The exterior angles (one per vertex) of a certain convex polygon with n sides are obtuse. What is the value of n?
Ummmm….. could you repeat that in English please?
Does Math vocabulary bewilder you?
One way we can help our kids to not be afraid of math is to teach them the language of math. When they become familiar with the vocabulary, the problems are not so scary.
It’s really important to ‘talk through’ our math thinking, and knowing the words to use, helps us articulate the process of solving math. When you are out for a walk, why not try to include some ‘math talk’ into your conversations.
“Can you find me something with radial symmetry? What made you choose?”
“Do you think the height of that tree is greater than our house?”
Try learning a new math word each week. Encourage your children to use their new word. Create a math word board or dictionary, to keep track of your learning. Here are two places that you can find words and their definitions.
Remember, it is never too late to learn a new word, concept or skill. One of the most powerful ways to teach, is to be the example.
Why not start with EQUAL?
I used the Autumn Equinox to introduce the concept of an equal length of time, 12 hours day/12 hours night. We then explored where else we could find EQUAL.
- Equal length.
- Equal weight.
- Equal amount.
- Equal value.
Here are some activities you might like to try with your children.
With the youngest ones, cut two pieces of stem. Lay them out to look like an equal sign. Ask, “Can you find me things that are equal in length to my piece of stem?” If the items are too long, or too short, ask, “Why are these things NOT equal?”
With the middle children, have them cut pieces of reed, stem, or grass to a certain length. Say “Can you cut these reeds/stem/grass into pieces, so each piece equals 10cm (or chose another amount) in length?” When all the pieces are equal, use them to create a piece of art.
With the older children, introduce the concept that a circle and sphere are defined by the fact that their edge is equidistant from the center point. Using matchsticks and a small ball of ‘Blue Tack,’ have the children create a circle and then a sphere. Explain that the term ‘Equidistant’ means to be of equal distance. If each toothpick is equal in size, then the edge of the circle and sphere that they have created is equidistant from the center of the shape. Alternatively, you might like to use sticks and clay, or other materials that you can find in the garden. See how many examples you can spot in nature.
Take small steps, try one new word a week. Enjoy, play, explore. Then stretch your thinking. You might be surprised, that before long, the problem at the beginning of this post isn’t so strange anymore!
Please, if you are overwhelmed with the math side of your homeschooling journey, reach out. Message me on Instagram or email me. I would love to encourage you!
You might also like to join our MeWe group. A space to discuss ideas and strategies for teaching your children math.