rental inspections are standard ever so many months in Australia I still panic each time one arises and spend an abnormal amount of time cleaning stuff that Mr S says is all ready clean. 
Morgan & Jayden play a few rounds of Arcademic skill builders. They play various games working on subtraction and addition. Morgan asks if I’ll play Kaching with him, a multiplication game. I agree but we decide to have lunch first. We both completely forget about the game after lunch however. 
Jayden asks Mr S to play Snakes & Ladders with him before bedtime. This is a Thomas version I purchased a while back when Jayden was first learning his numbers. Remember how the old game use to go to 100? The new games don’t and I was very disappointed in that.

The whole reason I’d purchased the game was to help the boys become familiar not only with their numbers but in using numbers from 1 - 100 forward and backwards. The new games only seem to go to 60, which is nice, but not what I’d been hoping for.
Regardless there’s a battle between Thomas, Darth Vader, and Percy happening on the board as trains, and a lone lego figure, work their way up and down the board. Thanks to board games like that not only have the boys become familiar with numbers but it also helps them visualize things like 6 more then, let’s say 25, is 31.
This game, however, reminds us that we never played Kaching and Morgan and I are both disappointed. We love the game, and it’s a neat way for Morgan to work on basic multiplication facts, not to mention a simplistic way to explain the stock market. We agree that we absolutely must play the game this week, but there’s no time this evening as it’s all ready well past the boys bedtime.
Today is even more hectic then the day before. We also happen to be hosting a homeschool event with our local group tomorrow after our rental inspection. Which means I’ve been thrown into an even greater sense of urgency for finishing our weekly dusting a day early.
No formal schooling happens today between the cleaning and a cold I’m fighting, which Mr S and Morgan seem to have the beginnings of. However, after tea while the boys and I are sitting on the couch listening to Jayden read us a story Morgan starts drawing.

This is nothing unusual, Morgan lives to draw or doodle and I still have pictures he drew at the ripe old age of 2 and 4 and... When Jayden puts his book down Morgan tells us all to close our eyes while he prepares to show us his picture. I’m expecting another secret code, something he’s been doing all day.
We enjoyed another two episodes of Liberty Kids over lunch and the topic today was secret codes. Something we covered in our own studies, but never had the opportunity to apply. As I wonder if I can decode this one he tells us to open our eyes and look.
To my surprise he’s drawn a math picture. He’s drawn to complete math facts and an absurdly large and scary looking flower devouring the bigger math fact. I’m impressed he drew this for fun and tell him so.

Jayden, however, is disappointed, “What is that?” 
“It’s a math fact that’s so big the flower has decided to eat it. It’s one of those man eating flowers on Mario.”
“I don’t understand why it would eat a math fact though, I thought it preferred Mario!”
Before a fight ensues I chase them both up to bed.
Today we have our rental inspection early this morning and then we have a few local homeschoolers rolling in afterwards for game playing. The boys are super excited that other homeschoolers are coming to play, & Jayden discusses the prospects of inviting all of them to his birthday party.. You know, the one that won’t be happening until 2011.
We have people coming and going between 10:00 and 3:00 so that eliminates much of any schooling happening aside from a whole lot of socializing. Once everyone departs Morgan complains he doesn’t feel well and within a short time has a fever and seems to be coming down with the miserable cold/flu that’s currently running around town.
I offer to play Kaching with him while he rests. Because this game needs a bit of room to set up he decides to pull out an old white board and we use it as a table. We play two rounds during that time several multiplication discussions happen.

Due to our What’s The Difference? game Morgan is now aware that not all math problems can be reversed and still get the same answer. (Ie: 3+2=2+3 but 1-2 does not = 2-1)  After cashing in some oil derricks for $15 (3 groups of 5) he says, “So if I said 3 groups of 5 is 15 can I also say 5 groups of 3? It seems like I should because if I could by 5’s or 3’s I’m going to get the same answer, right? I’m not really good at counting by 3’s.”
“Yes, you’re right it is the same answer no matter which number comes first.”
I don’t bother to explain, at this point, that it would change the problem a bit. As in having too many groups (or not enough) because I don’t want to totally confuse him. He’ll figure that out as we go along, and for now I just want to answer the immediate question. Plus, no matter how you say it 3x5=5x3. 
Today there’s three of us down with the flu/cold thing and no one has much energy because of it. School is put on hold. However, I decided to make a pot of soup and Teddy Bear Bread.
I use to make Teddy Bear Bread quite often as a teen, but it dawns on me I’ve never made it with or for my children. Plus, we’re hosting one more homeschool event next week. We’ve decided to share a Five In A Row lesson with the others and the book we’re using is Another Celebrated Dancing Bear. I  am considering having bread dough on hand so each child could make their own mini loaf of Teddy Bear Bread. 
Once the dough has risen I ask the boys if they want to do something fun with me. Jayden says no, which isn’t a huge surprise. He most likely suspects I’m going to suggest he do the dishes or clean a cupboard. Morgan however comes running into the kitchen.

I divide the dough into 8ths and then show him how to make a teddy bear from it. This brings up the topic of fractions because we cut the dough into 8ths again. However, we talk more about halves, sixths,  and quarters due to the sizes we’ve broken our dough into and how we need to use it.
It is a completely impromptu lesson and not planned and eventually we both become engrossed in raisin eyes and dough blobs. Jayden, still completely uninterested (he’s not a clay/playdough kinda person lately either) decides to give advise and eventually claim one of the bears as his own (the biggest of course.) While the bears bake Morgan asks Mr S (also home sick) to play KaChing with him. 

Later, I decide to make some oatmeal cookies for the boys. I make a double batch and while I’m swapping trays in and out of the oven Jayden and I decide to play hang-man. This is more about spelling and reading then math, but there is some counting involved. I make the first puzzle and Jayden solves it just before my ugly cartoon character gains his last arm.
Then Jayden takes a turn. I suggest he also pick a word off our word wall for the puzzle. “That way you can just slip the card in your pocket incase you need help remembering how to spell it when I guess letters, okay?”
“Okay!”  Within a few minutes he’s made his selection, verified that no one peeked and he sets up the game board. There is exactly one _ on the board. I try not to snicker as I call out, “A.” He gawks, “How did you know?”
So we discuss probability, but in terms much easier to understand. I point out that by putting only one dash on the board I know that it must be either A or I because those are the only one letter words on the wall. Then I point out how many more 2, 3, 4, and even 5 letter words we have.
I offer to let him go again and he chooses a 5 letter word. I am inches away from being hung (or at least the lego man he’s drawing is) when Mr S intervenes and shouts out, “F!”  I then realized Jayden has spelled Funny. He’s happy with the results this time so Morgan has a go.
Morgan sets up the board like this:
_ _ _ _ _
_ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _
I wait patiently while he debates what he’s going to hang. He settles on a pinecone. I’d laugh, but seriously people he has issues with “hanging” anything someone might love. Not that we have problems with pinecones in this house, but he figured no one would be offended.. That, and it was the first thing he saw when he looked out the window.
He then announces that he’s ready. I pull a tray of cookies out of the oven turn around and look at the board and say, “Leroy and Stitch.” I win in my first guess and he’s most put out. Jayden tries to explain the chances of probability to him, but Morgan disagrees. After all he had 3 words so he doesn’t feel Jayden’s theory holds up.
I hand out fresh cookies and then pick up the dvd cover off the kitchen table. The boys are oblivious, but Mr S needs a few good thwaps on the back to dislodge the raisin he choked on while laughing.
Notes:  I’d like to say this wasn’t a typical week of math or schooling in our home, and in many ways that’s true. We usually have some form of plans and don’t often participate in things each week that take away from our morning lesson time. However, much of our learning happens in unusual ways or spur of the moment type conversations.

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

I love, love, love to read your math posts. Thanks for taking the time to write them.