Friday, March 22, 2013


With two girls at different grade levels, it's a treat (for everyone!) when they get to do math together. Math is usually a solo affair, with just a kid, her work, and a Momma to keep her on task, but when I tell them that they'll be doing math together that day, they know what that means:

A big project, something edible, a field trip, a movie, or a game!!!

A few weeks ago, Hand2Mind gave us some school materials, including The Super Source Base Ten Blocks, Grades 3-4 that Willow and I have been playing with. It occurred to me, though, that many of the fun activities that Will and I are doing from the book are actually quite suitable for Sydney, too. There is grade-level computation involved, but a lot of the especially earlier activities in the book are primarily geared towards hands-on investigation of a mathematical concept, internalizing certain rules that will make mastering that skill easier later.

Such it was with Put-in-Place, the game from the book that Sydney, Willow, and I have been playing for math on odd days. It requires counting by tens and ones, but it also requires estimation, prediction, and exchanging units for tens:

This game is really great for Sydney right now, since she's actually working on ten exchanges and multi-digit addition right this minute, but Willow is such an inherent pattern-reader that it turned out to be a good brain-stretching activity for her, too. But the very best part of this game for me, though, is that it requires nothing but Base Ten blocks, a die, and a place value mat photocopied or downloaded from another source. I've regularly used our homeschool budget to build a large set of Base Ten blocks, and I'm always pleased to find new ways to use them.

And I'm also giving my kids a head start at becoming really good at Blackjack, of course.

In other news, we can finally use our shower and toilet inside our own house again! Our lousy sewer pipes may well win the war, but at least we finally broke this particular siege against us.


Tina said...

We have Base Ten Blocks but they intimidate me so I haven't started using them yet. I really need to just pull them out and play with them. The girls seem to really like them.

julie said...

Base Ten blocks and Cuisenaire rods DO seem to be our math manipulatives of choice, don't they? When I first bought them I was afraid that I wouldn't get much use out of them, either!

And yeah, I think that just strewing them or playing with them yourself is a really valuable introduction. Sydney can tell you that the blocks make excellent toy pony stables and fencing, too!