Every time I wonder if there's anything sinking in, or think that we're not doing 'enough' of the 'right' kind of math, I invariably run across jewels like these which put my mind and heart at ease...at least until the next fallow period.
A week ago we were both playing around with a nice Christmas gift of a felt board, colorful felt triangles and some awesome design cards.
Yesterday I challenged her with some of these designs and watched her approximating and adjusting angles, creating strategies for reproducing the designs, turning and flipping the triangles, and predicting the growth of the triangle pattern in the upper left corner.
Also of note, the child sat herself down today and, after weeks of conversations about what she might want to do with a pool of money collected from various sources (holidays, allowance, odd jobs, etc.), devised this budget. (Annotated translation below.)
It says this:
I have $50
Cocoa [hand-made stuffed kitty] spending $5 [Meaning she's putting aside that money for things it 'needs'.]
Biscuit [lovey kitty] spending $5 ["And then I'll have $15 to spend on myself Mama!"]
Things I need or want too expensive for me: my own ice skates
List of things Biscuit needs: 4 pairs of socks
Me: "Why four pairs?"
Kid: "Because he has four legs, silly!"
Me: "But pairs come in two...does Biscuit have eight legs?"
Kid: "Oh, right! He'll need two pairs of socks!!"
[Me, thinking to myself: iconic multiplication!!]
Things Cocoa needs
We do all kinds of math these days -- reading living math books, games, design activities, drawing, noticing things when we go out, engaging in loooong conversations about the fate of her Christmas money and, yes, some workbook stuff. Taking the long view, I suppose that what I want most for her is that math becomes both useful and personally meaningful for her. I think today proves we're headed in the right direction.