Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My husband, the math god

Seriously. I don't know how he does it. Here is his method of teaching place value to a five-year-old (well, okay, I grant you, she'll be six next month, but still...).

Materials (graph paper glued to craft foam, total cost: about $5):

Visual Aids:

Then you plug in a number, choose the correct set of foam blocks to represent that number (so many hundred blocks, so many tens, so many ones) and then count by hundreds, tens and ones to figure out what the number is:

By day two we're adding two three-digit numbers by adding in each group (adding hundreds, adding tens, adding ones) and "trading up" for the next largest blocks size whenever we can. (Ten ones blocks can trade in for one ten block, etc. Here comes long addition and carrying!)

And in two days he has her correctly defining and understanding place value to the hundreds. All over the Labor Day weekend, while he's "on vacation". You know, "just for fun". Because they both love math. Can you hear the incredulity in my voice, people??


Denise said...

That's pretty great.... and amazing. Sofi will have a great start on math for sure!

Robin ~ PENSIEVE said...

I think I just understood place value for the first time!

hahahahah :)


T said...

Gosh, Can she possibly be Howell offspring? I guess marrying Jeremiah was the best thing you ever did for your kids:) Hope she continues loving it!

Jenny said...

So, will you guys come west in a couple of years so he can teach Evie that??? She's math-brained, too (probably got that from both sides really -- though I don't think I could teach a kid the way J. does;))!
Just awesome!!!

Polly said...

Woohoo, way to go Jeremiah! :D

I don't know who "t" is, but I highly resent that comment! I'll have you know I have already tutored four people, two older than myself, in algebra!

*indignant snort*

Anonymous said...

I love this teaching method! This is how Robbie is learning it in Kindergarden and this is how I was shown to teach it in getting my Ed Minor. Knowing how things are actually done first and learning the tricks/short cuts later
is so the best way to go!


Jennifer said...

We did "Math U See" in the Fall and it's the same thing. Actually, a lot of programs are using this method now. Works great. Math U See goes so far as to make it into a "neighborhood" where the 1's live at the end of the street and when they get too many living in the house (>9) they have to move next door into the 10's house, etc. etc. The guy that teaches it is really clear, concise and good with the kids in the video :) But, we did the entire "year's" worth of curriculum in 3 months, so we moved on to another one now.