Building Math Skills
Tips for Parents
Put out eight buttons and ask your child, "How many buttons arethere?" Take three away and ask, "How many are there now?" Youcould continue this with variations to determine how your child's understandingof numbers is developing.
Count to 10 by twos, to 24 by threes, to 30 by fives.
Make up problems around math facts such as 5+5=10. For example, if 5 boysare joined by 5 girls, there are 10 children.
Another way to see how well your child understands numbers is to play boardgames that call for markers to be moved forward and backward so many spaces --for example, "Now you can move six spaces forward." Chess, whichinvolves strategy as well as mathematics, would be a good game to introduce tosecond graders.
Ask your child to use a ruler to measure something in the house -- arectangular table, a room, a bookshelf. You will learn a good deal about yourchild's measurement skills.
With counters (buttons, game pieces, or the like) at hand, ask what threeplus six equals, what eight minus five equals, whether three sets of four aregreater or less than five sets of two.
- Telling time is an important skill. Occasionally ask your child, "Canyou see what time it is?" Your child should be able to give you the time inhours and minutes.
While you are getting ready for a walk, ask your child, "How long willit take us to walk around the block? From the corner to the park?"Questions like these arise in many different circumstances. The answers willshow you how your child understands time.
There are many opportunities for counting during everyday activities. Whilecooking you could ask, "Can you count out eight potatoes?" Or ask, "Canyou put ten cookies and four apples on the plate for dessert?"
While cooking or baking, ask your child to put in some of what the recipecalls for: three and a half tablespoons of sugar, two and a quarter cups offlour, and the like. This is a good way to see your child put math to use.
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 2nd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.