Would you like to teach math everywhere you go? Well, here’s one from the table!
Daughter enjoys playing with our salt-and-pepper shaker holder at dinner. She takes out the salt, then takes out the pepper, then replaces the salt, then replaces the pepper.
The order in which she does these four operations vary. Including switching the salt and pepper.
She’s slowly putting together the pieces that will one day become the commutative property.
She’s also practicing substitution…
She’s learning that the salt and pepper can be switched (commutative). And she’s learning that one can be interchanged for the other (substitution).
…and the associative property!
She attempted to put her small milk cup into the holder. It fit, but only with pushing. She then removed the milk cup and attempted to put it in the other side. (At her age the things grown-ups understand are not obvious to her.)
Although non-equality isn’t part of the associative property (which is if a=b, b=c then a=c), the comparison of three things is.
Here are the things she’s learning from this dinner session:
So pull out the stops – give the children everything. And let them explore. If they have the gift of language, you can hint at some of these properties, but be careful not to go into a full “lesson” at dinner. Teaching math at the dinner table should be fun.
Where have you seen math properties in your world? Share your stories in the comments – or link back to your story on your blog!
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