Family Math Fun - Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Inc.

Family Math Fun - Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Inc.
Kate Nonesuch
Art on the cover and on page 2
Harold Joe, Sr.
Design Bobbie Cann and Christina Taylor
Copy editor
Ros Penty
Manual for the project “Parents Teach Math: A Family Literacy Approach,”
funded by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada.
Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus
222 Cowichan Way
Duncan, BC V9L 6P4
2008
Copyright Notice
We have made every effort to ensure that the songs and rhymes in Activity 1 are
in the public domain. If an inadvertent breach of copyright has been made, please
notify us and we will correct any omission in future editions.
Art on the cover and on page 2 © Harold Joe, Sr.
All other art © Bobbie Cann and Christina Taylor
Text © Kate Nonesuch
This manual may be downloaded and/or photocopied for educational use, but not for
sale or any other commercial purpose. It is available at www.nald.ca.
Family Math Fun
Acknowledgements
Many parents, grandparents, and big brothers and sisters in the Cowichan Valley
tested the activities in this manual. Many of them met with me a couple of times
a week for many weeks. They thought about kids and math, and observed the kids
in their lives between meetings. I thank them for showing me what worked and
what did not, and for talking to me about their kids and their own math histories. I
appreciate the generous gift of their time and their enthusiasm. This manual could
not have been done without them. Here are their names:
A.B. Chantyman
Keith Derell Harry
Amanda Whitefield
Levi Jones
Anonymous
Lucy Thomas
April Dawn Murphy
Lyla Harman
Arlene Jim
Marcia A.
Caroline Canute
Maureen Martin
Cher Francis
P.J.
David Sillseemult, Sr.
Rebecca Murphy
Donna Gower
Sabrina Tommy
Elizabeth Wolfe
Shannon Kierstead
Esther-Lynn Amanda
Sharon Tommy
Francisco Ramirez
Sheryl Sullivan
Glen Harry
Tanya Leslie
Heather Strong
Zerena Caplin
Harold Joe Sr., respected carver and elder of the Cowichan Tribes, has taught me
many things about life and his traditions. He generously shared his wisdom about
the medicine wheel, and chose the beaver to represent the work in this manual.
Family Math Fun
Cora Jimmy and her children, Logan, Charmaine and Akasha, and Delia Williams
and her children, Diana and Henry, helped the artists by posing for photos and
videos.
Many people and organizations in the community supported this project by writing
letters, recruiting participants, providing meeting space, and giving encouragement:
At Cowichan Family Life, Beverly Stretch
At Cowichan Tribes Youth Program, Cherie White
At Cowichan Women Against Violence Society, Theresa Gerritsen and Kathy
Skovgaard
At Growing Together Child and Parent Society, Mary Dolan
At Hiiye’yu Lelum (The House of Friendship) Society, Debbie Williams and Mark
Turner
At Vancouver Island University, Vicki Noonan, Evelyn Battell, Nora D Randall,
Joanna Lord, Leslie Joy, Jackie Agostinis, and Eileen Edmunds
At Margaret Moss Health Clinic, Rhoda Taylor
At Ya Thuy Thut Training Program, Claudia Roland
In Victoria, Marsha Arbour and Marilyn Fuchs
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The Beaver
Harold Joe, Sr., from Somena on Vancouver Island, made the art on the cover.
He chose the beaver because the beaver is a hard worker that never stops caring for
the lodge and the family. When the pups are young, the parents start to teach them.
The pups learn to be beavers—a way of living and working. Beavers take good care
of their cubs, and are good teachers. The beaver stands for family togetherness.
The beaver uses determination and creativity to build houses and dams. It can do
things that we would use math to figure out, such as: How many trees will it take
to build the dam? How thick will the walls need to be to stand up to the water
pressure? How can we build a roof that doesn’t cave in?
The old people learned how to build houses by looking at beaver lodges. Harold says,
“We learn from every animal. We honour every animal.”
The circle in the design stands for the life of the present and a connection to the
beyond. Voices heard from the elders are passed along.
The hanging feathers stand for each reservation of the Cowichan Tribes: Somena,
Koksilah, Quamichan, Comiaken, Khenipsem, Clem Clem, and Tl’ulpalus.
The colours also have a meaning: red stands for strength, black stands for
protection, and green stands for peace.
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Table of Contents
Introduction 1
Three Audiences
People Who Care for Children
People Who Work with Parents
Adult Basic Education Instructors
A Math Kit for Parents
Songs and Rhymes 12
Activity 1: Learn a Rhyme or Song
2
3
7
9
11
12
Math at Home 18
Activity 2: How Much Does It Hold? Activity 3: Numbers That Name Things
Activity 4: Learning the Numbers
Activity 5: Make a Counting Book
Activity 6: Laundry: The Math of Sets
Activity 7: Braiding
Activity 8: Buying Groceries
Activity 9: Kitchen Chores
Activity 10: Making Cookies
Activity 11: Telling Time
Activity 12: Calendars
Activity 13: Money
Activity 14: Measuring
Math in Nature 47
Activity 15: Take a Nature Walk
Activity 16: How Long Is a Day?
Activity 17: Plant a Seed
Activity 18: How Does the Moon
Change its Shape?
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25
29
31
34
36
36
39
42
44
47
49
51
52
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Table of Contents
Playing with Shapes 54
Activity 19: Hunt for Shapes
Activity 20: Make a Picture
Activity 21: Make a Memory Game
Activity 22: Pull a Pair
Things to Make 60
Activity 23: Make a Collection
Activity 24: Making Boxes
Activity 25: Sidewalk Chalk
Activity 26: Play Dough
Card Games 71
Activity 27: Memory Game
Activity 28: Learning the Deck
Activity 29: No Way!
Activity 30: Tens
Activity 31: Roll Them and Win!
Activity 32: Rumoli
School Math 82
Activity 33: A Big Number Walk
Activity 34: The Language of Numbers
Activity 35: Addition Facts: Sums of 10
Activity 36: Addition Facts: Hidden Doubles
Activity 37: Addition Facts: Nearly Double
Activity 38: Numbers Up and Down
Activity 39: Double, Double...
Activity 40: Two Times Table
Activity 41: Four Times Table
Activity 42: Nine Times Table
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55
56
60
61
67
69
71
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74
76
77
79
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85
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Table of Contents
Appendix A: Making a Book 99
Appendix B: Books 101
Card Games
Counting Books
Shapes
Homework
Other Math Ideas
Appendix C: Online links 105
Beading
Big Numbers
Charts and Graphs
Games
Models and Demonstrations
Number Operations (Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide)
Origami
Per Cents
Rhymes and Songs
Telling Time
Appendix D: DVDs and Videos 108
Pre-school Children
Kindergarten to about Grade 3
Grade 4 and Up
For Teachers and Parents
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Introduction
We are all born with a learning spirit, and when we love and care for children, we
want to keep their learning spirits alive and well. The activities in this book are
designed for families to do together. All the activities will help children learn to
think about numbers and shapes and patterns—that is, they will learn to do “math
thinking.” But besides the mind, the activities involve the spirit, heart, and body.
Spirit: We want to nourish the learning spirit, so that children become aware of
themselves as learners. Activities such as counting out plates for dinner help kids
feel that they belong to the family and contribute to family life. They develop a
sense of themselves as people who can solve problems. Looking at shapes, numbers,
and patterns in nature makes them aware of the beauty and order that surround
them.
Heart: When adults do these activities with children, the children feel loved. When
the children are successful at the activities, they feel confident and happy to take
on another challenge. When the activities contribute to family life, children feel
responsible, and proud of their ability to take part.
Body: The activities here all involve doing something. It is not enough to think
about things. When you do something in the real world, there is usually a reaction—
someone or something does something back. The reaction teaches you something,
and you may begin to think in a different way because of it. Sometimes we can’t
think of what to do, but something says, “Just try this…” and we do, and it works.
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Introduction
Mind
Body
Spirit
Heart
The Teachers of Gifts by Harold Joe, Sr.
Mind: When we think of math, we often think of school math, but children begin to
notice and think about numbers from the time they are born. The activities in this
book all involve math thinking without worksheets or tests. Making a collection,
taking a bath, making a box, braiding your hair, making art—if you do any of these
things, you are thinking mathematically.
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Introduction
Spirit, heart, body, and mind are all connected in our lives, and they are
connected in the activities in this book. Math is not “all in the head.” When we keep
it only in the head, we are out of balance, and cannot do it well. When we balance
the spirit, heart, body, and mind, math becomes part of our whole lives, and is not a
beast or a barrier.
Three Audiences
This book has three audiences: (1) parents, childcare workers, pre-school teachers,
and elementary school teachers—people who work directly with children; (2)
facilitators of parenting groups, strong start programs, and family literacy
programs—people who work with parents and children together; and (3) Adult
Basic Education instructors and tutors who teach basic math to adults. The
following sections speak directly to each of these three audiences about how to use
the activities in this book.
People Who Care for Children
This book is for people who want to help little kids get ready for school math. It is
for people who want to help school kids get better at math, and feel better about it.
This book is for parents, grandparents, and foster parents; for people who babysit
or do day care; and for teachers. It is for anyone who spends time with kids. Maybe
this book is for you!
How can I help?
Maybe you were not good at math yourself. Maybe you hate math, and try not to do
any! Yet you see a kid you care about having the same troubles that you had, and
you worry.
Maybe you always liked math, and were good at math at school. You want to make
sure that your kids have the same good time with math.
Maybe you weren’t good at math in school, but you figured out on your own how to
do the math you need in your life. Maybe you are proud of the way you figured it
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Introduction
out, or maybe you worry that your way is not good enough.
Whatever you know about math, and however you feel about it, you can help the
kids in your life get ready for math, and get better at it. This book will show you
some ways to help.
Play is important
You don’t need to become a school teacher to help your kids with math. Kids who
are in school already have a teacher. That is not your job. You can help by talking
and using numbers when the kids are around, inviting your child into activities you
do that use numbers, and encouraging thinking and talking about the world around
us. You can help connect the math we do every day with school math.
Little kids don’t need a teacher. They need to play. When they play they learn. You
can help by encouraging them to play. You can help by following their play where
they want it to go, not by leading it where you want it to go.
Give them lots of things to play with
These things don’t have to cost much. A few plastic tubs from margarine or chip dip
in the bath tub can teach kids a lot about bigger and smaller, and about how much
different shapes can hold.
Let them sit and watch an ant hill for as long as they want. There will be chances
to count ants, to notice that some are bigger or smaller, to notice that some are
different colours, and to notice which way they go and how fast or slow they move—
many patterns, many things are different, many things are the same. Noticing and
finding patterns are math skills.
If your kid isn’t interested in ants, but likes beads, the same kind of math thinking
can be done with beads—sorting, counting, noticing, finding patterns. You can
follow the kid’s interests, and help learning by asking questions such as: How
many? How many big ones? How many red ones? What patterns do you see?
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Keep it real
Let your kids in on the things you do that use numbers. Let him put a plate on the
table for every person. Let him put out the forks to match the plates. Let him pay
for things himself, and get the change. Take the time to let him take part in real
life.
When things are real, they matter
Kids can count to put the forks on the table, or they can count to put stickers in a
book. The counting is the same, but the feeling is different. Making sure that there
is a fork for everyone in the family is more important than putting stickers in a
book, and your child knows that. Let him be proud to help and to be a part of the
family.
When things are real, you know when you get it right
When a kid is counting out forks for dinner, it’s easy for her to see when she gets
it right or wrong. When she sees that everyone has a fork, she knows she counted
well. If someone doesn’t have a fork, she knows she made a mistake, and can fix it
easily by going to get another fork. If she makes a mistake in a workbook, she can’t
tell if she’s right or wrong; if you tell her she’s wrong, there is no reason to fix it.
Let them make mistakes
When kids are learning to talk, they make lots of mistakes, and no one cares. A
3-year-old child will say “pusketty” instead of spaghetti for a long time, and no one
gets worried. Most people think it is cute. Some parents start to say “pusketty” too,
just to keep the kid company. Some parents are careful to say it correctly so the
kid hears it the right way many times. After a while, some parents help the child
to say it correctly; other parents just wait until the kid grows enough to be able to
say the “sp” sound. But everyone agrees it’s normal to make mistakes when you are
learning to talk.
In the same way, when a kid is learning to count, he will make lots of mistakes.
Sometimes he starts at 5 instead of 1. Sometimes he counts the same thing twice;
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Introduction
sometimes he misses one thing; sometimes he gets the numbers in the wrong order.
All this is normal, so don’t worry about it. You don’t have to correct him. Be glad
that he thinks counting is fun.
How a child learns to use math
Math is a tool we can use to solve all kinds of problems. How many hot dogs should
we cook for a crowd? When should I leave home to get to school on time? What is the
best way to arrange things in my closet?
You want your kid to learn how to use math as a tool. You want your kid to be able
to solve some problems for herself. Four steps will help your kids learn to use math
to solve problems: notice, think, do, talk.
Notice
Kids are born to pay attention to what goes on
around them. That’s the way they learn. Sometimes
kids learn to shut down, and then it’s hard for them
to learn new things.
How can you encourage your child to notice what’s
going on? Pay attention to whatever he pays
attention to. Show you are interested by smiling or
asking a question. Tell him that you have noticed the same thing, or that you have
noticed something else.
Think
A child will think about things she notices. Why is it
different today than yesterday? Why won’t the door
close? How did that happen? Where did it go? When
will it all change?
How can you encourage your child to think? Give her
lots of chances to see and hear and play in different
places and with different people. Don’t give her all
the answers—let her think and come up with her own answers.
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Introduction
Do
A child has to do something besides thinking to solve a
problem. He has to decide what to do, and then he has to
do it and see what happens.
Then more noticing and thinking goes on. Did it work the
way he wanted? Is he on the right track? Did he solve the
problem?
How can you encourage your child to do something about
a problem?
First, find him a safe place to play, so he can move and
take things apart and put them together without hurting
himself. Then let him do it. Notice what he is doing. Use
your words to talk about what you see him doing. Don’t tell him what to do, just
notice the directions he’s going in.
Talk
When your child talks about what she has done
to solve the problem, it gives her words to help
her think some more. It gives her words to help
her remember. It gives her words to help her
understand.
How can you encourage your child to talk?
The most important thing you can do is listen.
Activities to do with kids
You will find lots of things to do with your kids in the pages that follow. You know
what your kids like to do. Pick some activities that you think you can have fun with,
and that your kids will like to do. You can do them in any order.
The activities start on page 12.
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Introduction
Books, DVD’s and websites
The lists start on page 101. Have fun reading, playing games and watching the
DVD’s with your kids.
People Who Work with Parents
If you work with parents who want to help their kids succeed in school, you can
use the activities in this manual with your group. The goal of the activities is to
help parents nurture their children’s math thinking and working, and to develop
children who love math, who can solve problems in daily life by using numbers,
patterns, and shapes, and who are confident in their abilities and proud of their
contributions to family life.
Aboriginal parents made up the majority of people who tested the activities, and the
manual was designed to include them and their children.
You can use the activities in any order. The activities are grouped in themes to
make it easy to find material to interest the group you are working with. Each
activity has variations to take into account different levels of math skill and other
abilities.
Instructions and supporting materials for parents are written in plain English so
that even those parents who may not read or speak English well can use them.
There are three kinds of material for parents here:
1. The material in the preceding section of this introduction.
2. The supporting material and directions for doing the activities that make up the
main body of this manual. You can decide how much, if any, of this material to
make available to the parents in your group.
3. The material designed for parents to take home after a group session. This may
be a pattern for building something or a game board or score sheet for the game
they have learned in the group, or a full-page poster designed to go on the fridge
to remind parents of the highlights of the session.
Working with parents who hate math
Many parents do not have good math skills and/or do not feel confident about their
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Introduction
skills. They are often reluctant to come to a “math group,” so it may be better to
include some of these activities as literacy activities, then talk about how they are
designed to teach math, too. When parents are comfortable with that, begin to use
the label “math activities” if you like.
Set up a safe, supportive atmosphere where there is no “right” answer. In the
groups that tested these activities, many parents commented on the importance of
seeing that there were many ways to do something, many ways to get an “answer.”
Knowing that took away the stress they usually felt about math.
Parents need time to do the activities themselves before they work with their
children. They need time to figure out what to do so they can be confident about
the procedure when they work with their kids. They need time to enjoy doing the
activity so they can appreciate their child’s pleasure in it; they need to be surprised
themselves by how things turn out so they can be motivated to let their kids
discover the surprise.
As you work with parents and children on these activities, you can model confidence
building and “scaffolding” of skills. Two concepts are behind all of the activities
included here. First, every parent and child can find a way to do the activities that
is right for them. When the parent and child find their way to a successful outcome,
it builds their confidence to do it again in another situation. Parents begin to see
how they can work with the child to increase the child’s self-confidence, not by
praise but by the child’s own sense of accomplishment.
Second, parents support their child’s learning by building a scaffold to support
them as they learn new skills, which means following the child’s lead in play.
For example, the parent does not decide, “Today I’m going to teach one-to-one
correspondence of number to item.” Rather, the parent notices that, in play, the
child is sharing 5 candies out to 5 stuffed toys, or making a series of trips with a toy
truck, carrying 1 big block at a time to the other side of the rug. The parent offers a
question or a comment that helps the child notice that having 5 candies and 5 toys
mean that every toy gets 1 candy; or that moving 3 big blocks means 3 trips across
the rug.
We are “scaffolding” the child’s learning when we see that he is building a tower of
blocks that is getting shaky as it get higher, and we put our hands around the tower
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Introduction
as he puts another block on top. We are not building the tower for him, but we are
making sure that his lack of dexterity in placing the latest block does not destroy
all the work he has done so far. We know our child, so we know what kind and how
much support he needs; we give him that support so he can do what he wants, and
learn what he needs to learn.
Adult Basic Education Instructors
Many students who come into an Adult Basic Education (ABE) program at a very
basic level have already done whole numbers and decimals and fractions many
times. They are placed in a fundamental class because they don’t understand the
concepts or don’t remember how to do the problems, but they resist doing more work
at this level. “I’ve already done that,” they say, and either drop out or settle down to
do many more pages without doing any more thinking than they did before.
Other students, although not so fixated on the idea that they have already
completed the work many times, still feel uncomfortable and resist using
manipulatives or doing any activities that they consider to be “not real math,” such
as field trips, real-life problems, group work, and measuring.
The material in this book offers a new way to reach such students, if they are
parents or act in loco parentis to grandchildren, nephews, nieces, or younger
brothers and sisters. Talking and learning about how children learn math (see the
introduction for parents, above) bring a different subject into your math classroom,
which they have never had before. Choose activities that deal with concepts you
are teaching in the class. Prepare the students to use the activities with their kids
by doing the activities in class. You can discuss the concepts behind the activities,
stress the likelihood that their kids will surprise them with a different way of
thinking or doing the problem, and assure them that lots of ways to think about
math are okay. If the parents in your class have kids with a range of ages, start at
the most basic level, and go up to an elementary school level on the concept so that
your whole class gets ready to teach the activities on many levels.
Ask them to do the activities at home with the kids, and then discuss it in the
following class. What happened? How did their kids surprise them? What showed
them that the kids understood the concept? What misunderstandings happened?
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What evidence was there that the kid didn’t understand? All these questions will
help your students think about, talk about, and do the math in your class.
Ask them to preview the books and DVD’s listed in the appendices. Which would
they recommend? Then ask them to check out their recommendations with their
kids.
A Math Kit for Parents
In order to do the activities at home, parents need the following items. The parents
who tested the activities received a kit at the beginning of the program, so they
could make use of them at any time.
• a pair of good scissors for adults
• 2 decks of cards
• a set of 5 dice
• a glue stick
• a few brads for holding sheets of paper together to make a book or a play clock
• a pack of score cards for “Roll Them and Win”
• a tape measure
• a set of measuring cups and spoons
• graph paper
Additional items would be useful: a Rumoli game with poker chips, a set of scissors
for children’s use, felt pens, and a set of shapes such as pattern blocks, available
from many teacher supply stores or online at http://www.arteleducational.ca/index.
php.
Resources
Appendices B, C and D are lists of books, online links and DVD’s for kids of all ages.
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Songs and Rhymes
Activity 1 Learn a Rhyme or Song
Rhymes and songs are good ways to have fun with kids and teach them to count.
The most important thing is to have fun. Most of the rhymes and songs that
follow are old, and you may know them with different words or actions. Use them
whichever way you like.
This Little Bear
This little bear went fishing.
This little bear stayed home.
This little bear caught a salmon.
Hold the baby’s foot and wiggle each
toe for each little bear. The last line
This bear caught none.
is time for a little tickle.
This little bear said “Grr, grr” and ate it all up.
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Songs and Rhymes
Two Little Eyes
Two little eyes to look around,
Two little ears to hear each sound,
One little nose to smell what’s sweet,
One little mouth that likes to eat.
Point to the baby’s eyes, ears, nose, and
mouth, or to your own.
Here Is the Beehive
Hold up your closed fist.
Here is the beehive.
Where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
Open your fist, one finger at a time.
Here they come buzzing out of the hive-One, two, three, four, five!
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Songs and Rhymes
Fish
One, two, three, four, five…
I caught a fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten….
I let it go again.
Wrap your fingers around the baby’s hand or foot,
one finger at a time as you count to 5.
Then unwrap them one finger at
a time as you count to 10.
One, Two, Tie My Shoe
One, two, tie my shoe,
Do the actions for each line. When you get to the
third line, some “tricks” might be to spin around, or
Three, four, shut the door,
jump, or pat your belly and tap your head, or
whatever tricks you can think of.
Five, six, do some tricks,
Seven, eight, stand up straight,
Nine, ten, start over again. When you are tired of starting again, change the last
line to “Nine, ten, that’s the end.”
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Songs and Rhymes
This Old Man
Knock on the place mentioned in each verse, when
you say “knick-knack” on the third line, knock,
then clap for “paddy-whack,” and
pretend to give the dog a bone.
This old man, he plays 1,
He plays knick-knack on my thumb.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
On the last line, roll your forearms
This old man goes rolling home.
around each other.
This old man, he plays 2,
He plays knick-knack on my shoe.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 3,
He plays knick-knack on my knee.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 4,
He plays knick-knack on my floor.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 5,
He plays knick-knack while he does a dive.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
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Songs and Rhymes
This old man, he plays 6,
He plays knick-knack with some sticks.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 7,
He plays knick-knack 7 to 11.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 8,
He plays knick-knack at my gate.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 9,
He plays knick-knack on my spine.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
This old man, he plays 10,
He plays knick-knack over again.
With a knick-knack paddy-whack, give the dog a bone,
This old man goes rolling home.
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Songs and Rhymes
Ten in a Bed
Ten in a bed
And the little one said, “Roll over, roll over.”
They all rolled over and one rolled out…
Nine in a bed
And the little one said, “Roll over, roll over.”
They all rolled over and one rolled out…
Eight in a bed
And the little one said, “Roll over, roll over.”
They all rolled over and one rolled out…
Seven…
Six…
Five…
Four…
Three…
Two...
One in a bed
And the little one said,
“Good night!”
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Math at Home
All kinds of play can help your child with math, in the same way as play helps her
learn to talk and understand language.
Here are some things your child will do that will show he is learning math:
• puts small things inside big things, and tries to put big things into small things.
• guesses whether something will fit in a space.
• piles things up until the tower falls down.
• asks and understands “when?”
Kids don’t need fancy toys to discover math—they need time to play and notice and
try things out. You can help by letting them play.
Activity 2
How Much
Does It Hold?
When your child can sit up in the bath tub
Put some empty plastic tubs into your child’s bathtub. Use many different sizes and
shapes—tubs that held chip dip, margarine, ice cream, yoghurt, for example. Watch
what happens! Your child will use one tub to fill up another, will try to pour all the
water in a big tub into a smaller one, will find out that many dips with a small tub
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are needed to fill a big one, and will feel the difference between pouring a small tub
over his head and pouring a big one. This is math learning.
When your child can pour without spilling
Get all the mugs and cups out and ask your child to find which one holds the most,
so that a special person can have a really big cup of coffee.
Get all the glasses out and ask your child to find which ones hold the most, and the
least, so you’ll know next time you’re having juice or pop.
If you’re interested in baking
Get a set of measuring cups and ask some questions, like these:
How many halves in a whole cup? How many quarters? How many thirds? Which is
bigger: a quarter or a half?
Later, ask your child to help you double a recipe for a crowd, or cut a recipe in half.
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Activity 3
Numbers
That Name Things
Sometimes a number is a name. For example, you might know someone who lives
in apartment 205. We use the number 205 to name the apartment, but it is not a
counting number. Usually there are not 205 apartments in one building. The “2”
tells us the apartment is on the second floor, and the “5” tells us which apartment it
is. 205 helps us name the apartment so it is different from any other apartment in
the building.
Your child can get to know some numbers that name things long before he can count
very far.
TV channels
What’s the number of his favourite cartoon channel? Let him find the number on
the remote and press it. When it’s time for him to play quietly so YOU can have
some quiet time, let him find the channel for your favourite show. Let him press the
button on the remote and get everything fixed up for you.
Bus routes
What’s the number of the bus you take home? Show her the number, and show her
where to find it on the bus. Then let her watch all the buses come by until she finds
the one that will take you home. This is an important job.
Floors of buildings
Are you waiting for an elevator? Watch the numbers above the elevator change as
the elevator comes to get you. Count them down, or up. Once you’re inside, let him
press the button that will send the elevator to where you want to go. Watch the
numbers above the door as you ride up or down, so you’ll know when to get out.
Phone numbers
Who do you have on speed dial? Teach your child those numbers, and let her make
the call when it’s time to call. (Yes, you probably want to keep the phone out of
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reach most of the time.) Teach her about 9-1-1. Who knows when she’ll need it?
Teach her to call home. When she’s a teenager, you’ll be glad she calls.
Addresses
Teach him his own address. If he’s lost, or calling 9-1-1, he’ll need it.
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Activity 4
Learning the Numbers
Count everything
Count out loud as you go through the day with your child. Count the stairs as you
climb up or down; count the knives and forks as you get them out or put them away;
count the steps as you dance.
Hunt for a special number
Take a day to look for things that come in 1’s—1 nose; 1 mouth; 1 kid named
“Franny”; 1 clown at the mall; 1 eagle in the sky; and so on. Don’t count anything
else—just things that you only see 1 of. Another day, look for things that come in
2’s—2 eyes; 2 hands; 2 shoes; 2 socks; 2 dogs; 2 cups of tea; 2 wheels on a bicycle.
Don’t count anything else—just things that you see 2 only of. Another day, look for
things that come in 3’s—3 wheels on a tricycle; 3 crows; 3 kids; 3 legs on a stool.
Don’t count anything else—just things that you only see 3 of. Another day, look for
things that come in 4’s—4 wheels on a car; 4 pieces of apple; 4 flowers on a stem; 4
people waiting for a bus; 4 legs on a table. Another day, look for things that come in
5’s—5 fingers on a hand; 5 toes on a foot; 5 pennies; 5 ducks.
Read some of the counting books from the list on page 101.
Activity 5 Make a Counting Book
For some ideas about how to make a book, see Appendix A.
• Collect pictures, either from magazines or photos. If you are using magazines,
look for many different pictures of the same thing (for example, dogs or cars or
houses or leaves or shoes). You will need pictures of at least 10 different things,
with many pictures of each thing.
• On the first page of your book, make a large “1.” Let your child pick 1 picture to
paste on this page.
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• On the next page, make a large “2.” Let your child pick 2 pictures of the same
thing and paste both pictures on the page (for example, 2 dogs).
• On the next page, paste 3 pictures of the same thing (for example, 3 salmon)
and so on up to 10. Use the back of the previous page to give you more room for
pictures if you need it.
You can write the name of the things if you like (i.e., 2 dogs) or just the number (2).
You can make the same kind of counting book using photographs. They are more
difficult to use, but more meaningful. You will need photos with 1 person in it, with
2, 3, or more. Help your child with picking out the right category for each number.
For example, 1 baby, 2 brothers, 3 aunties, 4 cousins, 5 uncles, etc.
An older child learning to read and write numbers could make this book for a
younger sibling just learning to count to 10.
Activity 6
Laundry:
The Math of Sets
Do the wash
• Little kids can help sort the clothes before the wash.
• Someone can measure the soap and put it in.
• After everything is dry, kids can help sort things into piles—all the socks, all the
towels, all the T-shirts.
• Bigger kids can match the socks and put them into pairs and make piles of the
clothes after they’ve been folded, so Peter’s T-shirts are all together and separate
from Mary’s.
• Anyone can help fold. Lots of math there—when you fold a towel, does it matter
if you make the first fold crosswise or lengthwise? Can you make a triangle? How
many times do you fold a sheet in half to make it fit on the shelf?
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• When things are all folded, the sets can be sorted so that the things that
are going to the kitchen are together, the things going to the bathroom are
somewhere else, and the things going to different bedrooms are sorted to make it
easy to put everything away.
The T-shirt that folds itself
Lay the T-shirt flat and face up. Pinch it with your left hand at point A and with
your right hand at point B. Holding on to the T-shirt, move your right hand over the
left hand to grab the hem of the T-shirt at point C. Keep pinching with your right
hand. Lift up the T-shirt, and pull your hand out. (Uncross your hands). Shake it
out a little, then lay it face down, still holding it with both hands. Lift both hands
and fold it back so the neckline is in the centre. Here are some videos that show you
how:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ7Lawiw84g&NR=1
(very clear American boy)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vD6zs9j9QI4&feature=related
(good visuals, no English)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvNUdcDtTwo&NR=1
(good visuals, no English)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTPkSJR5i0U&NR=1
(Australian)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kacQlt7zsQY
(good visuals, no English)
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Activity 7
Braiding
Some things to talk about while you are braiding:
• To make a good braid, you have to divide the hair into 3 even parts. Each part is
one-third of the hair.
• If the 3 parts are not equal, then you don’t have thirds.
• The better you are at dividing the hair into thirds, the more even the braid will
be.
• If you are doing French braids, you have to add the same amount of hair to the
braid each time. If you don’t add equal amounts, the braid will not be even.
• As you move each strand into the middle, the pattern is “from the left, from the
right, from the left, from the right,” and so on. If you break the pattern, you will
get a hole in your braid.
Teach kids to braid a doll’s hair, or let them braid your hair.
There are many more complicated braids—ask someone to teach you, or ask for a
book at the library.
Ask an elder to talk about traditional uses of braiding.
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Activity 8
Buying Groceries
At the grocery store with little kids:
• Let them count items as you put them in the basket.
• Let them hold the bag open while you put potatoes, or apples, into the bag, and
count them as they go in.
Let them get things off the shelf and put them in the basket, at your direction. Ask
for the biggest box of cereal, or the smallest. Ask for the coffee in the green can, or
the black bag. Ask for the crackers on the bottom shelf, or the middle shelf.
At the grocery store with kids in school:
• When your kid has an idea of how much a dollar is, and what is more than 50¢
and what is less than 50¢, there is a real job he can do at the supermarket—
keeping track of how much the bill will be. Ask your kid to help you keep track of
the total amount as you put the groceries in the cart.
• If you want to be sure you’ll have enough money when you get to the till, round
all the numbers up to the next dollar higher. When the first thing goes into the
cart, ask how much it is, then ask how much is the next dollar higher. Then help
figure out the price to the nearest dollar. For example, if the item is $1.79, ask,
“What is the next dollar up?”
Give him a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask him to make a mark for every
dollar you put into the cart. If, for example, you put in
something that costs $1.79, he will show that as $2.00,
and make 2 marks on his page.
Then you put something in the cart that costs $1.19. The
next dollar higher is $2.00, so he will make 2 more marks.
Then you buy something that costs 99¢; that is very close
to $1.00, so he’ll make another mark, but the fifth mark
goes sideways. Every $5.00 you put in the cart will result
in a mark like this.
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The next dollar you spend starts another set of marks. As you go along, he can count the crossed lines by 5’s
to give you a running total.
• If you want a closer estimate, you can round up or down to the nearest dollar.
The estimate will be closer to the exact total, but it may be a little too low. If you
have only $20 in your purse, the estimate might be $20, but the exact amount
might be $20.17. Here’s how it works:
If, for example, you put something in the cart that costs
$1.79, he will figure out that $1.79 is closer to $2.00 than
to $1.00. He will show that as $2.00, and make 2 marks
on his page.
Then you put something in the cart that costs $2.49. That
is closer to $2.00 than to $3.00, so he will make 2 more
marks.
Then you buy something that costs 99¢; that is very close
to $1.00, so he’ll make another mark, but the fifth mark
goes sideways. Every $5.00 you put in the cart will result
in a mark like this.
The next dollar you spend starts another set of marks.
As you go along, he can count the crossed lines by
5’s to give you a running total. When you get to the
cashier, you both will see how close his estimate was.
• If you have 2 kids, one can use this system and the other can keep a running
total on a calculator. It is easy to make a mistake on the calculator, forgetting a
decimal point or hitting the wrong key. The kid with the pencil and tally sheet
can help keep the calculator honest.
Older kids can pay and check the change.
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Activity 9
Kitchen Chores
Clean it up, then mess it up, then clean it up again. Get it out, then put it away,
then get it out again. That’s life in the kitchen, and there is a richness for math
learning in that pattern.
Setting the dishes out
Maybe you’re handling the plates, and a little one can help with the forks and
knives and spoons.
Very little ones won’t count at all. You might ask, how many plates do we need?
One for grandma, 1 for grandpa, 1 for brother, 1 for sister, and so on, pulling out a
plate as you say each name. Then, how many forks? Let the little one get out a fork
for each person as you name them again. Then, how many knives? The little one
can pick out a knife for each name, again.
As they begin to count things, you could first count: How many people for supper?
Name and count each one. Let’s say 7, for example. You count out 7 plates. Then
ask, how many forks? You may have to count the people again, or maybe count the
plates, or maybe the kid will remember. Let the kid count out the forks. Again, how
many knives? Let the kid count out the knives.
In any case, while everybody is eating, you’ll get a chance to check that everybody
has a fork and knife and plate, and congratulate yourselves on the counting.
Putting the dishes away
Time for sorting. Give a kid all the forks and knives and spoons and ask him to
sort them and put the forks where they belong, the knives and the spoons in their
places. Big spoons and little spoons. Maybe big forks and little forks each have their
own place.
An older child can put away mugs and cups. What to do with the handles is an
interesting problem, especially if there are lots of mugs and not very much space to
put them in. How much space do things take up? How can I fit things into a tight
space? Both these are problems that a kid can work on without even knowing that
she is doing math.
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Activity 10
Making Cookies
Find a couple of recipes for cookies, and try some of these ideas:
Make the first recipe, and another day try the other recipe.
Divide into teams. Each team uses a different recipe, and gives half its cookies to
the other team.
Try making the recipes slightly differently (add chocolate chips, different nuts,
sugar substitute).
Make a batch of cookies and divide it in half; keep half the cookies for the family
and give the other half to someone special, with a card.
Double the recipe.
Make both kinds of cookies, and do a survey asking which kind people like better.
Keep track of what people say, and graph your results.
Activity 11
Telling Time
When can we go? When will Grandma get here? When does my show come on? Is it
my birthday yet?
This kind of question tells you your child is ready to learn how to keep track of time,
and ready to start using a clock and a calendar.
Make the play clock on the next page. There are lots of things you can do with it.
Set the play clock to show the time you will leave the house to go somewhere fun.
Let your child keep track of the real clock until it looks the same as the play clock.
Then it’s time to go! You can set the play clock to show whatever your child is
waiting for—a special TV show, or the time the older kids come home, or bedtime.
Whenever he says, “When will...?” you can show him on the play clock, and wait for
the real clock to match it.
When your child is good at telling time with a face clock, start to use a digital clock
or watch. Look at the digital time, then use the play clock to show the same time as
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the digital. Help your child to see that the digital clock shows the hour first, then
the minutes, but usually with the face clock we talk about minutes first, then the
hour.
Make a map of some special day, showing all the things your child does in the day,
from morning to night. Draw some clocks to show the times. You could do this at the
end of the day, to tell the story of what happened, or you could do it the night before,
to get ready for the special day.
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Cut along the dotted line. Glue the clock face to a piece of cardboard. Glue the hands
to a piece of cardboard, then cut them out. Use a brad to pin the hands in the centre
of the clock.
Math at Home
Activity 12
Calendars
Start with a calendar that shows a week. Later you can go on to use a calendar that
shows a month, and then a whole year.
A week at a time
Make the weekly chart shown on the next page.
Before the week starts, sit with your child and talk about the week that is coming
up. Talk about all the things that are planned for that week, and write, draw, or
use a sticker to show what is happening on each day. Put the chart on the fridge or
somewhere it is easy to see.
Then when your child asks, “How long until…?” you can use the chart to count the
sleeps, or count the days, or name the days until the special day comes.
A month at a time
Use a page from a commercial calendar, or fill in the name and the numbers on the
chart that follows. If you use the chart, your child will see that the month does not
always start on the same day of the week.
Again, use stickers or drawings or writing to show the events of the month to come.
Your child will begin to see the patterns—soccer game every Saturday, parents’
group every Tuesday, and so on.
A whole year
In December or early in January, get a calendar for the new year, and mark it with
writing and stickers or drawings to show all the special dates that come every year. Start
with the child’s birthday. Help your child find the month and the day, and put a sticker in
the square and write the child’s name. Then do the same for each family member in turn,
and go on to friends. Then think of other special days, such as holidays or anniversaries.
Mark each of them in turn. Then hang the calendar where you can use it all year to keep
track of special days.
Calendars marked in this way make lovely gifts for grandparents and aunts and uncles.
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Activity 13
Money
You can use money to practice counting by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 25’s.
Let your kid pay for his own treats and get the change.
Double your money!
When you want to give a gift of money, here’s an offer a kid can’t refuse:
“I’ll put a penny in a jar. The next day, I’ll double it and put 2 pennies into the jar.
The next day, I’ll double that and put in 4 pennies, and so on, every day for a week.
At the end of the week, you can have all the money in the jar, or I’ll give you a
dollar. Your choice.”
You can do this for any amount of time, but be careful or you will end up paying
much more than you expected. You will start on day 1 and put 1 penny in a jar. The
next day, you will put in double that much—2 pennies. The next day you will put in
double again, 4 pennies, and the next day you will double the amount to 8 pennies,
and so on, doubling every day. Say how many days you will double the money for,
and say that at the end, the child can keep all the money in the jar, or you will trade
the money in the jar for a certain amount. The child can choose.
How long you go depends on how much you want to give. If you want to give about
$10.00, offer to double for 10 days, and say you will buy the jar back for $8.00.
If you want to give about $40, offer to double for 12 days, and say you will buy the
jar back for $30.00.
If you want to give about $80, offer to double for 13 days, and say you will buy the
jar back for $75.00.
If you want to give about $160, offer to double for 14 days, and say you will buy the
jar back for $150.00.
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Day
Amount to
put in
Total to
date
Day 1
1 cent
$.01
Day 2
2 cents
$.03
Day 3
4 cents
$.07
Day 4
8 cents
$.15
Day 5
16 cents
$.31
Day 6
32 cents
$.63
Day 7
64 cents
$1.27
Day 8
$1.28
$2.55
Day 9
$2.56
$5.11
Day 10
$5.12
$10.23
Day 11
$10.24
$20.47
Day 12
$20.48
$40.95
Day 13
$40.96
$81.91
Day 14
$81.92
$163.83
You have given the child an interesting problem, and have given many days for the
child to think and talk about what is going on.
At school: If someone is going to donate some money to the school, ask the donor
to help set up a similar problem, and come in every day to double the money. For
example: Someone who wants to donate about $300 to the library, or the gym, or the
band could come in every day to give double the amount of the day before. On day
15, she would have given a total of $327.65; she could offer the children the choice
of keeping the money in the jar, or getting $300. If this seems like too many days
to come in, she could start on the first day with $1.00 and by day 9 would have put
about $250 in the jar.
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Activity 14
Measuring
Before your child knows numbers…
Make a long strip of paper by pasting shorter pieces together. You can add more
pieces if you need them later. Let your child measure whatever he wants (for
example, the height of a teddy bear or doll). Your child can lay the paper strip
along the toy, mark on the paper the height of the toy, and draw a picture of the
toy beside the mark. Then he can use the same paper to measure another toy, or
himself, or a table, or whatever. Don’t worry about getting it right. Sometimes the
paper strip will show the teddy is taller than the child. If your child notices, let him
figure out what went wrong. If he doesn’t notice, don’t say anything. The lesson he
is learning here is that you have to start each measurement from the same place on
the tape if you want to compare the measurements. Give him lots of time and many
tries to figure out that important lesson for himself.
It is fun to measure around things, too: around the teddy’s waist; around a footstool;
around a chair; around his own wrist or waist; around a coffee mug.
Start a height chart for him. Measure him against the door frame, so he can see how
he is growing over the months and years. If you want a record you can take with you
when you move, mark the measurements on a long strip of paper taped to the wall,
or on a tall flat stick.
When your child is learning to read numbers…
Use the same kind of paper strip to measure some things, then use a tape measure
on the strip to measure the thing in centimetres or inches; write down the number.
Don’t worry about fractions at first. The strip will keep a record of all the things
measured, and it will be easy to see which is longest or biggest around.
Give your child a tape measure and let her measure whatever she wants. If she
wants to remember the measurements, help her write them down. Talk about what
surprises her as she is measuring, and about any patterns she sees.
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A little more advanced…
Make some graphs to record the measurements that interest your child. Graph
paper and felt pens are great. Kids can also make graphs online at
http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/
• Heights of family members and friends—whoever will stand up and be
measured. Use 1 square on the graph paper for every 20 cm in height, or 1
square for every 10 cm in height.
• Show the height compared with the “wingspan” of a few people. Again, 1 square
on the graph paper for every 10 or 20 cm.
• Show the length of the foot compared with the distance from the wrist to the
inside of the elbow of a few people. Use 1 square for 1 cm.
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Math in Nature
Activity 15
Take a Nature Walk
You might not think going for a walk in nature could lead to math, but it’s true.
Math and Nature are very close friends. If you know nature well, patterns, shapes,
and numbers can help you pass on what you know about the world around us.
Go for a walk in the forest or by the water, or in a park or your backyard. Even as
you walk your kids to school you will see patterns in nature. Help your child notice
numbers, shapes, and sizes.
As your kids get older, longer walks are possible. Go for a walk with someone who
knows nature—an elder, a fisherman, a hunter, or a park naturalist.
Some leaves have 3 parts, some only 1, some have many. They all seem to be odd
numbers. I wonder why? Make a collection of leaves of different shapes. When you
get home, sort the leaves in many ways—by shape, by size, by colour, or in any way
you see.
Look at the tracks animals leave. How can counting help you figure out what animal left each track? What shapes do you see in the tracks? Draw the tracks.
Listen to the sounds that birds make. What patterns do you hear? How can the patterns help you figure out what bird is calling, even if you can’t see it?
Count the legs as you see the creatures: 0 legs, 2 legs, 4 legs, 6 legs, 8 legs, 100 legs,
1,000 legs. They all seem to be even numbers! I wonder why?
If you live by the ocean, keep track of the tides
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Activity 16
How Long Is a Day?
Keep track of the time the sun rises and sets every day for a year. Pick 1 day a
week, and use the chart on the next page to mark the time of sunrise and sunset
on that day. Your chart will show the pattern as the days get longer in the summer
and shorter in the winter. You will see a big jump when the time changes because of
daylight savings time. (Spring forward, fall back.)
You can find the time of the sunrise and sunset on the TV weather channel, or in
the newspaper.
You can also look it up online (for example at http://www.earthtools.org/). When you
are online, check to see if the time they give is standard time or daylight savings
time, and adjust accordingly.
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Activity 17
Plant a Seed
Plant some bean seeds in a small pot. Your child can plant, water, and measure the
bean as it grows. Beans are ideal because they grow very quickly.
Plant some seeds around the outside of a clear plastic or glass pot, so you can watch
them sprout. First line the pot with a piece of paper towel, then put the soil into the
pot. Slip the bean seeds between the paper towel and the side of the pot and they
will be easy to see. Put the seeds in various positions (i.e., on end, rounded side up,
rounded side down). Water and watch as the roots all go down and the stem goes
up, no matter how the seeds are placed.
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Activity 18 How Does the Moon Change Shape?
In the fall, winter, and spring, we can see the moon earlier in the evening, because
the days are shorter. This means that your kids are likely to be up late enough to
see the moon and make the drawings.
Start sometime when the moon is full, and look at the moon together. Talk about
the shape, and draw it and write the date on the drawing. About a week later, make
another drawing, and so on every week for 6 to 8 weeks. If you like, you can use the
chart on the next page to keep track of your drawing.
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Playing with Shapes
Activity 19
Hunt for Shapes
Pick a shape to look for wherever you and your child go for the whole day. Find that
shape, wherever it is. For example, if you are looking for circles, notice clock faces,
wheels, headlights; another day, if you are looking for rectangles, notice windows
and doors, signs, and so on.
Some days, look for a flat shape, such as triangles, rectangles, squares, circles; other
days look for a shape that is not flat, such as cylinders (tin cans) and spheres (oranges) and pyramids.
Read a book about shapes, from the list in Appendix B.
Activity 20
Make a Picture
Copy the pages of shapes on the following pages on coloured paper and cut them
out.
Use the shapes to make a picture by gluing them onto a sheet of paper. Make a picture of an animal, or a person, or your home, outside or inside, or your street or the
forest, or anything you want.
When it’s time to put the shapes away, sort them and put them in different envelopes.
Make it harder
Make a picture using only 1 shape in many colours and sizes.
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Playing with Shapes
Activity 21
Make a Memory Game
Make your own game.
• Copy the following pages of shapes on coloured paper and cut them out.
• Pick 8 of the shapes you cut out. They may be different shapes, or the same
shapes in different colours or sizes. Then pick another 8 exactly the same as the
first. For example, you might have 2 red squares, 2 yellow circles, 2 green circles,
2 large green triangles, 2 small green triangles, and so on.
• Get 16 index cards, or cut 16 cards out of heavy paper.
• Glue each shape to the front of one of the cards.
• Sort the leftover shapes and put them in different envelopes.
How to play
• Mix up the cards and put them face down.
• The first player turns over 1 card, then turns over another card, trying to find a
match.
• If the 2 cards are the same, she takes the 2 cards and puts them beside her. It is
still her turn, so she turns over another card, then turns over another to see if it
matches.
• If the 2 cards are not the same, she turns them back over in the same place, and
her turn ends. The other player takes a turn.
• The winner is the player with the most pairs. Some kids like to know who is the
winner, and other kids don’t care.
Make it easier
Use only 6 or 8 cards.
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Playing with Shapes
Activity 22
Pull a Pair
Make the game
• Copy the pages of shapes that follow on heavy coloured paper and cut them out.
• Pick 8 of the pieces you cut out, all different. They may be different shapes, or
the same shapes in different colours or sizes. Then pick another 8 exactly the
same as the first. For example, you might then have 2 red squares, 2 yellow circles, 2 green circles, 2 large green triangles, 2 small green triangles, and so on.
• Put all of the shapes into a paper bag or a big envelope.
Play the game
• The first player reaches into the bag or envelope and pulls out a shape and puts
it on the table. Then she reaches in and pulls out another shape. If it is exactly
the same as the first shape, the player wins the pair. If it does not match, the
player puts the second shape beside the first.
• The second player takes a turn, picking 1 shape out of the bag and trying to
match it with the shapes already on the table. Then she pulls another shape out
of the bag and tries to match that one.
• Every turn, the player gets to pull 2 shapes out of the bag and tries to match a
shape already on the table. When she finds a match, she wins the pair.
• Keep taking turns until all the shapes are out of the bag.
Make it harder
Put more pairs into the bag to start.
Change the rules about matching. Put shapes of 2 different sizes and 2 or 3 colours
in the bag. A big square could match with a big triangle (both big), or a red circle
could match with a red square (both red), or a big square could match with a small
square (both square).
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Things to Make
Activity 23
Make a Collection
Make a collection of leaves or pictures or coins or rocks or whatever your child is
interested in.
• Help your child figure out a way to organize the collection. For flat things, a
scrapbook might be good, or see Appendix A for suggestions about how to make a
book. For bulky things, a binder with pockets might work, or a box with dividers.
• Help your child figure out a way to display the collection so others can see it. A
special shelf or a section of the fridge door might work.
• Give your child lots of time to talk about his collection. Listen.
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Things to Make
Activity 24
Making Boxes
Make and decorate boxes to hold a present or to store treasures, using one of the
patterns that follow.
• Cut on the solid lines, score and fold on the dotted lines, and figure out how they
will look when they are glued together.
• Flatten them again, and decorate them while they are flat.
• Fold them and glue them according to the directions.
All the patterns here can be enlarged on a photocopier to make larger containers.
When kids have used the patterns here, they can figure out how to make their own
patterns to make a container just the right size and shape for something special.
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Glue Here
Glue Here
Glue Here
Glue Here
To make the box, cut on the
solid lines. Score and fold on
the dotted lines. Cut a slit in
each triangle, on the solid line.
Bring two opposite triangles
towards each other, and join
them by inserting one into the
other slits. Do the same with the
other two opposite triangles.
• Any gift that has many small pieces, such as a bunch of candies, or marbles, or hair
clips.
• Any small gift that won’t be hurt if it is shaken around, such as a necklace or chain.
• A few stones or beans to make a rattle that you don’t open.
• Five things you are grateful for. (Write them on strips of paper and crumple up the
strips before you put them in the box.)
Things to Make
Activity 25
Sidewalk Chalk
Use the recipe that follows. If the children are young, parents should measure the
dry ingredients into baggies before the children arrive. Measure and add the water
when you are ready to make the chalk. Children can mix the mixture in the baggie while parents cover 1 end of each tube with the duct tape. Then snip a hole in 1
corner of the baggie and pour the mixture into each tube.
Older children can cover the ends of their tubes first, then measure and mix ingredients.
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Things to Make
Sidewalk Chalk
Don’t pour plaster down the sink or toilet! It will plug the pipes!
To make about 4 pieces of chalk, you’ll need:
2 cups water
2 cups plaster of Paris
2 tablespoons tempera paint (wet or dry)
paper tubes for wrapping coins (widest available)
duct tape
Mix the plaster, water, and paint in a paper cup or plastic bag. Let it sit for 2 or 3
minutes.
Cover 1 end of each coin tube with duct tape.
Pour the plaster mix into the tubes. If you’ve mixed it in a plastic bag, cut off one
corner of the bag and pour from the corner. Let the chalk stand until hard. Peel off
the wrappers and let the chalk dry for a few hours.
Throw out dried plaster, stir sticks, cups, etc.
Working with plaster of Paris: Use a new cup or bag and stir stick every time.
If you get bits of hard plaster into a new batch, it will harden very quickly and you
will not be able to pour the chalk. NEVER POUR PLASTER INTO SINKS OR TOILETS. It will harden and block the pipes.
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Things to Make
Activity 26
Play Dough
There are 2 recipes for play dough here, and lots of things to do with them.
Make 1 kind of play dough, and another day try the other recipe.
Divide into teams. Each team makes 1 kind of play dough and then gives half their
dough to the other team. Decide which recipe makes the best play dough.
Make a batch of play dough to give to someone special, with a card.
Double the recipe.
Make both kinds, and then survey people to ask them which kind they like better.
Keep track of what they say, and graph the results.
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Things to Make
Play Dough 1
1. Mix these ingredients:
• 1 cup flour
• ½ cup salt
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2. Add:
• 1 cup water
• 1 tablespoon oil
• food colouring
Cook over medium heat, until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool. Then
knead until smooth. Store in plastic bags or tubs.
Play Dough 2
1. Mix these ingredients:
• 2 cups flour
• ½ cup salt
• 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2. Add:
• 2 cups water
• 8 drops food colour
• 2 tablespoons oil
3. Cook until it forms a ball in pan.
4. Cool completely.
5. Store in a plastic bag or tub.
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Card Games
Card Games for Smart Kids and Deal Me In! The Use of Playing Cards in Learning
and Teaching, both by Margie Golick, include many card games that children love
to play.
Activity 27
Memory Game
This is a game that most kids are better at than most adults, so it is a good game for
parents to play with their kids.
Play with cards
Deck
Use the whole deck. If you like, you can use 2 jokers. Lay the cards out in a pattern
(6 rows of 9 if you are using the jokers; 4 rows of 13 if you are not using the jokers.)
For younger children, don’t use the face cards or the jokers. Just use the ace to 10 in
all suits.
Play
The youngest player starts. She picks a card and turns it face up. Then she picks
another card and turns it face up. If the cards match, she picks them both up and
keeps them beside her. Then she takes another turn. She keeps on as long as she
finds a match each time she turns up 2 cards. When she does not pick a matching
card, she turns them both face down again, in the same place. The other player
takes a turn.
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Continue to play until all the pairs have been found. The player with the most pairs
wins the game. Some kids don’t care about winning, and other kids care.
Make your own memory game
• Use photos of the family. If you have double prints, use the same pictures. If you
don’t have double prints, use pairs that show the same person or people, For
example, 2 pictures of sister, or 2 pictures of grandpa and grandma.
• Use cards with different shapes on them—circles, squares, rectangles, triangles,
etc. An older child could make a set for a younger child. (See Activity 21.)
• Use cards with 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500.
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Activity 28
Learning the Deck
This is a treasure hunt through the deck. Fun to do, and lets you find out who knows the
deck and who needs help.
Again, this will be a situation where the parent knows more than the child—the object is
not to get the answers filled in, but to let the child explore the nature of the deck. Some
number facts here—13 + 13 + 13 + 13 = 52; 4 × 13 = 52.
A Deck of Cards
How many cards in the deck?
How many face cards?
How many black cards?
How many red cards?
How many diamonds?
How many hearts?
How many spades?
How many clubs?
How many red face cards?
How many black face cards?
How many face cards are female?
How many face cards are male?
How many jokers?
How many 1’s?
How many 2’s?
How many 3’s?
How many 4’s?
How many 5’s?
How many 6’s?
How many 7’s?
How many 8’s?
How many 9’s?
How many 10’s?
How many kings?
How many queens?
How many jacks?
Which king is facing left?
Which kings have swords?
Which kings have moustaches?
Which queens are holding flowers?
Which jack is looking right?
Which jack is looking left?
Which jacks have moustaches?
What number is shown on the ace?
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Activity 29
No Way!
This game helps kids count and learn to read numbers, and to bluff and notice when
someone else is bluffing. It is lots of fun. It has many other names—“I doubt it!”
“Cheat,” “Bull****.”
Deck
Use 1 deck of cards. Take the jokers out. With very young kids, take the face cards
out of the deck, and just use the ace to 10 cards. If you have more than 5 players,
use 2 decks of cards.
Goal
The winner is the first person who gets rid of all his cards.
Play
Shuffle the cards and deal them all out. It doesn’t matter if some players have 1
more card than others.
The first player takes some cards from his hand and puts them in the middle of
the table, face down, and calls aces. If he puts down 1 card, he says, “One ace.” If
he puts down 2 cards, he says, “Two aces.” If he puts down 3 cards, he says, “Three
aces” or, if he puts down 4 cards, he says, “Four aces.” He can play whatever cards
he likes, but he has to say they are aces.
The next player takes some cards from his hand and puts them on the table, face
down and calls 2’s. If he puts down 1 card, he says “One 2.” If he puts down 2 cards,
he says, “Two 2’s.” If he puts down 3 cards, he says, “Three 2’s” or, if he puts down
4 cards, he says, “Four 2’s.” He can play whatever cards he likes, but he has to say
they are 2’s.
The next player takes some cards from his hand and puts them on the table, face
down. If he puts down 1 card, he says “One 3.” If he puts down 2 cards, he says,
“Two 3’s.” If he puts down 3 cards, he says, “Three 3’s,” or, if he puts down 4 cards,
he says, “Four 3’s.” He can play whatever cards he likes, but he has to say they are
3’s.
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The next player does the same thing, saying “5’s.” The next player says “6’s” and so
on. When you get to kings, the next player starts again with aces.
You don’t have to play the cards you say you are playing. You can try to bluff whenever you want to, and sometimes you have to bluff. You have to put down at least
1 card, and you can put down any number of cards. You are trying to be the first to
get rid of all your cards. It may be your turn to say “7’s,” but you might put down
two 5’s and a king, and say “three 7’s.”
“No Way!”
If you think another player is bluffing, you can say, “No way!” You have to say “No
way!” as soon as the player puts the cards down, before the next player plays.
When someone says, “No way!” the last player has to turn over the cards he just
played so everyone can see if he was bluffing or telling the truth. If he was bluffing, he has to pick up ALL the cards in the pile in the middle of the table. If he was
telling the truth, the person who said “No way!” has to pick up all the cards in the
middle of the table.
Sometimes more than 1 person says, “No way!” When that happens, the first person
to say “No way!” is the person who checks the cards, and if the player was telling
the truth, the first person to say “No way!” picks up all the cards in the middle of
the table. If 2 people say “No way!” at the same time, whichever of them is closest
on the player’s left is the person who checks the cards and picks up the pile if necessary.
When you play your last card, it must be played face up, so everyone can see it. If it
is not the right card, pick up the pile.
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Card Games
Activity 30
Tens
This is a kind of solitaire. It helps kids learn all the pairs of numbers that add up to 10.
Deck: Take all the jokers and face cards out of the deck.
Use the cards from ace to 10 only.
Layout: Lay the cards out face up. Start with 1 card; lay 2 cards on top of it, so that
all 3 cards show, but the second row covers the card in the first row.
Then add another row, this time using 3 cards.
Keep adding rows. Each row will take 1 more card than the row before.
Make 6 rows. The last row will take 6 cards.
You will be left with a pack of cards in your hands.
Play
Your job is to take away free cards from the table in sets that add up to 10. A card
is free when no part of it is covered by any other card. Look for sets of 2 cards that
add up to 10, for example, 5 + 5, or 1 + 9, or 3 + 7, or 4 + 6, or 8 + 2. 10 does not need
any other card, since 10 + 0 is 10. Whenever you see a free 10, you can add it to the
other sets you have made. If you clear all the cards from the table, you have won!
To make a set, you can take 2 cards from the table, or 1 from the table and 1 from
the deck in your hand. As you use the cards from the bottom row, you will free the
cards in the next row, and you can use those cards to make sets that add to 10.
If you lift up a card and that frees the card in the row above, you can use both cards
to make a set.
First check the layout to see if you can make sets with any free cards. Then turn
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Card Games
over the first 2 cards from the deck in your hand. If you can use the turned up card
to make a set of 10, you may do so, or you may decide not to. Your choice. If you use
the top card, you can then use the next card, if you like. Then turn over the next 2
cards from the deck in your hand, then the next, and so on. When you have come to
the end of the deck, turn it over and start again from the top.
Make it easier
Turn over the cards in your hand one at a time. Set out only 5 rows instead of 6.
Make it harder
Turn over the cards in your hand 3 at a time.
Activity 31
Roll Them and Win!
You need 5 dice to play this game.
Play
Players take turns. When it is your turn, you can roll the dice up to 3 times. Every
time you throw the dice, you decide how many dice to keep and how many to throw
again. When you have finished throwing the dice, you must fill in one of the boxes
on the score sheet. Sometimes you will have to take zero to fill in one of the boxes.
You can fill the boxes in any order. You don’t have to start at the top.
The Score Card
Bonus: When you have filled in the top 6 boxes, add up your score for those boxes.
Did you make 63 or more? Then you get the bonus of 35 points.
Full house: A pair, plus 3 of a kind. For example, a pair of 4’s and three 5’s.
Small straight: Any 4 numbers in a row. For example, 1, 2, 3, 4 OR 3, 4, 5, 6.
Big straight: Five numbers in a row. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 OR 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Five of a kind: If you get 5 of a kind twice in 1 game, give yourself an extra 100
points.
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Activity 32
Rumoli
Rumoli is a great game for parents and for families. Many adults like to play this
game with their friends, so they have fun playing at a slower pace with their kids.
Even the youngest child can “help” an older person play the hand. For little kids,
play very slowly and kids will learn to count and recognize the suits. When everyone
knows the game well, it goes very quickly and develops skills of strategy and
memory.
In a family game, make sure that everyone has lots of chips, so no one runs out. Set
an end time that’s right for your family—little kids might only play 1 hand, older
kids might play 4 hands, or for ½ hour. Adults and young adults might play for an
evening.
You need a Rumoli board, a deck of cards, and poker chips.
Start the game
• Divide the poker chips equally among all the
players. Take the jokers out of the deck of cards.
Put the Rumoli board on the table. For an
easier game, put a bowl of snacks on the section
marked “poker” and don’t use that space for
playing. If you want to play the poker pot, see
the note below.
• Decide who will deal first. Most people cut the
cards. Ace is high.
Should I sell the missy?
Should I buy it? Players
should look at the spaces
on the Rumoli board to see
what pays, and check their
own hands to see if they
have any paying cards in it.
• Each player puts 1 chip in each section of the
board, including the middle.
• The dealer deals out all the cards. He deals a hand for every player, including
himself, and also deals an extra hand. This extra hand is called the “missy.”
• The dealer looks at his own hand. If it is not a good hand, he can put it away and
take the extra hand, the missy. He cannot look at the missy first. If he takes the
missy, he cannot go back to his own hand: he must play the missy.
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• If the dealer decides he doesn’t want the missy, he can auction it off to the other
players, and keep the chips he is paid for it. The player who buys the missy has
to play it. He cannot go back to his first hand.
• The hand that is left over is “dead,” and no one can look at it during the hand.
Play the game
• Players sort their hands into suits.
• The player to the left of the dealer picks his lowest card and puts it on the table
face up, and calls out the number and suit, for example, “3 of clubs.”
• The person who has the next card in that suit plays it in the same way. He puts
the card on the table face up and calls out the number and the suit, “4 of clubs.”
If he has the next 2 cards, he plays them both, and says, “4 and 5 of clubs.”
• The person who has the next card in the suit plays it the same way, until you get
to the ace of the suit, or until play is broken because nobody has the next card
(because it’s in the missy).
• The player who played the last card starts again with his lowest card in a suit of
a different colour, and plays it in the same way, “6 of hearts.” Play continues in
the same way. If he does not have a card of a different colour, the next player on
the left can play. If no one can play a card of a different colour, the hand is over.
Everyone must put 1 chip in the Rumoli pot for every card left in their hand, and
the pot stays on the board until the next hand.
• Keep playing until someone plays his last card.
• For the next hand, the deal passes to the next player on the left, and every
player puts a chip into every space on the board.
Paying cards
• In the spaces on the board you will see the names of a card or a set of cards.
When a player lays down 1 of those paying cards or sets of cards, he picks up all
the chips in that space.
• When a player plays his last card, he calls “Rumoli” and the hand is over. That
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player collects all the chips in the middle space. Every other player must give
the winner one chip for each card he has left in his hand. Losing hands cannot
collect chips for paying cards still in the hand.
• At the end of the hand, there will still be chips in some of the spaces on the
board. Leave them there until someone wins them. They will get bigger and
bigger because every player will add another chip to every space to start every
hand.
Playing the poker space
After the cards have been dealt and the missy is taken care of, each player takes the
5 cards in his hand that will make the best poker hand and lays the rest aside while
poker is being played. There are 2 ways to play the poker pot:
1. The players can have a “showdown” without betting, raising, or folding.
Everyone puts their poker hands face up, and the best hand wins the pot.
or
2. Players can bet and raise and fold as in a regular poker game; all bets are put
into the space called “Poker Pot,” and the winner of the hand takes the pot.
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School Math
All the activities so far help get kids ready for school math. They all build a sense
of what numbers are, and help kids learn to solve problems with numbers and
patterns. Once kids get in school, they have to learn some “facts.” Addition facts.
Subtraction facts. Times tables. They need to know these facts so they can do more
things with fractions and decimals and per cents.
All of the card games above are good for learning school math. As well, you can
teach your kids to play whatever you like to play—for example, crib or canasta or
crazy eights or poker.
The activities on the next pages help with learning and remembering some of those
number facts.
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Activity 33
A Big Number Walk
This activity will help your child get a mental picture of some big numbers.
• Take a walk around home or school or somewhere your child passes often. Look
for buildings or pavements that are made of bricks or concrete blocks, and look
for a wall or a section of wall, and count the bricks or blocks.
• Find a part of a building that has about 100 blocks or bricks. It may be a wall,
that fences off a yard, or a frame around a window or doorway, or a path to a
doorway.
• Find a wall that has about 1,000 bricks or blocks.
• Can you find anything that has 10,000 bricks or blocks?
• Then, when you need a mental picture of a big number, imagine the wall where
you found that number of bricks.
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Activity 34
The Language of
Numbers
The words we use for numbers show something about the parts of the numbers. For
example, 16 tells us that the number is 6 plus 10. 17 is 7 + 10 and so on. Here are the
numbers in 3 languages. Work with your kids to figure out how the numbers bigger
than 10 are connected to the smaller numbers.
English
How many?
French
Combien?
Hulqu’mi’num
Kw’in?
one
eleven
un
onze
nuts’a’
’apun ’i’ kw’ nuts’a’
two
twelve
deux
douze
yuse’lu
’apun ’i’ kw’ yuse’lu
three
thirteen
trois
treize
lhihw
’apun ’i’ kw’ lhihw
four
fourteen
quatre
quatorze
xu’athun
’apun ’i’ kw’ xu’athun
five
fifteen
cinq
quinze
lhq’etsus
’apun ’i’ kw’ lhq’etsus
six
sixteen
six
seize
t’xum
’apun ’i’ kw’ t’xum
seven
seventeen
sept
dix-sept
tth’a’kwus
’apun ’i’ kw’ tth’a’kwus
eight
eighteen
huit
dix-huit
te’tsus
’apun ’i’ kw’ te’tsus
nine
nineteen
neuf
dix-neuf
toohw
’apun ’i’ kw’ toohw
ten
twenty
dix
vingt
’apun
ts’kw’ush
Do you know the numbers in any other language? How do the words show the
relationship between numbers under 10 and from 11 to 20?
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School Math
Activity 35
Addition Facts:
Sums of 10
Make a model to show the sums of 10.
• Lay out 10 counters in a row. The counters could be anything—pennies or
macaroni or dice or little cars.
• Move 1 counter over to show 1 + 9 = 10.
• Move another counter over to show 2 + 8 = 10
• Move another counter over to show 3 + 7 = 10
• Continue until you have moved all the counters over to show that 10 + 0 = 10.
Make a poster to show all the sums of 10.
The card game Tens (Activity 30) will give lots of practice with these addition facts.
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School Math
Activity 36
Addition Facts:
Hidden Doubles
When your child can double all the numbers up to 12, that knowledge can help him
learn more addition facts easily. You will need 24 counters for this activity. You could
use pennies or macaroni or dice or little cars or anything else for counters.
• Use the counters to set up this question for your child: 3 + 5 = ____
• Move 1 of the counters over from the bigger group to the smaller group.
Suddenly, the size of each group is the same, and your child knows the answer
because he knows that 4 + 4 = 8. The double was hidden until you moved 1 counter
over from the bigger to the smaller group.
• Use the counters to set up another hidden double for your child: 5 + 7 = ____
• Move 1 of the counters over from the bigger group to the smaller group.
Suddenly, the size of each group is the same, and your child knows the answer
because he knows that 6 + 6 = 12. The double was hidden until you moved 1 counter
over from the bigger to the smaller group.
• Ask your child to use the counters to find some other hidden doubles. She may
find 1 + 3, and 2 + 4 and 4 + 6 and 5 + 7 and 6 + 8 and 7 + 9 and 8 + 10 and 9 + 11
and 11 + 13. Write them down as she finds them. Some of these addition facts are
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School Math
hard to remember, but if you think of them as hidden doubles, they are easy.
• Look at all the hidden doubles you have written down. See if you can see
the pattern. For example: 1 + 3. Look at the first number and count: 1, 2, 3.
The middle number, the one you DON’T see in the question, is the number
you double to get the answer. Another example is 4 + 6. Look at the smaller
number and count up: 4, 5, 6. The middle number, the one you DON’T see in the
question, is the number you double to get the answer.
Make a poster to show the hidden doubles.
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School Math
Activity 37
Addition Facts:
Nearly Double
Use what you know about doubles to find the answers.
• Use the counters to set up this question for your child: 3 + 4 = ____
• Move 1 of the counters away from the bigger group.
• Do you see the double 3? Push them together to show the total of 6.
• Add the 1 back in, to show 7 in all.
• Set up a harder question: 7 + 8 = ___.
• Move 1 of the counters away from the bigger group.
• Do you see the double 7? Push them together to show the total of 14.
• Add the 1 back in, to show 15 in all.
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• Ask your child to use the counters to find some other sums that are nearly
doubles. She may find 6 + 5 and 3 + 4 and 8 + 9 and 10 + 11. Write them down
as she finds them. Some of these addition facts are hard to remember, but if you
think of them as nearly doubles, they are easy.
• Look at all the nearly doubles you have written down. See if you can see the
pattern.
Make a poster to show the near doubles.
Activity 38
Numbers Up and
Down
The game can be used by kids with a range of adding and subtracting skills. The
most important thing is to make it fun. Kids can play at a less skillful level by
counting out their turns, while parents can model higher level skills by thinking out
loud as they take their turn. When the kids are ready, they’ll start to use the skills
that their parents model.
This game depends totally on luck, with no strategy involved. This means that little
kids have as much chance of winning as bigger kids or parents.
• Copy the game board on the next page onto heavy cardboard.
• You will need 1 dice for the easy versions, 2 for the harder versions, and a game
piece for each player (could be a coin or a button or anything that will fit on the
squares).
• Play: Throw the dice to see who goes first. The player with the highest number
starts. The first player throws 1 dice, and moves his game piece forward the
number of squares thrown. The next person takes a turn and does the same. The
first person to get past 100 wins the game.
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School Math
Make it easier
Cut the game board off at square 50. The game will be shorter.
Make it harder
Start at square 100, throw the dice, and count down or subtract. First one to get
past 1 is the winner.
Use 2 dice for the game. The numbers to count and add or subtract will be bigger.
Use 2 dice of different colours. Each player throws both dice, and moves the game
piece forward the number on the white dice and backward the number on the red
dice.
Model higher math skills
Think out loud as you play your turn. Here are some examples.
• If the child is at the level of counting out every play, you might say, “I’m on
square 22 and I threw a 5. 2 + 5 is 7. I think I’ll land on square 27. Let’s see. I’ll
count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5—and look where I am. I was right!” (And you could be wrong,
sometimes, too.)
• If the child can do some adding, but has a hard time with the bigger numbers,
show him some strategies by thinking out loud on your turn. Some examples:
“I’m on square 29 and I threw 11. Let’s see. First I’ll add the 10. That makes
39. Then I’ll add the 1. That’s 40. So let me check. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
10—that’s 39 and 1 more is 40. I was right!”
“I’m on square 47 and I threw a 9. Let’s see. I’ll add 10 and subtract 1, and
that should be the same as adding 9. Okay, 47 plus 10 is 57, subtract 1 is 56.
So let me check. I’ll count up. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9—and here I am at 56. I
was right!”
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School Math
Activity 39
Double, Double…
How many folds can you make?
You will need a large sheet of paper (like the outside sheet of a newspaper).
• Double it over (fold it in half). How many layers are there? Can you tear it along
the fold?
• Double it again. How many layers? Can you tear it along the fold?
• Double it again. How many layers? Can you tear it along the fold?
• Keep doubling it and counting the layers. How many doubles will it take before
you can’t tear it any more? How many layers of paper is that?
How far can you go?
You will need an egg carton and a bag of unpopped popcorn, dried beans, or
macaroni. (The smaller the item, the farther you have to count before the cup is too
full to hold the next double.)
• Put a piece of popcorn or macaroni or a bean in the first egg cup.
• Double that in the second cup (2 pieces).
• Double that in the third cup (4 pieces).
• Keep on doubling the pieces as you move from cup to cup. How far can you go
before the cup is too small to hold all the pieces?
Double the money
See the section on money (Activity 13) for a real-life lesson on doubling.
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School Math
Activity 40
Two Times Table
For the two times table, double to get the answer.
To show the 2 times tables, you will need some sheets of regular graph paper, or the
paper on the next page, which has larger squares.
• Fold the paper along any line.
• Colour in 1 square along the fold. Cut out the square, but don’t cut along the fold
line. Open it up. What do you see? Two squares. 2 × 1 = 2. Double 1 is 2.
• Back at the folded paper. Colour in 2 squares along the fold. Cut out the squares.
Open it up. What do you see? Four squares. 2 × 2 = 4. Double 2 is 4.
• Back at the folded paper. Colour in 3 squares along the fold. Cut out the squares.
Open it up. What do you see? Six squares. 2 × 3 = 6. Double 3 is 6. And so on.
• Make a display of the cut-outs, each one marked with its number sentence, for
example, 2 × 3 = 6.
Kids may want to colour the other half a different colour as it is revealed. It doesn’t
matter what shape the initial coloured block is, so long as at least 1 square is along
the fold. Any of the following will be good:
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School Math
Activity 41
Four Times Table
The four times table is double, double!
You will need some regular graph paper, or the paper on the next page, which has
larger squares.
• Fold the paper along any line that goes across the page. Then fold again on any
line that goes up and down.
• Start at the point of the double fold. Colour in 1 square. Cut out the square,
through all the layers. Open the first fold. Double 1 is 2. Colour the 1 square
that has just been opened up. Open the second fold. Double again is 4. 4 × 1 = 4.
Double 1, then double again. Colour the two 1’s that have been opened up.
• Back at the flat paper. Double the paper twice, as before. Start at the point of
the double fold. Colour in 2 squares. Cut out the squares, through all the layers.
Open the first fold. Double 2 is 4. Colour the 2 squares that have just been
opened up. Open the second fold. Double again is 8. 4 × 2 = 8. Double 2, then
double again. Colour the two 2’s that have been opened up.
• Back at the flat paper. Double the paper twice, as before. Start at the point of
the double fold. Colour in 3 squares. Cut out the squares, through all the layers.
Open the first fold. Double 3 is 6. Colour the 3 that have just been opened up.
Open the second fold. Double again is 12. 4 × 3 = 12. Double 3, then double
again. Colour the two 3’s that have been opened up. And so on.
• Make a display of the cut-outs, each one marked with its number sentence.
It doesn’t matter what shape the initial coloured block is, so long as at least 1
square is on both fold lines:
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School Math
Activity 42
Nine Times Table
Read your hands for the nine times table
The special pattern of the 9 times tables lets us use our fingers to read the answers.
Follow the drawings on your own fingers:
Lay your hands flat
on the table.
Think about 2 × 9. Start from
the left and count each finger.
When you get to 2, tuck that
finger down. Then you can read
the answer to the question. Count the fingers to the left of the finger you tucked in.
That is the first digit. Count the fingers to the right of the finger tucked in. That is
the second digit. Count your thumbs as fingers. (Never count the finger you tuck in;
it just separates the first digit from the second digit.) Let’s do one more, 4 × 9 = ________
Lay your hands flat on the table. Think about 4 × 9. Start from the left and count
each finger. When you get to 4, tuck that finger down. Read your hands: 3 to the left
of the tucked finger and 6 to the right of the tucked finger. Answer: 36. (Remember
not to count what you tuck in; it just separates the first digit from the second digit.)
Count your thumbs as fingers.
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School Math
5 × 9 = ________
Lay your hands flat on the table. Think about 5 × 9. Start from the left and count
each finger. When you get to 5 (your left thumb), tuck it down. Read your hands: 4
to the left of the tucked thumb, and 5 to the right of the tucked thumb. Answer: 45.
(Remember not to count what you tuck in; it just separates the first digit from the
second digit.)
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Appendix A
Making a Book
You could make a book with your child, or help an older child make a book for a
younger child. There are many ways of making a book.
Report Cover
A report cover is a clear plastic folder with a plastic spine that holds pages you put
inside the folder. Buy them anywhere you buy school supplies. They are great for
use with either plain paper or card stock. If you are using cardstock, score it down
the left margin, making a strip just a little wider than the plastic binder strip that
comes with the report folder. This will allow the card stock pages to open easily.
Folded and Stapled Book
If you have a stapler with a long arm, start by folding each sheet of paper, and
the cover, in half. Open the sheets, pile them up on top of each other, and use the
stapler to put 2 or 3 staples along the fold line. Then fold the book closed. The staple
should have the smooth side on the outside of the book. Usually this means you
would lay the pages in the stapler with the fold up.
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Appendix A
Book with Brads or Rings
If you are using card stock for the cover or the inside pages, score the cardstock
down the left side of each page, 2 or 3 cm from the edge. Use the margin to punch
holes for the rings, or to place the brads. The score lines will help the book open
easily. Paper does not have to be scored.
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Appendix B
Books
These are arranged by subject. The ones with aboriginal content are marked
with a star (*).
Card Games
Card Games for Smart Kids by Margie Golick. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1998.
Deal Me In! The Use of Playing Cards in Learning and Teaching by Margie Golick.
J. Norton Publishers, 1988.
Counting Books
Bea’s 4 Bears by Martha Weston. Clarion Books, 1992. Counts from 4 to 0 and back
up.
*Colours of the Islands by Dawn Adams. Faculty of Education, University of B.C.
Counts animals of the northwest coast from 1 to 10.
I Spy Two Eyes: Numbers in Art by Lucy Micklethwait. Greenwillow Books, 1993.
Counts 1–20.
Next Please by Ernst Jandl and Norman Junge. Hutchinson, 2001. Counts from 5
down as various toys wait to see the doctor.
No Dodos: A Counting Book of Endangered Animals by Amanda Wallwork.
Scholastic, 1993. Counts from 10 to 0.
One Big Building: A Counting Book about Construction by Michael Dahl. Picture
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Appendix B
Window Books, 2004. Counts 1–12.
One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Thong. Chronicle Books, 2004.
Counts from 1 to 10.
Six Snowy Sheep by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler. Puffin
Books, 1994. This tongue twister counts down from 6.
Spinderella by Julia Donaldson. Crabtree, 2006. A spider discovers the joy of
numbers.
Ten Cats Have Hats: A Counting Book by Jean Marzollo. Scholastic, 1994. Counts 1
to 10.
Ten Go Tango! by Arthur Dorros. HarperCollins, 2000. Ten sets of animals do
different dances.
Ten Little Angels by Andra Simmons. Harcourt, 2001. Counts 1 to 10.
Ten Sly Piranhas: A Counting Story in Reverse, a Tale of Wickedness and Worse! by
William Wise. Penguin, 1993. Counts back from 10 to 0.
*Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons by Joseph
Bruchac and Jonathan London. Philomel Books. The 13 months of the lunar
calendar.
The Timbertoes 1 2 3 Counting Book. Boyds Mills Press, 1997. A family goes
through the day from 1 to 12.
Shapes
Cones by Nathan Olson. Capstone Press, 2008. Cubes and Cylinders and Pyramids
and Spheres are four other books by the same author.
*Long Ago Sewing We Will Remember: The Story of the Gwich’in Traditional
Caribou Skin Clothing Project by Judy Thompson. Canadian Museum of
Civilization, 2005. Includes patterns for traditional clothing and beadwork.
Round and Round and Round by Tana Hoban. Greenwillow Books, 1983. Large
colour photos of things you see every day that are round. No words. Two
similar books by the same author are So Many Circles, So Many Squares and
Circles, Triangles, and Squares.
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Appendix B
Shapes by Ivan Bulloch. Action Math Series. Thomson Learning, 1994.
The Shapes We Eat by Simone T. Ribke. Children’s Press, 2005.
Triangles by Sarah Schuette. Capstone Press, 2003.
Homework
How to Do Homework without Throwing Up by Trevor Romain. Free Spirit, 1997.
Funny book that gives helpful advice about doing homework. See also the
video by the same name.
Research ate my brain: the panic-proof guide to surviving homework. Toronto Public
Library. Annick Press, 2005.
Surviving Homework: Tips from Teens by Amy Nathan. Millbrook Press, 1996. The
book offers tips from 300 top high school juniors and seniors.
Other Math Ideas
Big Numbers: And Pictures That Show Just How Big They Are! by Edward Packard.
Millbrook Press, 2000.
Each Orange Had 8 Slices: A Counting Book by Paul Giganti, Jr. Greenwillow
Books, 1992. Counting or multiplying the parts of things. For example, a
page with several clowns, each holding bunches of balloons asks, “How many
clowns? How many bunches of balloons? How many balloons?”
The Great Math Tattle Battle by Anne Bowen. A. Whitman, 2006. Two kids learn to
stop tattling while doing math.
Hat Tricks Count: A Hockey Number Book by Matt Napier. Sleeping Bear Press,
2005. Numbers introduce rules, history and famous names in hockey.
Math for Smarty Pants by Marilyn Burns. Little, Brown, 1982. Lots of puzzles and
patterns and things to do for kids who are good readers.
Mission Addition by Loreen Leedy. Holiday House, 1997. A class gets introduced to
addition facts and solves a mystery.
The Mission of Addition by Brian P. Cleary. Millbrook Press, 2005. Fun ways to
learn addition.
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Appendix B
One More Bunny: Adding from One to Ten by Rick Walton. Harper Festival, 2001.
Addition facts 1 to 10.
Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland: A Math Adventure by Cindy
Neuschwander. Charlesbrige, 2001. A boy goes on a quest and uses angles to
find his way through the forest and into the dungeon. There are other math
adventures with Sir Cumference by the same author.
Slumber Party Problem Solving by Brian Sargent. Children’s Press, 2006. A young
girl gets ready for a sleep-over by figuring out how many sleeping bags,
stuffed toys, pizza, etc. she’ll need for herself and 3 guests.
Subtracting and Taking Away by Richard Leffingwell. Heinemann Library, 2006.
The Sundae Scoop by Stuart J. Murphy. Harper Collins, 2003. Possible
combinations of ice cream, sauce and topping.
Ten Times Better by Richard Michelson. Marshall Cavendish, 2000. Numbers 1 to
10 each multiplied by 10 as animals vie to be bigger and better.
Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do by Stuart J. Murphy. Harper Collins, 1996.
Australian animals throw a birthday party for the kangaroo. Introduces the
1, 2, 3, and 4 times tables up to 4 × 4.
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Appendix C
Online Links
The following are interactive sites, not places to print out worksheets. These are
arranged by subject. The ones with aboriginal content are marked with a star (*).
Beading
Aunt Molly’s Bead Street. http://home.flash.net/~mjtafoya/home.htm
*Beadwork designer. Native Tech Native American Technology and Art. Design a
bead or loom project. http://www.nativetech.org/beadwork/beadgraph/index.html
Big Numbers
The MegaPenny Project. Kokogiak Media. An award-winning site with lots of ways
to look at big numbers. http://www.kokogiak.com/megapenny/nineteen.asp
Charts and Graphs
National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives. Utah State University http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/frames_asid_323_g_1_t_5.html
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Appendix C
Games
*Basket Concentration. http://www.nativetech.org/basketry/gameindex.html
Change Maker. FunBrain. http://fen.funbrain.com/cashreg/index.html
Frog Puzzle. David Hallam. Move the frogs to the other side of the pond. http://www.hellam.net/maths2000/frogs.html
Fun Brain. Pearson Education. http://fen.funbrain.com/brain/MathBrain/MathBrain.html
Math Cats. Wendy A. Petti. http://www.mathcats.com/
*Math Central, University of Regina. http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/RR/database/RR.09.00/treptau1/index.html
*Native American Technology and Art. http://nativetech.org/games/index.php
Stock Market. Nova. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/stockmarket/virtual.html
Models and Demonstrations
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
http://illuminations.nctm.org/ActivitySearch.aspx
National Library of Virtual Manipulatives. Utah State University. http://nlvm.usu.edu/
a² + b² = c². Nova. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/proof/puzzle/theorem.html
(a + b)². NCTM. http://illuminations.nctm.org/ActivityDetail.aspx?ID=127
Number Operations (Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide)
Wendy Sawatsky. University of Regina. Check the section on numbers and
operations for games to play. http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/RR/database/RR.09.99/sawatzky1/
A plus Math. http://www.aplusmath.com/Games/index.html
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Appendix C
Origami
Rick Nordal. http://www.geocities.com/snowflakegame/
Per Cents
David Hallam. Estimate what per cent of a bar is shaded. http://mathematics.hellam.net/maths2000/percent1.html
David Hallam. Estimate what per cent of a pie is shaded. http://www.interactivestuff.org/sums4fun/pietest.html
Rhymes and Songs
KIDiddles. If you search the word “one” you will find many number songs and
rhymes. www.kididdles.com/mouseum
*NWT Literacy Council. http://www.nwt.literacy.ca/famlit/123rhyme/rhymes/rhymes.pdf
Telling Time
Matching game by David Hallam. Matches face clocks to digital clock times. http://www.interactivestuff.org/match/maker.phtml?featured=1&id=12
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Appendix D
DVDs and Videos
The following list of math DVDs and videos has been roughly divided according to
grade level. The best way to find math DVDs and videos for kids is to ask at your
local library. You don’t have to pay to borrow them, and usually you can have them
for about a week. If you’d like to see one from the list below, ask your librarian to
get it for you by inter-library loan.
Pre-school Children
JibberBoosh, Brain Games & Silly Stuff. 2002. Cerebellum Corp. 30 min.
Math Circus. 2004. Warner Home Video. 35 min.
Mickey’s Reading & Math Fun; Mickey and the Beanstalk. 2005. Walt Disney Home Entertainment. 78 min.
Kindergarten to about Grade 3
Count on Math. 2004. Disney. A series by Disney Educational Productions. Titles include Exploring Geometry, 36 min.; Organizing Data, 13 min.; Solving Equations, 12 min.
Donald in Mathmagic Land. Disney Educational Productions. 2004, 1959. 26 min.
Get Ready for Math. Western Publishing Company. c1986. Golden Book Video. 27 min.
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Appendix D
Math for Children. 2004. A series produced by Stone House Productions, Schlessinger Media,. Titles include Addition, Division, Fractions, Geometry, Measurement, Money, Multiplication, Number Sense, Subtraction, Telling Time.
*Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back. 1992. Retold by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London. Spoken Arts. 17 min.
Working with Numbers. 1991. Western Publishing Company. Golden Book Video. 30 min.
Grade 4 and Up
Basic Math (The Zany World of Basic Math). 1997. Cerebellum Corp. 105 min.
Cyberchase. Totally Rad. 2004. PBS Kids. 80 min.
Hip Hop Homeroom: Math Made Fun. 2006. Blast Films. 40 min.
Math Challenge. 2004. The series features Dr. Strangeglove and secret agent Matt Mattics. Titles include Decimals, Equations, Fractions, Percentages. 10–15 min. each.
Math Curse. 1998. Canadian Learning Company. 30 min.
Math—Who Needs It! with Jaime Escalante. 1991. FASE Productions. 58 min.
How to Do Homework without Throwing Up. 2004 Comical Sense Co. See also the book of the same name by Trevor Romain.
For Teachers and Parents
Thinking with Numbers. 2007. WGBH Boston Video. 404 min.
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