Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tape Chronicles: Math in the Morning

I am a big advocate of supplying children with lots of open ended material and then letting them do what they will.  In my work in schools I use tape and more tape and so there is a lot of extra painters' tape (the low tack kind) hanging around our house. 

We've been getting up kinda extra early since the time change and have had a lot of time on our hands before school.  This morning the kid decided to set up a 'cat store' and, in the process of setting it up, found another interesting use for tape. 

She decided to decorate her 'store' by pulling off long pieces of tape, making them into balls and placing them on the lamp, as shown above.  What intrigued me was the placement of the little tape balls -- it's visually/aesthetically appealing, and quite organized for a little girl whose stuff is usually all over the place. 

I'm tagging this post under "exploring space."


  1. That is super cool. I'll bet Tov would love that. If I can teach him to make is own tape balls, that will keep him extra busy.

  2. Ari, I think tape is one the most wonderful math 'toys' a kid could have. Let me know what Tov comes up with! Start by taping a line down the middle of your kitchen (or wherever) and see what he does with it. A few days later, show him how to take tape off the roll and then just leave him to it! The great thing about painters' tape is that you don't need scissors necessarily to cut it -- easy to tear! Have fun!

  3. ooh, tell us more. Why's it a good math toy?

  4. Hi Sue! That's a great idea for a new post! I'm going to think about this and see what kind of cohesive answer I can come up with. For now, here's a link to some earlier posts on this blog about floor tape that speak to the subject of tape/math: http://mathinyourfeet.blogspot.com/2010/10/floor-tape-how-do-i-love-thee-let-me.html and also http://mathinyourfeet.blogspot.com/2010/10/teaching-below-surface-harnessing-power.html

  5. Tape is one of our favorite toys, too! We give colored tape as a birthday gift, and sometimes people don't get it, but sometimes they LOVE it. Wrapping, tacking, tracking, creating! It's great! (Ok. Maybe not when I have to de-mummify every single tinker toy in our house, but it's worth it!)

  6. This comment thread inspired me. I just now bought 3 different colors of the paint edge tape at an Ace hardware (green and light and dark blue). My son said he didn't want to make roads, and I said, "Well, I do." It only took one minute for him to take over the road project, and here I am, peacefully typing away on the computer. ;^)

    I'm curious what he'll come up with.

    Malke, my son loves cars, and has very little interest in all the math stuff I do. I don't push it, because I trust he'll be fine. But I would love to offer him something, mathematically. I'm thrilled to get him making roads all over our house. :^)

  7. Oh, that is such a great thing to hear!!! I have a big smile on my face! :) I wonder if there is any mapping of his 'work' in his/your future? If he's thinking at all about a storyline while he makes his roads, maybe there's a way to bring it back to the page as a story complete with maps of his city, or whatever.

    Here's a link to some other kind of tape that may or may not be kinder to your floors! http://www.gophersport.com/products/item_detail.cfm?item_id=493&cat_id=141&D=floor+tape&Nty=1&N=0&Dk=0&Ntt=floor+tape


  8. I'm late to the discussion, but better late than never, right? In your post you said " What intrigued me was the placement of the little tape balls -- it's visually/aesthetically appealing, and quite organized for a little girl whose stuff is usually all over the place. " This pretty much crystallized my reaction to my son's play. He is an early riser (I'm not) so gets to spend an hour or so playing by himself with his toys. Every morning I find the family room a complete mess and yet in the middle of it or off to the side or tucked in a corner there's a beautiful and well-organized arrangement of toys, be it his LEGO mini-figs lined up for a parade or his garbage trucks assembled in a sun burst around the favorite truck or his collection of rocks and shells set out in a symmetrical pattern.


Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!


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