Saturday, July 22, 2017

Due Date! Due Date!

My little sister is a full 40 weeks pregnant with her first little one today!  We are all very anxiously awaiting his or her arrival.  She's asked me to take pictures for them in the delivery room, so I've been staying close by the phone waiting for 'the call'.  She called today to update me about this afternoon's doctor visit.  When my caller ID showed her name, I got super excited and thought she must be in labor!  She wasn't :/.  I told her that she is now banned from calling me until she is actually in labor and that she may only text me or Facebook message me!  I don't need that kind of false excitement in my life!

On July 8th, we threw a little shower for her and Joe.  We made it a coed BaByQ and it was a blast. We played just a few games, a relay, which was wild and competeitive, the standard 'guess the mother's girth' game, and a challenging nursery rhyme triva game.

Everybody had a lot of fun and Haley and Joe were given a lot of wonderful gifts to help them get ready for the baby, who I've dubbed 'Clyde' so far.

My little cousin (the one closest in age but about 16" taller than me) and his wife are also expecting their first baby!  He or she is due to arrive August 1st!  So within a week or two we'll have to new tiny members of the family.  It's a race now to see which one will make its appearance first.

Please keep my sister, brother-in-law, cousin, cousin-in-law and the babies in your prayers for safe (and soon) deliveries that result in happy, healthy babies!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Coin Connection: A Patterning Game

Recently I was contacted by someone from to see if I'd be interested with sharing a learning activity on my blog.  It sounded interesting, so I was happy they had asked!  They provided me with the instructions for an activity that strengthens math skills and helps them learn to analyze a problem.  My kids really love doing things with patterns, so I think this would be hit for most kids.

Here's the game!

Coin Connection: A Patterning Game
Lots of everyday objects can be fun, whether it’s buttons, beans, or LEGO blocks. But just because objects are fun to play with, doesn't mean they can't teach something, too! By creating patterns with objects, students begin to develop their algebraic thinking skills.

Here’s an activity that uses coins to build problem-solving strategies. With practice, students can use these “manipulatives” to discover lots of key mathematical concepts such as the commutative and associative properties, which will underly addition and multiplication work for years to come.

What You Need:
Table or other flat surface

What You Do:
  1. Model a repeating pattern  using pennies and nickels. You can show a series of two pennies, 1 nickel, or a similar pattern. Ask your child to name your pattern.
  2. Ask your child to extend your pattern by adding what comes next. If your pattern shows two pennies, one nickel, two pennies, one nickel, two pennies; then one nickel comes next. Allow your child to place the nickel after the two pennies.
  3. Add to the challenge. This time set up a repeating pattern showing pennies, dimes, and quarters. Place the coins on the table to show the first two repetitions. You might try something like penny, penny, dime, quarter, quarter. This series shows an ABC pattern, which is a bit more challenging. Ask your child to name the pattern you created. Now have your child extend this pattern by placing the coins on the table to show the next repetition.
  4. Explore some more.  Set this series of coins in a row on the table: one nickel, two pennies, one nickel, three pennies, one nickel, four pennies. Discuss this pattern with your child. Ask him what part of the pattern remained the same (the nickel). Ask him what part changed (the number of pennies).
  5. Let your child experiment! Set him to work independently. Ask an open-ended question like,  “How could you use these four types of coins to make a different pattern?” Encourage him to show you the patterns.
All mathematics is based on patterns, and because generations of mathematicians have clarified their observations, we also know that patterns can even become formulas that underly much more complicated mathematics work in grades to come. There’s a danger, though, in learning the formulas without anchoring them in hands-on discoveries like this exercise: kids may do math “by the rules,” but have no idea how or why. Any time you let your kid practice sequences, make new ones, and think it all over, you are building habits and ways of thinking that can support math success for years to come.