Math Monday::Play Math!

I’ll have to wait until this week’s Creative Math Club to finish off the Pentomino Math part of Math Monday, so in the meantime I’ll share the things we’ve found that have made math really fun for us.

Our journey towards not hating math has come slowly, over the past 4 years. I’m hoping that with these Math Monday posts, I can help speed up the process for other people. Because math can and should be really fun, engaging, experiential, and exciting! Once it became this for my daughter and I, even we could not keep from hating and avoiding it.

This list of things that helped us play around with math is especially for those kids (and parents!) who have serious issues with numbers. It’s for those people who find math boring, or painful, or inhumane.

Think of it as my ultimate nerdy and totally mathmatical gift buying list for those who love math or want to learn to love it. Just in time for Christmas!

The first ‘aha’ moment we had came while reading A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science. I can’t even tell you how much we love this book. For the first time, numbers became mysterious, magical, important, archetypal. We became philosopher mathmaticians while reading it, which suits us better than computational mathmaticians.

However, computation is a big part of math, so after being mathmaticaly inspired, we agreed to try out some computation stuff. Our favorite way to do this was through books that made math into games. If you or someone you love is mathphobic, put down the math curriculum schoolbooks immediately, and pick up some of these:

Family Math Book Series…experiencing math through games:
Pre K-K: Family Math for Young Children: Comparing (Equals Series))

Elementary school: Family Math (Equals Series)

Middle School: Family Math : The Middle School Years, Algebraic Reasoning and Number Sense

Lots of different kinds of Dice Math books

and here are other general math game books

Computer and video games that are so cool, you won’t know you’re doing math/science:

World of Goo

Crazy Machines 2

Boom Blox

Experiential Math:

Zometool 1

BEGINNER Pack: Rainbow (61 pieces) Goobi Magnetic Construction Set. Contains 35 mixed rainbow color bars, 18 spheres and 8 tripods.

at first I bought the beginner set, and then my kids caught the fever and wanted to build epic big structures, so I’d go with this one:

Goobi 202 Piece Master Magnet Construction Set Rainbow …my 5 year old is building away with these as I type. 😉

Rainbow Premiere Pentominoes

Plastic Pattern Blocks (Set of 250)

And finally, Kinesthetic Math…for people that like to move!:
Addition & Subtraction: Math Mat Challenge Game

Multiplication & Division: Learning Resources – Factor Frenzy

So that’s what we’re enjoying at our house–all the things that have helped us not be so afraid of math in our daily lives.


5 Responses

  1. Hi Tiffani , I have taken down the whole list. Thanks as always !

  2. Thank you so much for listing these things! Do you think the Constructing the Universe book would be understandable to a 9-10 year old? I’m totally ordering World of Goo for Christmas!

    • I went through the Contructing the Universe book with my then 9 and 12 year olds, and while they didn’t get all of it like I did, I highlighted some of the ideas and cool stuff from each chapter and they got enough of it to really become engrossed in numbers and number theory. I’m not sure if it’s a book to get for the 9-10 year old to go through by themselves, but if you read along with him I think it’s a fantastic read!

  3. what a great list! i’ve been looking for ‘fun’ non workbook math things for A. he is so quick at math and everything just pops into his head. and he really wants to go further, but doesn’t want to sit and write out little kid math stuff, he says. 😉 he usually quizzes me nonstop during car rides…addition, multiplication, subtraction, fractions, how do they measure such large numbers, calculate to infinity, etc. whew! 😉

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