Ever since I read the post “Mothers Talk Less to Young Daughters About Math” on the NY Times Motherlode blog, math has been on my mind. Now since I only have a young daughter, I don’t have any comparison data for our family. However I am aware of my junior high-induced math phobia that still creeps into my life all these many years later. Storytelling, word play, and general goofing around with language comes easily to me. Playing with numbers? Not so much. As LP nears kindergarten, I’m very aware that I need to clean up how I talk about math and my own abilities.
And now the Motherlode blog has pointed to a wonderful resource in the post “Goodnight, Moon. Goodnight, Math Problem.” Yes, just like a nightly bedtime story, the Bedtime Math site posts a nightly math problem to share with your little people (that scales to their age/ability).
I’ve used the ideas from Bedtime Math every day (not at bedtime because our bedtime ritual is already a bit too long). Two great things that I’ve discovered in the past 4 days…one is that these make for great discussions while we are on the road to and from preschool or waiting in the dr’s office or passing time hanging out in the potty. LP loves them! Number two is that the example math questions have helped me think about incorporating math questions and interactions into our daily interactive storytelling. Now as we tell a story about dogs making cookies, I’ll ask LP how many cookies do the dogs eat if each of the three dogs in the story gets three cookies. The addition of this kind of question seems to delight her and fit right into the other questions I ask to create the story.
So say “YES!” to playful math! And I’d love to know…how do your little people respond?