Monday, April 7, 2008

Heading out to NCTM

I am on a plane right now…heading out to NCTM, National Conference for Teachers of Mathematics. My lens is always to look at curriculum and see ways technology is being used to enhance education. I also go with the lens as a mom. What would make Math fun for Andrew. Andrew’s forte in school is Math. You can dish it to him in the simplest of ways, workbooks, and he will eat it up, or you can present it digitally, like Cyberchase and he’ll still eat it up. Here is the difference though, what does a workbook provide in giving math real world meaning? Cyberchase is a favorite site of mine for several reasons:

  1. Sponsored and created by Channel 13…enough said

  2. Provides real world scenarios for math and child work through possible solutions to find an answer that makes sense

  3. Provides the digital gaming feel which is attractive to students in the 21st century

  4. Is free

  5. Sponsored and created by Channel 13…enough said

Being able to solve math equations is important but what good is it if you can’t apply it to life. As parents it is important to demonstrate on a day to day basis where math fits into our lives and important it really is. Here a re a few ways Andrew and I have math conversations seamlessly throughout the day and believe it or not, its painless, they don’t know whats happening and they certainly don’t realize that they are computing.

Fuel…$3.50 a gallon (and rising), talk about what it was yesterday, what will it be tomorrow, in one week, in one month at the increase of 1 cent/gallon. Don’t forget to point out the fuel tank and show empty as equaling zero to half full tp ¾ full to full.
“Go weigh this for me” This is my command at the supermarket. Andrew grabs the fruit or the vegetables and runs over to the scale, drops them down and waits patiently for the needle to stop move and announces “3 pounds plus a little” That’s code for over 3 pounds but not near 4 pounds. If it was closer to 4 pounds, Andrew’s answer would be “almost 4 pounds” Sometimes he will add an extra orange or apple to make it 4 even.
“Time check!” This is my shout out in the morning. While I am rushing around the place to do my hair, make-up, last minute emails, my son acts as the time keeper. He yells back 6:53, 7 more minutes till lift off. Then a few minutes later I hear, 2 minutes till lift off, then I hear “it’s 7:00 mommy time to go.” I have come to rely on Andrew’s timekeeping skills. He helps me with my time management in morning…sad but true.
Coupons…he loves coupons, loves reading the sale circulars and informing me of all the processed foods he can get for $10. This is a highlight of the food shopping excursions. “Look mommy…10 pizzas for 10 bucks” You can get 20 for 20 bucks and on and on.

These are a few examples of ways you can work math into your life skills education you provide your children. These conversations between Andrew and I are not because I have a smart child or pay extra special attention then anyone else. I work 60-70 hours a week, 6 days a week, but I make math a priority in our conversation. We all talk to our children, so why not make the conversation meaningful. Our jobs are to teach and share, and that is what our conversations are about. I would love to hear from you to see what examples you have to share about working math into your conversation with your children.

Stay tuned till after this weekend and I will report about the new and innovative ways technology is working its way into Math.

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