Archive for the ‘problem solving’ Category

To help Olivia visualize the math problems she’s doing, I suggested she use some shells. It makes math so much easier for her.

It’s nice to hear her work through her math lesson (“If I have three sea shells and I add one sea shell, I have FOUR sea shells!”).

Having natural math manipulatives is important too. Rather than having children count with plastic items, it is as easy to use small pebbles, acorns, twigs, or other items found in nature. Fall is a great time to find beautiful, colorful leaves.

Go outside for a fall nature walk, and bring bags to collect the treasures that can be used during math. Children love discovering items outside on walk which only adds to the excitement when they use them during math.


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Went through my button jars and created this melon-inspired button collection in pink, green, and white that’s available in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand. The colors remind me of summer, watermelons, and picnics.

With over 75 buttons to choose from, you could use them for a variety of projects: sewing, quilting, ATCs, ACEOs, scrapbooking, art journaling, jewelry…the possibilities are endless.

Buttons also are wonderful, tactile objects to use with math activities with children. Here are some ideas:

– match and sort the buttons (by shape, color, number of holes in the button, texture, pattern)

– addition and subtraction

– count and skip count (by 2, 3, 5, 10)

– create pattern series (green, green, pink, white, green, green, pink, white)

– introduce the concept of greater than, less than, and equal

– make different graphs using groups of buttons

– guess the number of buttons in jars

There are so many ways to use buttons in math. Having something tangible…something a child can manipulate…can make all the difference in helping introduce a new concept or comprehending a concept with which a child is struggling.

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The girls love climbing in the apple tree in the backyard. Besides feeling like they’re in a totally different world, climbing trees is a great lesson in problem solving. They have to figure out how to use the tree trunk and limbs to move higher in the tree.

That’s one of the reasons why I love homeschooling them. If they need a break from what they’re working on, I send them outside. Often times, they head right to the tree and climb it.

Clearly, it challenges them in different ways…and brings focus and clarity to what they are working on when they come back inside to resume their lesson.

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