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Looking to do some *relaxed* math here, want to share ideas?

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#151 JMGrunw


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Posted 12 January 2016 - 01:20 PM

I haven't read all of the responses, but my DD (who is not a math fan on the whole) really likes Hands-On Equations and Challenge 24.  The latter has really helped with her fact fluency and confidence.  She also enjoys learning math through music (rhythm = fractions).     

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#152 desertflower


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Posted 12 January 2016 - 01:28 PM

How do you learn math through music?  Metronome?

#153 JMGrunw


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Posted 12 January 2016 - 01:35 PM

How do you learn math through music?  Metronome?

DD's teacher had them compose songs and then write out the scores, so they were learning music note values as fractions (dotted half note = 3 beats out of 4) and seeing a practical and interesting application.

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#154 Sarah0000


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Posted 22 January 2016 - 02:16 PM

We accidentally came up with a math game this week that would fit for preschool through maybe first grade math. As people are walking around the house I'll randomly ask a question like "How many hands are in the living room now?" and my preschooler will figure out the answer. He likes to stand right next to the kitchen and put different parts of his body through the doorway so that he sometimes counts by two then adds on one. It's especially fun as the baby wanders aimlessly between rooms. There's lots of room for creativity and movement, and no set up or clean up.

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#155 mathwonk


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Posted 25 January 2016 - 08:36 PM

wow this may be my favorite thread here!  i am a professional mathematician but i also get stressed by boring calculations and difficult reasoning, even though i say i love math.  i guess i really love the parts that are easy for me and that i am good at, but i have learned to work a bit every so often at the parts that are harder for me.  so i could like kevins moms post as well as opposite ones.


my first idea was to ask the kiddo what day of the he was born on, and gradually help him solve that problem by noticing that after 365 days the week day changes only by one, so that if his birthday was on tuesday in 2014 then it was on wednesday in 2015.  then of course there is the wrinkle of leap years, where it changes by 2.  this is an introduction to the beautiful and useful math idea of casting out nines, or in this case, casting out sevens, and in math - speak: "modular arithmetic"


 i also can't help being gobsmacked by how much work you guys put into your teaching,  your kids are soooooooo lucky.


finally, i always found harold jacobs' books just intrinsically fun treatments of algebra and geometry.  i mean when about 1/5 of the book is taken up by funny cartoons and photos, when i open it it for the first few zillion times i just looked and laughed at the cartoons.  and i am, as i said, a professional math geek.  i still remember the picture and story about the world's biggest ball of string, that he uses to make the volume of a sphere interesting and fun.  in fact all the topics are introduced cleverly like that.  and there are plenty of easy as well as a few challenging problems in each chapter.


ok, this is a great thread indeed.  when i teach a young person math i just search until i find a topic the kid likes and run with that.  e.g. when i had a student who wanted to learn calciulus but really preferred physics, i searched online until i found discussions of how archimedes used a balance beam to find volumes and i learned that and then taught it to him.  even though he was brilliant he still got bored just plowing through even an excellent book.  one day he said "can we talk about something other than calculus" and brought up a conjecture he had made about fibonacci numbers, so we discussed that for several days, eventually proving it!  later when he applied to a prestigious program and they wanted to know "research" what he had done he used that project as his example.



thanks for this discussion and the spirit behind it.

Edited by mathwonk, 29 January 2016 - 02:03 PM.

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#156 tuongtrante1


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Posted 16 June 2016 - 04:08 PM

that is a neat idea. I'll have to run that by him.
sent from my nho ninh thuận using Iphone 5s


Edited by tuongtrante1, 16 June 2016 - 04:10 PM.

#157 mayath


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Posted 17 June 2016 - 06:55 AM

I'm all about building a math culture at home so that kids begin to realize that math can be fun. We used to live in the US but moved to Singapore about six years ago. I find moms in Singapore so interesting because they are so focused on deliberately building math-rich homes in so many interesting ways. From weaving math into conversations to playing games that increase math skills (chess is huge here, as are tangrams, robotics, scratch, sudoku, board games etc.), they do a lot to immerse children in math-rich worlds.

And of course, Singapore math is pretty intense, so kids also do a lot of structured math with lots of challenging word problems. (When I looked at the math tests that young kids here do, I almost fainted -- it's very intense -- I would say about two to years ahead of what kids do in American public schools.)

In fact, I was so struck by the differences between what moms here do compared to the moms I met in the US that I wrote a book about it (Beyond The Tiger Mom)! 

To answer your question, I think that relaxed math can be in the form of games that enhance calculation skills, problem solving skills, and visual-spatial skills (chess, tangrams, puzzles, sudoku, robotics etc.). Some online math games might also work - Sumdog, Mathletics, Khan Academy, Splash Math etc.


Edited by mayath, 17 June 2016 - 10:27 AM.

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#158 Boymom3


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Posted 14 July 2016 - 07:00 AM

This is EXACTLY what we have needed in our math lives!!! Such a wealth of knowledge. Thank you!!!

#159 JamesCarl


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Posted 09 August 2016 - 05:38 PM

Wow great idea, thanks for sharing this info with all.

#160 JamesHenry


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Posted 12 August 2016 - 07:26 AM

Great topic....thanks for sharing this info with all.

Edited by JamesHenry, 02 September 2016 - 05:01 AM.

#161 knitgrl


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Posted 31 December 2016 - 08:52 AM

My ds9, who has always loved math has recently decided he doesn't like it at all. I've tried making it harder, easier, shorter, different format no matter. The only math that he doesn't hate right now is games and such. I've tried talking to him to figure out what is going on but I've not made any progress.


My guess is that the more in-depth problems were taxing his weak working memory(tested) and I think he was tired of being frustrated. I know I could be the tough mama and just make him do it but him enjoying math is a higher priority, math has always been his greatest strength and he literally squeals at the mention of STEM, which obviously requires Math. 


I'm thinking we will continue working on fluency through games- we can work on +/-, x/div, per/frac/dec w/ our RS games. I was also thinking about establishing a little store for school time to work on money, % and decimals.  Maybe letting him work part of the grocery budget. Perhaps, work on some building projects for practice measuring? He has a Popular Mechanic for kids book that has several projects he wants to do.  I mentioned these ideas this morning and he was super exicted about it all and wanted to start right away. 


Any other ideas- I was thinking I'd google later today.


I'm hoping to get back to it being fun and increasing his fluency and speed w/ his facts to make things a bit easier. We've hardly taken any breaks from Math and he tested well so I think we can afford to take a bit of time. We're a bit over half-way through our main math program for this year- RSE. I thought about taking a full break but I think that would be worse in the long run as it is hard for him to build fluency to begin with and I I don't want to make things harder as Math is obviously not something we can just stop doing long term.


You are getting a million great ideas, and I am probably a less experienced hs mom than you, so I won't add my two cents with additional suggestions. But, the following blog post might be an encouragement when contemplating going off-curriculum. It sounds like you have very similar plans to what she describes, but it's always nice to have some affirmation.



#162 TeacherWise


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Posted 31 January 2017 - 11:51 PM

There are already a lot of really great ideas on here.  I made note of a few to keep for reference when my kids get a little older.  Someone mentioned math while cooking or at the grocery store, I found this article that describes what that might look like.   https://www.lessonpl...-place-for-math

#163 Runningmom80


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Posted 05 February 2017 - 07:01 PM

I found Mariyln Burns' two math books as a free pdf download for anyone who is interested.  I hate Mathematics and Math for Smarty Pants.





Thank you SO much!!

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#164 bertus


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Posted 17 February 2017 - 06:31 AM

Same as Kevin´s Mom: I do think Math is just not a game, though it can be much more fun than Kumon, for example. So that´s why I have been using SmartickMethod for a while now. So impressed.

"Suck it up, Buttercup" has its place here too now and then. But with some kids, there is no "just learn it and do it" about it. And even if a resistant kid can be dutifully made to comply, in my opinion, there is nothing virtuous about making math merely tolerable when, with a little effort and change in perspective, it can be made a joy. I will take my chances on engagement being the reward for the virtue of honoring my kids' needs.


#165 suenos


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Posted 24 April 2017 - 06:56 PM

Found an app for practicing multiplication table memorization that turned out to be a hit in our house:


SlimCricket's Mathemagics (YouTube ad)


It is just for memory, not concept building.  Story based and cute - great for my narrative learner. 


And then just to hit the other side of things - I've had fun reading research by Jo Boaler - Fluency Without Fear: Research Evidence on the Best Ways to Learn Math Facts and the provocative book by Andrew Hacking (The Math Myth and other STEM Delusions)- just tossing those out there as supportive/thought provoking rabbit trails for parents on a less formal/not mainstream approach to math learning. 


This thread has been so helpful to me - I wanted to contribute something for you all!  



#166 TeacherWise


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Posted 27 April 2017 - 01:35 PM

Love all of the great ideas on this thread!


#167 bluejay


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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:32 AM

Relaxed math to us is math used in games and everyday life.  We love to cook, so we do math in the kitchen.  We play make-believe store.  The kids love to do math with money.  We also do fun math with pies and other favorite foods. And we play kid-friendly board games and card games. 

#168 ScoutTN


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Posted 13 July 2017 - 04:52 PM

Bumping b/c I have seen several threads related to this recently.  :)

I thought this one was pinned?!

Edited by ScoutTN, 13 July 2017 - 04:53 PM.

#169 OneStepAtATime


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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:31 PM

Yeah, it WAS pinned. What happened?

#170 goldenecho


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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:51 PM

If you need to work on any of the rote "math facts" memorization still, I have some suggestions for making those more fun.


My son liked practicing addition  facts while jumping on the bed.   I think the physical activity helped jog his brain in addition to being more fun. 


We've also started using Addition Facts that Stick and Subtraction Facts that Stick, which mainly uses games to teach (after a short lesson). 


Another thing that worked with a girl I tutored for rote math was we would do a "math walk."  It was basically a way to make flash cards more fun.  I would have her choose a direction to go, then pick a random flash card, and whatever the answer was she would walk in that direction.   It was fun to see where it took us.