Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Trip Math {or} You Can't Get There From Here [#tmwyk]

You know that alphabet game you play on long car trips? You can play it a bunch of ways -- look for a word on a sign that starts with A, then B, etc. or just look out the window and look for things whose names start with A, B, C...

Today my kid and I were driving to the Indianapolis Zoo. It takes over an hour to get there. Near the end she suggested playing the sign version of the alphabet game and I said, "What if we did a math version?!"

She was all for it. Right away she said, "I see angles!"  I don't remember everything but here are some highlights:

[C] Congruent shapes: I found this one and a nice way to introduce that language.

[C] Curves: This was hers. She saw curves in the telephone wires.

[D] Degrees: I saw a 90 degree angle in a roof

[E] Equal: She used this word in relation to the shapes she saw. I mentioned the word congruent again in relation to this idea.

[H] Height: Some trees were higher than others.

[I] Interval: The telephone pole were spaced in equal intervals. In this game I don't think it matters if the adult ends up identifying more things than the child.  It's engaging for everyone to be looking out the window and a great opportunity for talking math with your kids in a low-pressure, (hopefully) highly enjoyable context.

[P] Parallel lines

You get the picture, right? Math talk can be about numbers but also about relationships (higher, smaller, faster) and other ways we describe our physical world.  Next time it would be fun to look for [A] Arrays, [M] Multiples, [N] Numbers or even the math version of "Are we there yet?"

[Z] Zeno's can't get there from here.

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