Math Journaling Prompts for Parents

Try your own hand at math journaling - your kids are asked to do it at school so why not play too? Here're 11 prompts to get you started.For gazillions of years people have journaled. It seems to be a natural thing for humans to log experiences and thoughts. But math journaling is relatively new.

Have you noticed your children math journaling? Yes – doing a journal (like in English class) but in math class!

Is it hard?

Well, now you can try your hand at math journalling.

Don’t Panic

Math journaling in school is usually done with a prompt. I’m going to help you out and provide some prompts, too.

All the math journal prompts I’ve found online ask about math problems. Like the problems you find in a textbook.

But you don’t find textbook problems in the real world. So these math journal prompts are all about your math experiences!

Some Math Journaling Prompts to Try

Here are the prompts for some math entries into your journal.

1. Write about a bad experience you had with a math teacher or in a math class.

Most grownups have a bad experience they can pull out and talk about. And many times that experience is the event that caused them to get turned off to math.

Dig around in your memory for all the yucky math feelings, and recall their roots. Write it out.

You’ll feel better. And when your child comes to you with a bad experience, you’ll be able to share your own story – and how you overcame it.

2. Share a good experience you had with a math teacher or in a math class.

Just as there’s a bad story, or two, or 17, there’s at least one good one.

Take a moment to write it down. You’ll finish up with a smile.

Don’t discount the ice cream parties or stickers you won after you finished filling out your multiplication table. Anything good counts.

And if you had a crush on a math teacher – well, that might be a good experience too!

3. Do some math journaling around math you watched your child doing.

Have you seen your child do something in math that you never could? Were you able to learn it from him?

Has your child ever struggled with something you thought was crazy easy? How did you handle it? Were you able to help her?

What math topics do you and your child share a liking for? Are there any that you both don’t like?

4. Write about math you saw a grown-up doing.

Did you see a cashier do some math recently? How did they do it? How would you have done it? Were you impressed or embarrassed by their methods?

Have you watched your friend calculate the discount on a dress? Did she do it the same way you would have? Or differently?

5. Write about math YOU did recently.

Think about the things you’ve done in the last few days. Was there any math in them? Are you sure?

Remember, all these involve math:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Paying Bills (or avoiding them)
  • Calendars
  • Recipes

Instead of writing the numbers (showing your work, yuk) write about how easy or hard it was. How did it make you feel? How does it make you feel now as you reflect back on doing it?

6. Do some journaling on something you’re wondering about.

This may be more difficult than it seems.

Don’t limit yourself to “math,” either. Consider things you’ve seen today. What made you think, “I wonder where that came from?”

Or “I wonder who invented that?”

Or “How did they make that?”

Wondering “out loud” opens your mind to see patterns – the ones math is built on.

7. Write about how you think and problem solve.

If this seems weird, write about what you had for breakfast. Explain how you decided on that option instead of others. And why did you buy it in the first place? Did you consider facts (like the nutrition information) or did it just look good on the shelf in the store?

Move from breakfast to more important things. Like the last time you had a disagreement with someone at work. Did you choose one way of confrontation over another? What factors influenced the strategies you used?

8. Write about your concerns for you and your child in future math classes.

What topics in math do you think might be a challenge for your child? Are these the same that challenged you?

What skills has your child learned, or can she learn, that would lessen your concerns?

9. Write about what you’re excited about for you and your child in future math classes.

What topics in math are you especially looking forward to? Do you think your child will enjoy them as much as you did/do?

How will you feel if he finds these topics boring, useless or annoying? How will you feel if he has difficulty with them?

10. Write about a topic in math that you feel particularly strong in.

What do you do very well? Can you explain how to do it in a unique way? Have you created a nifty trick for it that makes it easy to do?

How does having that skill make you feel?

11. Write about the emotions around a topic in math that you’re weak in.

What area are you weak in? Does it freak you out?

When do you encounter the topic in the real world? What happens to you emotionally and mentally when you encounter it?

Is there a reason you’re weak or fearful of that topic?

Now, GO! Enjoy it!

Go get a beautiful new blank book, or use your regular diary for your math journal. Get out your pen and write.

If you want, share it in the comments below. And if you want to share with me privately, shoot me an email at bon@mathfour.com.

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