We’ve had a blast today working on math!

No, really, we have!

We get lots of funny looks when we talk with others about how excited we all get about learning together, but I swear to you, this is a snark-free blog entry. As much as I can make one, I suppose. =)

We started off our morning working with place value. L still inverts the ones and tens places when reading and writing numbers (15 is likely to be read 51, etc). We have worked hard on visualizing the numbers themselves (What does 15 look like? What does 51 look like?) and I decided today to link it explicitly to written notation.

We have place value dice (the dark green ones say “hundreds” under the numerals, the blue “tens”, and the purples “ones”). We have thousands and ten-thousands, too, but I didn’t want to be overwhelming. I think she has a pretty solid grasp of 10 tens being 1 hundred, so I decided to stop there. I also grabbed our one, ten, and hundred base ten stamps and our decomposition templates (100, 200, 300, etc through 900 on green tagboard; 10, 20, 30 through 90 on blue; the numerals 1-9 on purple).

She rolled the dice and worked on putting the hundreds on the far left, the tens in the middle, and the ones on the far right. She then read the number aloud (six hundred fifteen in this picture) and I transcribed it for her. I asked if her she wanted to stamp it or decompose it first. She chose decompose, so she separated this number into 600+10+5. She then stamped out 6 hundreds, 1 ten, and 5 ones. We repeated this for a few numbers and I could tell she was growing bored…

So I pulled out another concept! We took the two numbers she’d rolled most recently and I told her about the hungry alligator. We agreed that given the choice, the alligator would always eat the bigger snack. We giggled about how the alligator would eat me, not L, and the dog, not the cat. Silly! Anyway, I showed her the alligator sign with its open mouth toward the bigger number:

I did not introduce the idea that one sign was called “greater than” and the other was called “less than” because it seemed to me that if she grasped the idea that the mouth was eating the bigger number, we were good to go at this point. We played with this for awhile (you can see that at the top of the paper, we inverted our example to show how the mouth opened the opposite way).

Whew! Math is fun!

We then decided to play with our new magnet kit. After we both built a few shapes for fun, she noted that I’d built a hexagon. I promptly decided that a geometry construction lesson was in order! I pulled off the “names of the polygons” chart we’d made a few weeks ago and challenged her to build a triangle. Easy! A quadrilateral? Surprisingly challenging.

She spent some time struggling with adding line segments onto a vertex but it never transformed into a quadrilateral. We stopped for a minute and looked at the hexagon to notice how many line segments and vertices there were, and how many line segments touched each vertex. We then pulled apart the attempt at a quadrilateral and started from scratch. Slowly, narrating her way through it, she built it! I then challenged her to transform her quadrilateral into a pentagon. She grinned, opened a vertex/line segment, and added another line segment and vertex. Easy peasy! So fun.

We ended our “school time” withÂ Pattern Play (which we LOVE!) She found an error on card 19 – if you look closely at the card in the picture, you can see it. In the triangle facing us, there are two yellow segments and there are none on the triangle against the edge of the picture, while there ought to be one yellow per triangle. She found the error but decided to replicate it (see her example) since she was creating the pattern on the card. Funny girl!

In addition to this, we’ve spent some quality time over the past few days (too much time!) watching They Might Be Giants videos on YouTube – her current favorites include The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas, I am a Paleontologist, The Bloodmobile, and How Many Planets? (especially when it says “Jupiter” in the deep, deep voice!).

We may be creating a monster. =)