Math Activities: The Handling Math Program
The math activities included on HelpingWithMath.com
are taken from Diane Massie's Handling Math Program. The activities
are listed below and are followed by an introduction
to the Handling Math program.
Introduction To “Handling Math”
Diane Massie, a HelpingWithMath.com contributor, introduces the
Handling Math program. Over the coming weeks, many lessons, activities,
and other resources from the program will be added to the HelpingWithMath.com
Handling Math is the keystone to ensuring your children have a solid
foundation for all of the Math concepts taught to them at school. First
hand experiences build connections between your child's own life and
the world around them. For example, playing in the sandbox using nonstandard
units of measurement including pails and shovels, funnels and measuring
cups, pots and pans, (with your permission of course!), teaches your
child estimation, measurement and comparing. Listen to them as they
play. Better yet, climb into the sandbox with them and join in on the
patter. It is at this point where you can direct their play, thought
processes and ultimately their learning.
The math activities in the Handling Math program emphasize
the application of math concepts into your child's life and real world
situations. Math is all around us; we use it every day.
- How many fingers are on your right hand? Five.
- How many fingers
are on your left hand? Five.
- Put your two hands together. How many
fingers do you have altogether? Ten.
- Two hands equals ten fingers.
2 x 5 = 10.
- Now include my fingers and hands. 4 x 5 = 20.
Numbers, skills and
mathematical concepts are not used in isolation, but are linked to
real life situations in your child's surroundings and shape the way
they think about Math. When your child plays they are indirectly and
directly beginning to make connections to the world around them. Providing
them with the opportunities to explore the world through play will
instill math concepts.
Providing your child with a wide variety of activities that are open-ended,
hands-on, long-term projects and on-going practice will solidify connections
between their world and the global community. Write your families birth
dates on a calendar. Count how many days there are until each person's
birthday. Ask questions like; whose birthday is the furthest away?
Whose birthday is the soonest? What is the difference between the two
dates? Many more questions can be asked around a calendar.
Open lines of communication are key to reinforcing the concepts verbally
with your child, as well as, giving you insight into how they are
processing the information; talking provides you with a window into
how your child is thinking, how they are processing the concepts and
also helps you to keep track of their understanding and progress. Encourage
your child to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking in their
own words. Ask your child to solve a problem. "We have five dollars
to buy ice cream. One ice cream cost $2.00 and we want two. How much
change will we get?"
Problem solving develops children's critical thinking.
Opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and strategies give them
the chance to clarify their thinking and gain insights from others.
Discuss and share your ideas, feelings and thoughts about the world
around you too.
Your child's day can be filled with a rich and balance of multiple
basic skills to practice and Mathematical activities to experience.
You can guide and support them and provide them with frequent feedback.
First hand experiences brings mastery of a skill and concept.