Monday, 11 November 2013

It's Simple, Really

I decided that we should get back to the basics of maths -- addition -- with the following simple exercise.

I gave Tiger a copy of a sheet printed with ones, tens, and hundreds boards.  The total of which is 999.  His task was to split the sum into four addends.  Very easy, isn't it?  That was what Tiger thought.

Before Tiger began, we had a quick review to make sure he understood the different terms (addends, sum).  I also showed him a quick example of how he was to split the sum into four addends (example on the bottom left)

As you can see from the photo above, Tiger split the total of 999 into four addends immediately (the example on the bottom right)

The next task is to cut out the printed sheet and use the arrays to form the addend in each section on the construction paper.  This was where Tiger realised that he had to consider the limitation set by the arrays, i.e. 9 ones, 9 tens, 9 hundreds.  With this limitation, the initial answer he gave (251, 199, 151, 398) could not work.  This made him work a little harder than merely throwing random numbers out to make the sum total.

After some struggle and when Tiger started showing signs of frustration, I suggested that thinking about place values and the limitation set by the arrays and having to split the sum total into four addends at the same time might help.  The light came on when I sketched the array on paper (see pencil mark below):

Once he saw the sketches, Tiger understood how to approach the problem.  There are a few ways to solve the problem.  Below is Tiger's solution:

This post is linked up to:
  1. Hip Homeschool Hop - 11/12/2013
  2. Entertaining and Educational - Chinese Shadow Puppets
  3. Collage Friday - The Best Apple Cake and Frog Guts!
  4. Weekly Wrap Up: The One with A Lot of Cat Talk
  5. The Homeschool Mother's Journal {November 16, 2013}


  1. It's so easy to get wrapped up in fun school like history, and art, and forget about the basics........ but with the basics we can learn anything.

  2. I know what you mean, Julie. I feel as though we've neglected maths for a while so are getting back to it again. :-)

  3. Brilliant! You've taken something simple and turned it into a real thinking exercise. That is so what I want the girls maths to look like - that at the beginning of the week I give them a big problem that is solvable in many ways and just let them at it! I need about 16 more hours in my day to do all I want to do! Any ideas on how to get those extra hours??!

  4. I feel the same way about the lack of time, Claire! The thing about letting children discover something for themselves (as opposed to just letting them loose with a set number of workbook pages to complete) is that learning by discovery takes a much longer time to happen, and isn't always a linear process. :-)

  5. I love this kind of puzzle. I am so enjoying maths with C(9) lately - it is the homeschooling highlight for both of us at the moment. Maths really can be fun!

  6. Isn't it just so?! After understanding the basics, it's fun to do puzzles to reinforce lateral thinking. They're certainly more interesting than maths drills! :-)

  7. Understanding numbers, and I mean really understanding them like this is vital

  8. I think so, too, Fiona! :-) Thanks for stopping by.


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