Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feeling the Power of Math

LC: "Did you feel my power?"

(Yes. Power at her fingertips, thanks to static electricity! She always asks this question when she delivers a bit of shock, it makes me laugh.)

I sat LC down twice (about 5 minutes each time) and taught her the basic concept of adding and subtracting...using whole grain oats Cheerios (still one of her favorite snacks, since she was a tot). Weeks later, she came up to me, telling me she figured out how to add and subtract numbers by herself. I rarely see her using her fingers to count...so, I asked her if she is doing the math inside her head and she said "no, I just know it."  I don't think she memorized the answers because a) we only sat down twice to do this, a while ago, so it wasn't like daily drills to reinforce the concept...and b) she is using different numbers each time and will respond if I play along and throw in some other numbers, too...and c) she is going a step further in terms of adding three numbers together, not just two...and also telling me various combinations that equal the same number.

(Update: When it got to double digit numbers below...she told me she was counting the holes in the Carr's whole wheat crackers, to add beyond 10.)

For example, here's a snippet of what she recited today...

LC said: "I figure this out...
5 plus 2 is 7
3 plus 2 is 5
2 plus 5 is 7
2 plus 2 plus 1 is 5
9 plus 1 equals 10...
2 plus 2 equals 4 AND 3 plus 1 equals 4
3 plus 3 equals 6 AND 4 plus 2 equals 6
...
5 plus 5 equals 10 AND 9 plus 1 equals 10, why they both equal 10, why???
10 plus 1 is 11...
10 plus 2 is 12...
10 plus 4 is 14...
3 plus 3 plus 3 equal 9
10 take away 1 is 9...
9 take away 1 is 8...
8 take away 1 is 7...
...
If we take one more away from 3 it's 2...
and if we take one more away from 2 it's 1."

When she is ready for fractions...I guess I should buy some interactive math manipulatives, for hands-on self-study. Though pieces of toast and flatbread (and filling a measuring cup) will work pretty well.

Her self-directed interest in numbers (no quizzes, no worksheets, no pressure) started a long time ago with counting (forward and backward) and then writing numbers down...but math also made a surprise appearance when she was creating art, as I posted in July:

http://petekkent.blogspot.com/2012/07/counting-happy-face-people-with-index.html