84 pages. ISBN 978-0-9776939-0-0
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Do you want your children to feel like algebra is beautiful, playful, and intuitive? Come play, solve, talk, and make math with us! Support our book, reserve your copy, and make these math adventures available to children, parents, and teachers all over the world.
Our book Socks are Like Pants, Cats are Like Dogs is filled with a diverse collection of math games, puzzles, and activities exploring the mathematics of choosing, identifying and sorting. Teachers and parents have tested all activities in real classrooms and living rooms. The activities are easy to start and require little preparation.
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This is Like That is an endlessly flexible, changeable game where the challenge is to create a chain of associations between seemingly unrelated objects based on their properties and attributes. Like all activities in the book, you can easily adapt this game to a variety of age ranges, available materials, and settings.
We often ask children to find and sort everyday objects according to their properties, for example, into piles of white socks and socks that are not white. In early algebra terms, this means sorting items into categories. We can also use this kind of mathematical thinking about properties to create brand new objects. The book includes a number of easy to assemble projects, such as Make Your Own Matching Games, using every day making supplies (beads, paper shapes, glue, blocks, and even your own body!).
In the series of puzzles called Beetle Sort the whole family can use the beautiful photographs of beetle collector Dr. Udo Schmidt to sort beetles based on how they look. Before the advent of genetics, this is how we categorized all animals. Sorting requires finding attributes; for example, some beetles have thicker legs, kinked antennae, or powerful mandibles.
Malke Rosenfeld is a percussive dance teaching artist, math explorer, curriculum designer, editor, and writer. As creator of the Math in Your Feet program, her interdisciplinary inquiry focuses on the intersections between percussive dance and mathematics and how to best illustrate these connections for learners. Malke’s love of math has been rekindled and deepened as she watches her daughter grow and discover math in the world around her. You can see more at MalkeRosenfeld.com
Gordon Hamilton (Masters of Mathematics, PhD in Mathematical Biology) is a board game and puzzle designer. He founded MathPickle.com in 2010 to inject new ideas into the classroom. There is nothing he enjoys more than stumping students and having them stump him. MathPickle’s primary objective is to get thirteen curricular unsolved problems into classrooms worldwide – one for each grade K-12. A conference in November 2013 established the thirteen unsolved problems. Gordon is a single father living with his two huggable children (aged five & eight) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
As parents and teachers we know that kids are experts at noticing. We also know that many kids love to talk about what they see. These kinds of conversations can happen anywhere and are ripe with potential for finding and discussing math.
For example, two socks are the same because they’re both socks. The two socks are not the same because one is solid red and the other has polka dots. Socks and pants are the same because they’re both items of clothing and they come in pairs! But they’re not the same because socks are (usually) for feet and pants are (usually) for legs.
These kinds of comparisons help build a mathematical understanding of sameness and help children learn to describe the properties of the object or person in question. In mathematical terms we call this first idea equivalence, an idea that one thing can be like another if you focus on an aspect with similarity or sameness. When you notice attributes (particular properties that describe an object) and choose variables, the world of algebraic reasoning opens to you.
As you and your children choose from an inventory of variables to create artwork, you experience how algebraic ideas come to be. As you and your children discover, name, and sort attributes in games and puzzles, you grow your abilities to notice structure, order, and pattern. These are all necessary skills for mathematical activity at any level. Helping kids make explicit their observations about attributes and their choices related to variables is what this book is all about.
Master list of keywords
Note to the curious
This is Like That
All the Same! Making Paper Pizzas
Geometric Grid Designs
Create Your Own Matching Game
Our book will be published under Creative Commons license. It means that people all over the world will be able to access its content, translate it into different languages – and share their ideas based on the book with you. The Creative Commons site Team Open features Natural Math in its celebration of innovative projects in education.