At 9 am, a train leaves a seaside resort, heading inland, at 50 miles per hour. Seven hundred miles away, at 9:45 am, in the mountains near a wide blue lake, another train leaves an alpine resort, headed toward the ocean, at 45 miles per hour. The first train makes three stops, each lasting ten minutes. The second trains makes two stops, each lasting 20 minutes, although at the last stop the train is delayed an extra 30 minutes because of engine trouble. Assuming that these trains are traveling on the same track, that each is carrying a famous celebrity, and that gravity is reduced by chicken gravy, how will your students ever remember anything they learned in math class this year?
Summer. It’s that special time of year when teachers fear they’ve just sent 25 children into the world without the proper math skills to survive even six minutes in the wild. Can Johnny properly calculate for himself his own Little League batting average? Can Sally determine the circumference of an empty swimming pool? And how does one determine the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
The best way I have figured to keep the mathematical juices flowing in the brain boxes of my children is through the clever use of The Mailbox resources. Whether you’re a registered guest or a Companion or Idea Center Gold member, TheMailbox.com is the perfect place to find tips, ideas, worksheets, and more that will keep math fresh in the minds of youngsters.
Here are some other ideas:
– Traveling somewhere? Play math games that involve mileage calculations, distance traveled, average speed, and more.
– Have a veggie garden? Reinforce estimates by trying to figure out how many tomatoes a tomato plant will produce in the months of the growing season. If you planted six string bean plants and picked 80 beans, how many beans did you pick per plant?
– Have fun in the kitchen. Take those veggies and find a nice, healthy recipe. Get the kids involved and do some conversions from pounds to grams and more. It’s also a good time to talk about volume.
– Of course, no summer is complete without a few rainy days. What better time than a rainy day to play card games or board games requiring mathematical skill?
I think we, as parents and teachers, sometimes worry too much about what students might forget over the summer. Luckily, math in the real world is all around us. All we need to do is point it out.
Have any tips you’d like to share?