__7 Household Items you can use to teach Mathematics and the type of question it solves- specially for P1 and P2 Parents __

Why is it important for my child to learn math?

Math skills are important to a child’s success – both at school and in everyday life. Understanding math also builds confidence.

In our everyday lives, understanding math enables us to:

manage time and money, and handle everyday situations that involve numbers (for example, calculate how much time we need to get to work, how much food we need in order to feed our families, and how much money that food will cost);

understand patterns in the world around us and make predictions based on patterns (for example, predict traffic patterns to decide on the best time to travel);

solve problems and make sound decisions;

explain how we solved a problem and why we made a particular decision;

use technology (for example, calculators and computers) to help solve problems.

Knowing how to do math makes our day-to-day lives easier!

**How will my child learn math?**

Children learn math best through activities that encourage them to:

explore;

think about what they are exploring;

solve problems using information they have gathered themselves;

explain how they reached their solutions.

An important part of learning math is learning how to solve problems. Children are encouraged to use trial and error to develop their ability to reason and to learn how to go about problem solving. They learn that there may be more than one way to solve a problem and more than one answer. They also learn to express themselves clearly as they explain their solutions. Such problem solving skills are being tested in the form of problem sums in the P1 and P2 Math syllabus.

An example of a simple P1 Math problem sum is shown below.

- Ali has 28 sweets. Sarah has 8 sweets more than Ali. How many sweets does Sarah have? (2m)

*28 + 8 = 36*

*Sarah have 36 sweets*.

The student will have to be conversant with topics like addition and the counting of tens and ones. Also understand the concept of more than.

Another example of a more complicated P2 Math problem sum is shown below.

- Mrs Kong baked 25 cupcakes. She gave an equal number of cupcakes to each of her 5 neighbours. How many cupcakes did each neighbour get? (2m)

*25 cupcakes ** 5 neighbours = 5 cupcakes per neighbour*

*Each neighbour got 5 cupcakes.*

The student will have to understand equal division. But before that, he/ she has to understand multiplication.

There are no fixed rules as to how Math concepts like the ones above can be attained. Students can learn it in school or in daily activities.

In fact, children learn easily when they can connect math concepts and procedures to their own experience. By using common household objects (such as measuring cups and spoons in the kitchen) and observing everyday events (such as weather patterns over the course of a week), they can “see” the ideas that are being taught.

We shall now explore what are some of the household items that can be used to teach Mathematics specially for parents with P1 and P2 children.

- Play “Broken Calculator”.

Targets: Addition and subtraction.

Pretend that the number 8 key on the calculator is broken. Without it, how can you make the number 18 appear on the screen? (Sample answers: 20 – 2, 15 + 3). Ask other questions using different “broken” keys.

Example of Question that involves subtraction.

There are 10 fish in a tank. Mr Chua took out 5 fish. How many fish will there be left in the tank? (2m)

*10 – 5 = 5*

*There will be 5 fish left in the tank.*

- Play whole and part with tissue boxes

Targets: Heuristics whole and part. Grouping. Remainder.

Ask questions like if one box has 200 sheets, then how many sheets are there in 2 boxes? There are 5 boxes per pack, how many boxes in 2 packets? How many boxes do we use per week? How many boxes do we have to buy per month?

Example of Question that involves grouping.

Mrs Kong baked 25 cupcakes. She gave an equal number of cupcakes to each of her 5 neighbours. How many cupcakes did each neighbour get? (2m)

*25 cupcakes ** 5 neighbours = 5 cupcakes per neighbour*

*Each neighbour got 5 cupcakes.*

- Understanding weight and measurement in bread

Targets: Measurement. Number sense.

Have the children hold two slices of bread and understand how 57g feels like. Also can calculate how many calories the children eats per day. Ask the children to create a log.

Example of Question that involves measurement.

What is the mass of the biscuit?

Ans: 260g

- Chair multiplication

Targets: Multiplication. 4 Times table.

Depending on the type of chair you have, most chairs (with 4 legs) is the best to use for understanding the 4 times table. Ask questions like what is 4×1, 4×2 or 4×4. Count the number of legs together. This exercise will show the student that the times table is not a rigid and messy set of numbers which students just have to memorise.

Example of Question that involves multiplication of 4.

Yati invited 10 friends to her birthday party. She gave each friend 4 pens. How many pens did Yati give away altogether? (2m)

*10 friends x 4 pens each = 40 pens*

*Yati gave away 40 pens altogether*.

- Play the pattern hunt.

Targets: Shapes. Pattern. Geometry.

Hunt for patterns around your house and your neighborhood. Your child will find patterns in clothing, in wallpaper, in tiles, on toys, and among trees and flowers in the park. Encourage your child to describe the patterns found. Try to identify the features of the pattern that are repeated.

Example of Question that involves shapes and patterns.

How many triangles are there in the figure? (2m)

Ans: 3 triangles

- Piggy bank

Targets: Money. Addition. Denominations, Decimals. Fractions.

This is a favourite among students and parents because apart from learning denomination, decimals and money, they will learn the concept of saving as well. So what you should do is to have a piggy bank and encourage them to save the remainder of their allowance. Have them count how much there is every month.

Example of Question that involves calculating money.

Daphne saves $4 per day. How much money will she save in 2 weeks? (2m)

*2 weeks = 14 days*

*$4 per day x 14 days = $56*

*Daphne will save $56 in 2 weeks.*

- Their fingers.

Targets: Operations of numbers.

Ok this is not a household item. But it is such a useful tool that I simply must list them here. The fingers can be used to demonstrate addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and there are plenty of youtube videos that demonstrate that. In this workshop, your P1 child will be using their fingers to speed up their learning of the 1- 4 times table. For P2, they will be learning how to use their fingers to speed up their learning of the 6 – 9 times table. Ask them to teach you!

Example of Question that involves the multiplication tables.

In a basketball match, there are 5 players per team. There are 7 teams altogether. How many players are there altogether?(2m)

Ans: 7 x 5 = 35

There you go. 7 household items that can be used to help your child learn more about math and the type of question it targets!