“Mom, I’m not in the mood for math.” “Okay, then let’s play a game. You know all those nickels and dimes you have on your bedroom floor? Let’s count them and then take them to the bank for you.” "Great idea, Mom!!!"
First we made guesses: how many nickels, how many dimes? Boo is not a kid who likes to be wrong so getting her to happily estimate is a small miracle, she refused all through Kindergarten and 1st Grade.
Next we arranged them in countable rows & columns. Each of us placed a second more educated guess which were both larger than our original guesses.
Then we plotted the best way to go about getting an accurate count with the least amount of work and room for error. How about rows (x) columns? That will work!! Calculator in hand (how to use a calculator is a good skill to learn something I wasn‘t taught until Highschool. She walked around with it the rest of the day calculating. "Mom, how do you do 'a decimal', 'subtract', 'divide'...' Love it!) we totaled dimes and nickels. I was closest on the dimes; she was dead on the nickels.
Last problem for each set to find out how much they total in cold hard cash….How do we find out what each is worth?
"Oh, you times it by 10 and by 5!"
Together $19.25. Yeah, math rocks!
*One more note on the calculator: When we did the finally multiplication she did the problem without the decimal and knew to insert it when looking at her end results. So later when she came to me asking how to do decimals on the calculator I first told her to just add it in her mind thinking it was too much trouble on those tiny keys with tiny symbols to show her. But like a good learner she wouldn't let me get away with that and insisted I show her how to do it properly. This is that quality of persistence/drive found in a self motivated learner. The curiosity every child is born with and at least to me daily proof that we thew out all the lesson plans today she would still learn what she needed to know when she needed it.