Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kitty Census Redux

Perhaps you'll remember the kitty census that happened at our house last fall.  I just re-read the post and nearly fell out of my chair.  Not only is it touching and hilarious (at least to me) it was a completely different activity last year than what happened this morning.

Last year the kid was a newish six.  This year she's a newish seven.

Last year it was my idea; that morning, the kid just wanted to take her cats to the vet.  When I suggested we could do both she agreed, but only so she could take care of her kitties.  She had no interest in data whatsoever.

This year it was all her idea.  I ventured a suggestion about how to sort and classify all the cats, but it was clearly her gig and so I backed off.  I would have preferred to sort by material (stuffed, ceramic, plastic, flesh and blood, etc.) and then sort into sub categories from there, but the kid had other plans, as you'll see:

It may look straight forward, but the sorting process was actually quite involved.  I mean, really, what's the difference between a multi-colored cat and a spotted one? How come the otherwise solid grey kitties with the white paws didn't get put in the multi-colored pile?  The point is, she had to figure out what the parameters were to make those groupings; any one of us could come up with multiple variations on the same theme and we'd all be right as long as we were being consistent with the rules.  I'd say that's real math right there.

One more difference: Last year she was always performing, but unselfconsciously.  For this year's census she was intent on presenting her process and results in a formal way, specifically on video.  She's the one who decided what to say.  As always, I am just the faithful assistant who just happens to ask a few clarifying questions from time to time.

Yep, you heard right.  Our cat Lucy and my daughter have been added to the final kitty census tally.  72 cats!  Good thing only two of them need to be fed. 

p.s. I've got a new Facebook page where I'm sharing links to cool math activities I find and some other things I'm doing with math, making, dance and rhythm.  Hope to see you there!

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