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April 26, 2011


Creative Ways to Teach Math, Part 2

by aliciaarnold
DSC_5837 - Dragon Fire

Image by archer10 (Dennis) via Flickr

A few weeks ago I shared tips on how to creatively teach skip counting. Since then, readers have asked for more ways to teach math and logic. Here’s one for you from the “way back” machine. Why way back? Well, the tips I share are from a bedtime routine my husband started when our oldest son was about three. Fast-forward…and 2006 seems like eons ago!

Each night before my son went to bed, my husband would make up a bedtime story. The story was based on a little boy (my son) who had to find three crystals in order to escape the precarious situations he had gotten into. In order to obtain the crystals, the little boy had to solve challenges. These challenges involved word problems, logic and math.

One time the little boy had to open a door to find a crystal, but he was too small to reach the doorknob. The boy scanned the room and found three different sized boxes. However, no one box was tall enough for him to reach the knob. The question became, how might the boy use the boxes to help turn the knob? After a few guesses (and some clues from my husband), my son would answer, “I’d stack the boxes like steps and climb up to the door knob.”

One crystal down and one proud little boy who figured it out!

Then, the little boy would be asked to solve a word problem. Something along the lines of, “If the dragon had two apples and the troll gave him one more, how many apples would the dragon have all together?” My son’s tiny fingers would keep count and he would soon blurt,”three!”

Two crystals down and one to go.

Next, the little boy might be asked to cho0se the best path to get to the last crystal. One path was very long and winding. The other path was short, but dangerous. Which would the little boy take? If my son chose the short path, the tickle monster (my husband) would reach out and tickle him. After a few trials and errors, which may have been my sons way of staying up even later, he would take the longer path and nab the last crystal.

Math and logic skills along with crystals, dragons, trolls, and even a tickle monster – ah, to be young again.


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