abacus II Pictures, Images and PhotosThere are days when the skies are sunny, the planets align, and the baby wildabeest remains safely away from the water’s edge.
Feel the calm.
All is well with the world.
Peace and tranquility reign in your school.
On such days you can expect that your child will do all their school work well and joyfully, with only the slightest need for encouragement to motivate him.

However, for the remaining 364 days of that year, you need another plan.
There are days during which this same child could not possibly sit still and do paper work if his life depended on it.
There have times in our schooling when I thought it just might. <insert shameful grin>

It is on such days that I came to learn there is a point at which it is useless to continue.
There is a downward spiral that frustrated kids sometimes step on. And no manner of explanation or forging forward will get them to step off.
Better, at such points, to close the books and do something that involves serious movement (and the burning off of excess energy),
But that doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. We’ll just find a way to take our lesson into the activity. And since this is MATH WEEK here in  Sizzleland, let’s find someway to put. . .

Major Motion into Math.

Here are a few ideas.

Go to the Park
The park is full of things that are designed to burn off some of that excess energy your child carries around with him. Sizzlers are naturally inclined to jump, run, leap, crawl, hang, climb, and roll. It’s in the genes. So use that to your advantage.

  • When they are at the top of the slide they must first pause, answer five quick addition facts, and then “Wheeeeee!” down they go.
  • Get on the Teeter-Totter. Each upward motion must accompanied by the next number in skip counting by 3’s. (You push off and say “Three”. They push off and say “Six” )
  • Push them on the swing. Review math facts with them. When they get 10 correct, you push them hard–going under their swing at the top of the arc.

Play Basketball
Five correct answers gets 10 attempted shots. It can be that simple.
Or they can bounce the ball while they work through times tables.
While bouncing. . .say “3×1 is 3” –shoot / “3 x 2 is 6” –shoot / “3 x 3 is 9” –shoot

If you teach a bunch of kids perhaps in a co-op, here’s a version that works indoors with a larger group.

Skateboard Math
Now THIS is why I love the community at Sizzle Bop. Such an idea could only have come from the Mom of a Sizzler.  And it has what we like to refer to as the “X” factor, that oh-so-important quality of being something you can use tomorrow.
So grab a skateboard and let’s go do some math!

One I used with my son to help him learn basic math facts is “Scooter” or “Skateboard” math.  We have a long driveway, but you could go to an uncrowded parking lot or use the street if you live on a quiet street.  Using chalk, we write out the numbers 0 to 12 using very large numerals and lines in between so that each number is boxed in between two lines.  Space them out fairly far vertically down the driveway or street.  I call out a problem and my son rides his scooter or skateboard to the answer.  For addition you can ask for the missing factor such as, “What plus 9 is 18?” (or if you have room, you can make your track from 0 to 18 for basic addition through 9+9).  For multiplication, you can again ask them to find the missing factor.  For example, “What times 6 is 36?”  Subtraction and Division can easily be done on the track.

A variation to this is that he progresses down the number track reciting facts starting at 0.  He has to stop if he can’t remember an answer.  He likes to see if he can make it down the track without stopping.  For example, sitting on the skateboard and pushing with his hands, he’ll say, “0x12 is 0, 1×12 is 12, 2×12 is 24, 3×12 is 36, etc”  Watching the number as he goes along the track helps him to say the equation.

Since my son seems to learn kinetically (at least partially), this has been a very good activity for him.  It keeps him moving and focused, a very difficult combination to achieve as he often lets his movement distract him.  Also, my younger daughter not in school gets to play outside while we’re still getting school done.

Alternatives: If you don’t have a skate board, how about a giant bouncy ball. Your child bounces over to the number.
For that matter, they could just run from number to number.
Do what you can with what you have. But you gotta admit, the skate board adds a cool element.

HopScotch Math
Some basics: Draw the familiar grid on the pavement. If your unfamiliar with the basic grid and basic rules, take a look at this website.

When there’s a single box, you must hop on a single foot. Where there are two boxes side by side, you land with both feet, one in each box.
When you need to pick up a marker, you must stand in the box before it (often on one foot) lean down and pick it up without falling.

Playing the game.
Using chalk, create a hopscotch grid putting digits 1-10 in the squares.
Ask your child a math facts question. Perhaps 12-7.
They must calculate the answer of 5.
Now they must hop to the correct square and place their marker (usually a rock).
They flip completely around so that they can had back to home base (just outside of box 1)
Give them another problem. Say 15-5.
They calculate 10.
They must first retrieve their rock which is still sitting on 5. So they hop up to the three box (remember, they can’t step in the squares that contain the marker), lean over, pick up the rock without falling. Now they can proceed to ten, where the process continues.

Freeze Tag
This game works best with a three or more kids.
In classic freeze tag, someone is “IT” and proceeds to chase and tag people. Once tagged, you’re now frozen and can’t move unless “Un-tagged” by a fellow team mate. (or Mom). The goal of the person who is “IT” is to freeze everyone all at one time.

Math Variation–
When a child is frozen, they can be thawed simply by answering mom’s math question.

Hopefully you’ve taken away maybe one or two ideas you’d like to try.
And if you have an idea that YOU’VE used, please share it with us.
We’re always looking for that new idea that might just be the one that clicks with our own Sizzlers.

See you tomorrow for MATH WEEK – Day Three in  Sizzleland.



One Response to “MATH WEEK – Day 2”

  1. stephanie w Says:

    this post couldn’t have come at better time in my day! so happy for encouragement from those who are in the same boat! thanks

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