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Laura Bankston's Daily Tip:  6/9/04

Today's Topic:  Math


The Fastest Way to Count a Stack of Sticks


Maybe your child is good at math- maybe he or she isn't.  Doesn't really matter.  What matters is being able to do math and have fun!


I remember when I first started on multiplication tables with Nathan.  It was like pulling teeth.  It was hard for me to explain, and it wasn't something I had ever enjoyed myself.


Fortunately, Nathan's Papa helped it all sink in.



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It was last year, in fact. 


The kids and I went home to visit my parents in July, 2003.  They did the typical stuff kids they got the added excitement of working in the garage with their Papa.


The boys helped on a few repair projects - like making a mattress wedge to help Great Grandma McCarty sleep easier, and making a new handle for Nana's extra storage freezer.


Well, one evening Papa and the boys were out in the garage working, and Nathan noticed a pile of sticks.  He asked about them, and Papa explained how he was making a crib for someone and that each of the sticks was really going to be a rung for the crib.


Nathan immediately wanted to know how many there were.


"Well,"  Papa said, "Why don't you just count them."


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So, Nathan stuck out his finger and started counting, "one, two, three, four."


"Wait a minute,"  Papa said, "You're gonna be counting all night if you count that way."


Nathan looked puzzle.


"Okay, let's take a look at this,"  Papa started to explain, "How many are in each stack?"


"Three," Nathan answered.


"And how many stacks are there?" Papa continued.


After a quick count, Nathan replied, "Seven".


"Good.  Now, the fast way to know how many sticks would be to multiply.  Seven stacks x 3 in a stack.  That's 7 x 3.  How many is that?"




Nathan finally got it.  He was so excited that he came in and told me all about it. 


And, here almost a year later, he still hasn't forgotten about it.  And knowing a "real life" application for his math helps him to be interested in learning more math.


Laura Bankston

P.S. Oh, by the way, we don't do boring multiplication recitation.  We sing our multiplication songs - and little Maegan dances along.  It's really cool to think that she's already absorbing them and she doesn't even know it.  See what we do by clicking here.


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