Soooo...I needed to count and stamp like a kajillion postcards. The girl was jonesin' to make some money. I had the thought there was some math to be made in the process. It was a match made in heaven if there ever was one.
Mama: "How many tens make one hundred? We'll count out piles of ten postcards, put ten piles of ten in each column and see how many hundreds we have."
Daughter: "And ten hundreds make a thousand!"
Mama: "Well, I hope I don't have to buy that many stamps."
Mama: "How many do we have now?"
Daughter: "Two hundred and one."
Mama: "Remember, each pile is made of ten postcards..."
Daughter: "Two hundred ten!! And when we're done with this you'll give me a dollar, no, three dollars!"
Mama: "Well, it depends on how long this takes, and we still have to put on the stamps."
Mama: "How many more tens do we need to go from four hundred eighty to five hundred?"
Daughter: "Two!" [Yelling through the house] "Papa! Papa! We're almost at five hundred!"
Papa: "Wow, that's half way to a thousand."
Mama: "Look at how many postcards we have left to count. How many postcards will we have all together when we're done counting?"
Daughter: "Oh, at least a thousand."
Mama: "Let's count the columns of ten. How many postcards to we have?"Daughter: "One hundred, two hundred, three hundred...six hundred and three!"
Mama: "Go get your slate....Okay, how many hundreds do we have?"Daughter: "Six."
Mama: "Okay, write that down. How many tens?"
Mama: "How many single postcards do we have?"
Mama: "And that's how you write out six hundred three. Hundreds, tens, and ones."
Daughter: "When do I get paid?"
Epilogue #1: She got a disappointing (to her) $.75 for this part of the part of the project, which took about 20 minutes. "But remember," I said, "We still have to put on all six hundred and three stamps. That will take quite a while." She was so excited about earning money she offered to fold the laundry to earn more, which led to adding up the contents of her money jar.
Epilogue #2: I know I said recently that I didn't think we needed to rush the math to the page just yet. It's just that this situation was so perfect for introducing how to write numerals in the hundreds.
Epilogue #3 (August 24): We've stamped two thirds of the postcards and the stamped piles are made up of 200 postcards each. The unstamped postcards are still in piles of 100. She was trying to figure out how many we had left to stamp. I pointed out that you can count by twos -- two hundred, four hundred...etc. She listens to my semi-lame explanation and then says, "That's a great deal of learning on how to count faster." Ha!