Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding the Difference: Word Problems

Finding the difference between 37 and 19
"Rob caught 73 shrimp. Tanner caught 25 fewer shrimp than Rob. How many shrimp did Tanner catch? How many shrimp did Rob and Tanner catch in all?"

Hunter just (finally, my bad) started his first official "word problem" text: Skill Builders: Word Problems 3rd Grade Math.

Sure, we've done tons of real-life "word problems" and math application, but this is his first time working with it textbook-wise.

So far the computation aspect of his word problems book has been extremely simple for him. The skill here, of course, for him, is determining how to solve the problem: what operations, and in what order, etc.

One thing I have found useful here in helping him determine how to solve the problem is by using the math vocabulary words such as difference and sum.

A visual explanation of the equation
For example, if the question is "Ken has 37 goldfish, and Rob has 19. How many more goldfish does Ken have than Rob?" it makes it a lot easier when you explain what we're doing here is finding the difference.

And when we know that the definition of "difference" is "the quantity that remains after one quantity is subtracted from another", it's pretty easy to see that what we need to do here to find the answer is subtract.

I like visual aids. We used large graph paper and checked off 37 purple boxes and 19 red ones. Then I asked, "They want to know who has more. Does Ken or Rob?"

As he already knew, Ken.

"Well how many more? Does he have one more? Ten more? A hundred more? How can we find out?"

To find out the difference, we crossed out with a black marker 19 of Ken's 37 goldfish. I explained, "If they both had 19, this is what it would look like - Rob's red fish over here and Ken's black fish over here. But they don't both have 19, Ken has 37, which we can see is this many more than 19."

This led to the discussion and realization that what we had really done was subtracted 19 from Ken's goldfish to find out how many more he had - to find the difference. We did a few more problems with this type of visual representation and then it was pretty comprehensible to Hunter how to do this type of problem (finding the difference) - and why - with just using the numbers and no visual aids.

The word sum has also come in handy when the problem involves addition - "We need to know what the sum of both of their fish is. How do we do that?".

Since these words have suddenly become so useful in handling our math discussions, I have finally made up some defintion cards of my own (included are the words sum, difference, product, quotient and augend/addend, subtrahend/minuend, multiplicand/multiplier, dividend/divisor, factor, and remainder) Definitions and examples are the back. Enjoy!
Arithmetic Operation Vocabulary Cards

Mathematical Mondayr

"Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean..." 
Leviticus 20:25

Hunter is 5 years, 10 months old

This post is linked to Math Links at Joyful Learner

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hunter Learning How to Blow a Bubble

Have you ever tried to explain to a little kid how to blow a bubble with bubble gum?

Hunter has been asking me for the longest time, with intense fascination and curiosity, how to blow bubbles. It is not exactly the easiest thing to show and/or explain to someone how to do.

(Especially when that person is three years old, which is when he started asking me).

Yet finally, randomly the other day he sort of just figured it out.

Here are some of his first (semi-successful) attempts.

Whether learning how to blow bubbles with bubble gum or solve cube roots, it is definitely not all serious business in this house.

"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning..." 
Proverbs 1:5

Hunter is 5 years, 10 months old

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hunter's Bedroom, Volume II

Last time I posted pictures of Hunter's bedroom, we had been living here in California for a couple of weeks.

It was, to say the least, a little, er, empty.

Now, after living here for sixteen months, we have acquired a few more things, mostly second hand, and I thought I would put a new update of what Hunter's room looks like now.

View 1 (click to enlarge)
  • His bed, which now has a space-themed comforter and pillow case that I found at a consignment sale. His drawers harbor clothes and, two of them, toys (not quite as empty anymore).
  • Basketball and baseball rugs.
  • A new world map, which is very detailedly labeled (unlike the simple outline map that he had before, which had no labels). This is much better now that he can read really well, and he is discovering a lot of things on his own. He also has a new detailed label USA map.
  • A sports shelf, which very suitably is holding his trophies and team pictures.
  • His own bulletin board, where he hangs his patches, the occasional note or picture, pins, used stickers that he doesn't want to throw away, whatever he wants really.
  • His whale hamper, and a light-up world globe.

View 2 (click to enlarge)
  • At the head of his bed, his make-shift headboard. The top shelf holds some books that he currently enjoys reading in bed (we now have a much larger collection in the house), a football bank that doubles as a bookend, a "Dictionary of Aviation", and a little tin solider can which serves as a sort of junk drawer. On the bottom shelf there is his alarm clock, his tools, and some DVDs.
  • Space curtain
  • On his window sill, a picture frame and his chap stick, his telescope, a motorcycle from Color Me Mine, and a favorite astronomy book.
  • His Cars TV, a DVD player, and Vtech system. (We do not have cable TV in our house and he uses these things maybe a couple times a month)

View 3 (click to enlarge)
  • Fiber-optic nightlight.
  • Space border stickers, which we got at the dollar store. 

View 4 (click to enlarge)
  •  On the wall to the left, is some sort of planets "thing". We are going to fill in the holes (I think it was intended to be a beanbag toss) with pictures of the planets, either painted pictures by Hunter or real-life pictures from the internet.
  • Below, his calendar, which this year is themed "National Parks". Next to the calendar is his morning and evening routines.
  • His garbage can, and his five-pound weights (testosterone, anyone?). 
  • Above his closet are some minor league baseball flags that we got at a game.

Closet, detail (click to enlarge)
Shelf inside his closet, which harbors (from top)
  • Aircraft carrier toy.
  • His spiderman and ninja costumes, and his new legos (currently in bags / cardboard box).
  • WWE arena, world champion belt, and puzzles.
  • An Ironman truck, and all of his Hotwheels racetracks.
  • To the left, hanging stuffed animal mesh cubbies, and, not pictured, some toy swords and guns.

Closet, detail (click to enlarge)
  • Other side of his closet: Clothes, shoes, and hats!

Now that we have a bigger house, his room no longer doubles as a school room and most teaching aids and educational toys have been moved downstairs, where we spend most of our time.

Even still, Hunter still enjoys lots of educational pursuits in here on his own, such as reading, watching science and history videos, his avid astronomy interests, lots of geography, doing puzzles, drawing, or other quiet activities, learning to stay organized and responsible in his personal space, keeping his calendar up to date, and, of course, good old fashioned pretend play.

See the just-moved-in post of what Hunter's bedroom looked like before, and the five-part series of our old bedroom/school room in Indiana

"...I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake." 
Genesis 30:27

Hunter is 5 years, 10 months old

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And... It's a Boy

"By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee." 
Psalm 71:6

Baby boy #2 is 19 weeks, 5 days gestation

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monkey Learns to Play the Piano

"And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy." 
1 Chronicles 15:16

Hunter is 5 years, 9 months old