Category Archives: Math

Time Out for Math!

'Tis Math...

For some reason or another, Malachy has started to really get into numbers again.  Oddly enough, he’s also been loving the idea of winning.  We had tried one lesson with the abacus last summer, but because I wasn’t comfortable enough with teaching and practicing with him, we let it slide… 🙁

So, how did I feed his latest “ambition?”  I found out through Twitter that McGraw-Hill was giving away their Math apps for free from April 13-17 via iTunes, because it was the week of the National Council of Teachers Mathematics conference.  One of the apps he really liked was the Everyday Mathematics Baseball Multiplication 1-6 Facts: Multiplication game.  Of course, I had to immediately tell him that multiplying was not the same as addition, but in order to solve the problems, he could use his adding skills (using his fingers 😉 ) to figure out the problems.  So, when he saw 3×2, I told him it meant 3 groups of 2 or 2 groups of 3.  He would then use his fingers, starting with 2 fingers, adding 2, and adding 2 more, or starting with 3 fingers and adding another group of 3 fingers.  “Is it 6?” he asked.  “Yup,” I would reply.  I told him anything times two just meant doubling the number.  Of course, when it was 6×8, I spared him from using his fingers and toes and just gave him the answer… for now. 😉

It was amazing watching him trying to figure out 3×4, or 4×4, etc.  Somehow, he taught himself that when he went over 10 fingers, putting the additional fingers would give him 11, 12, etc.  Then again, it might have been my brother-in-law, his fiancee, Shien, my dad, or my in-laws.  I’m going to have to verify with them.  All I know is that it wasn’t me! 😉  The more he played and practice, the easier it became for him, although he would try to verify with me every time before submitting his answer, except for the ones he knew for sure.

Tonight, I decided to do a little experiment, just to see what he would do.  It was one of those, “I WISH I RECORDED IT!” moments, right after.  Arghhh.  I divided the paper in half, and wrote the doubles on one side and the two-times tables on the other side.  Then, I handed it over to him and asked him to complete it.  As he started it, he said things like, “Dad, both sides are the same!” and “Dad, it’s just counting by 2s!”  In no time, he completed both sides, sometimes going across, and sometimes going down.  When he got to 7+7, he thought a moment, and then realized it would be just 2 more from 6+6.  WOW!!!  I don’t think I figured this stuff out until the third grade, because that’s when I was first introduced to Multiplication!  That’s THE TRUTH!

This just proves that if we take our kids from where they’re at, and let them play and practice with things they are passionate and excited about, the sky is the limit. 😉