Math Goggles #11 – Just Listen

All the Math Goggles challenges so far had to do with noticing math with your eyes. But for this week’s challenge, let’s try to just listen.

Let’s listen to the math in what our children talk about. I don’t mean like when we ask them what they did today in preschool, kindergarten or school. And I don’t mean like when we quiz them on how many teddy bears are in the room or what shape is the kitchen table.

Let’s listen to the math children bring up on their own. Our contributor, Malke Rosenfeld of Math in Your Feet, frequently describes such math chats on her blog. Here’s an example from her recent post:

Seven-year-old is pushing cart around the store, narrating as she goes: “Go forward, now one quarter turn to the right, now go forward, parallel park.  Okay, now turn half way around, go straight, one quarter turn…”

Here’s my six-year-old who is waiting impatiently for his first baby tooth to fall out, but it seems it won’t ever happen:

Mama, I have a tiny hope, and it’s quickly approaching zero, that this tooth will fall out soon.

Or David Wees’s “Decomposing Fractions” post, in which he retells a conversation with his son:

Daddy, I’m full. I had 1 and a half…no, one and a quarter slices of pizza which is the same as five quarters of pizza,” said my son at dinner tonight…

By the way, David’s whole project, Math Thinking, is about children sharing their mathematical thoughts.

So this week, let’s just listen. You might be surprised at how your child looks at things, at math ideas she explores on her own, and at mathematical reasoning behind what she says.

You may also share your observations here on the blog.

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