I was contacted recently by Education.com requesting that I post one of their hand-on activities. Since a component of blogging I truly value is supporting others on a similar journey, I decided to agree !

Okay, checking addition problems can be boring. Solving a math problem twice can be tedious. But finding the total weight of a group of family members can be hilarious, especially if your child is calculating and estimating the weight of a diverse group of subjects, like an 8 lb. cat, a 22 lb. toddler, and a 180 lb. grandpa!

This hands-on activity gives your child an opportunity to apply various strategies to solve a problem and to check if his answer makes sense. Plus, it’s a great way for family members to help your child solve a “weighty” problem.

What You Need:

Bathroom scale

Paper

Pencil

Family members

What You Do:

Have your child record the weight of several willing family members. Have a scale available, if needed. These family members can include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt and uncles, cousins and pets.

Ask your child to add up the weights of all the participants to find the total number of pounds the group weighs.

Using estimation, have your child check to see if his calculated results are reasonable. Suggest to your child that he first estimate the weight of each individual to the nearest ten pounds or five pounds. This is especially important if the individual is a pet. Sometimes it’s hard for kids to estimate the weight of adults. If your child’s estimation is not reasonable, suggest a more reasonable number. Then ask him to add all of the estimated numbers together.

Have your child compare his estimation to his calculation. Discuss the use of estimation to verify, or check, calculations. Give examples of how this tool can be helpful in real world situations. If you’d like to extend the activity, start thinking about multiplication and division. How many cats would weigh the same a grandpa? How many baby sisters would weigh the same as Dad? Have fun calculating the numbers, and with your family, too!

I don’t really teach my daughter math. Well, sometimes I do, informally, when the perfect opportunity to strengthen and connect a math skill to real life comes up, but most of the time, I don’t. I trust her teachers.

But there is one thing I try to make sure : that she has plenty of opportunities to explore math concepts at her pace. Away from peer pressure, or time pressure, she can model, draw, write equations. Few minutes here and there. Once a week.

I recently made a video of how we do that, with the example of my child exploring one of the Time 4 Fractions problems (Problem 10) in a meaningful way for her as recommended in Carpenter et al., 2014. And her Mom following her reasoning. Now, bear with me, it is quite unnatural to me to speak English to my child, but I thought the video could help you see what our journeys, such as Time 4 Fractions, or WedWoPro are about.

Enjoy !

Reference:

Carpenter, T., Fennema, E., Franke, M., Levi, L. and Empson S. (2014). Children’s Mathematics, Second Edition: Cognitively Guided Instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. ISBN-13:978-0325052878.

Spotting anything related to Math, and take a picture of it : “Click” is a quick picture-post to help you show our kids that Math is indeed all around.

Spotting anything related to Math, and take a picture of it : “Click” is a quick picture-post to help you show our kids that Math is indeed all around.

Welcome to France where the metric system is used everywhere !

How many feet before the left lane ends ? How many yards?

Spotting anything related to Math, and take a picture of it : “Click” is a quick picture-post to help you show our kids that Math is indeed all around.

How can we share these goodies between the two of us ? Between the four of us?

PS: If you follow our Time 4 Fractions journey, this is how my daughter, having to share these 3 goodies with her brother a few months ago, realized that the third piece could be cut in halves. Alas, the remainder used to be for me 🙂

Spotting anything related to Math, and take a picture of it : “Click” is a quick picture-post to help you show your kids that Math is indeed all around.

Who hasn’t done that as a kid? How old was the tree???

Spotting anything related to Math, and take a picture of it : “Click” is a quick picture-post to help you show your kids that Math is indeed all around.

I know, with GPS and Google Maps, paper maps may look outmoded. But I loved doing this as a kid with my grandfather, adding the miles from each segment of the road (well, kilometers, I grew up in France) and find out how far this town was from that town? Find a longest road, a shortest path, reach another town. Who knows, our kids may get hooked too ?