Wednesday 20 February 2013

Playing with numbers

Every now and then, Tiger and I get slightly bored by how maths is done at home and both of us want to make changes to how we do maths.  It seems that we have come to a point where I am comfortable with Tiger's grasp of the fundamental concepts in elementary maths that we can afford to be more adventurous in taking detours from our usual maths routine.

Rather than playing random maths games (nothing wrong with that), I am inclined to take a thematic route in this area.

We started with the topic of "numbers".  The first activity we did was to make a number chart puzzles.  This was intended to help cement the concept of consecutive whole numbers.

First I printed off a number chart of whole numbers from 1 to 100, and had Tiger block out different sections with coloured pencils (to be cut out later) to make the puzzle.

The first one with consecutive whole numbers was too easy, so we did another in multiples of 10.

That was just warm-up.  Next, we played all the games found on this page.  These games were fun refreshers for Tiger in the concepts of multiples and odd and even.  His favourite game was Read My Mind.

Tiger and I found more challenges and satisfaction at solving maths puzzles that require a combination of different skills, which involve mathematical thinking as well as visualisation skills.  The four puzzles we worked through together were:

1. Make 37 (main concept: odd and even numbers)

2. Mystery Matrix (main concept: multiplication)

3. Consecutive Numbers (main concept: addition and subtraction)

4. Magic Vs (main concept: odd and even numbers)

We love these maths games!  They tend towards the abstract side of mathematics, which helps if you have strong maths foundation and visualisation skills.  Manipulatives don't work so well to solve such puzzles.  Additionally, it is also a very involved process for parent and child in that we would discuss, debate, and argue about how we would approach the problem, before solving it together.  Discussion is a big part of the learning process for such puzzles (at least in our case), so I don't think these puzzles will be as effective without parental involvement.  We find the process to be very interesting and mutually beneficial in that Tiger can apply his intuitive problem-solving skills while I can observe and learn more about the way he thinks, which is very different from my thinking process.

Tiger can pretty much hold his own in our maths discussions now due to his strong intuitive and visualisation skills in solving maths problems, while I bring logic and methodology to the table.  So far, this has worked very well for us.

Another number game that Tiger has taken an interest in is Sudoku.  He takes the book with him and solves a few puzzle on the go each time we are out and about.

This post is linked up to:
1) All Year Round Blog Carnival: Winter 
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #5
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: February 22, 2013
4) Hobbies and Handicrafts - Feb 22
5) Collage Friday - Family, History, and More
6) TGIF Linky Party #64
7) It's a Wrap
8) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Busy Break Week
9) Share it Saturday - Feb 23
10) The Sunday Showcase - 2/23/13
11) Math Monday Blog Hop #88
12) Hip Homeschool Hop - 2/26/13


  1. I really like this! Nice post. We have been playing around with Magic Squares, next up is Pascal Triangles. Math By Hand is a math program that we have been using to explore fun math concepts.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love creative math ideas and these are great. The way you cut up the number grids looks like a fun puzzle.

  3. Thank you for all of the math links! I'm off to check these links out now. We love The Number Ladder Game - have you ever played that??

  4. Brilliant collection - thank you, I'll be pinning it! We've played the "Read my mind" game before, thank you for reminding me to get it out again.

  5. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comments, ladies! Much appreciated. :-)

    I'm glad you're finding the links useful. It's good to share the resources that work since we're all working towards giving our children the best.

    Mary - I haven't used The Number Ladder Game. I'll have to look it up! Thanks for the tip. :-)

  6. Thank you for posting the collection on Math Monday! Sounds like you are having a very successful math exploration. :)

  7. Thanks for linking up to Its a Wrap. Love these ideas and I hope you'll return this week. -Savannah

  8. Creative math is the best way to learn! Keep it interesting!


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