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Reader questions

Reader questions


How do I get my child excited about or interested in math?

To answer this question, I turned to Erika Hedin, a former math teacher, current curriculum designer, and perennial number enthusiast.

Her advice boiled down to:

1. Show your child how you use math in your daily life.

2. Have fun with math.

Let’s first talk about the first one.

Hedin says the best way to build excitement around math is to think about how you personally interact with math on a day-to-day basis. Then talk about that with your child. For example Hedin suggested: ”If you're dealing with time it's interesting to think about how seconds build to minutes, minutes build to hours, and hours build to days. Additionally, 60 and 24 (and 12 for a clock) are all numbers that have lots of factors. Discussing how this is helpful in our lives is a conversation that I love having with kids.”

Cooking together can lead to conversations about fractions and ratios (if you haven’t tried to make different salad dressing with your kid, you go to try this one!) If your child earns an allowance, you can easily talk about adding and subtracting and even earning interest (if you want to get a bit more sophisticated.) The point is to help your child see that math is not just an abstract concept.

The second suggestion is to have some fun with math. There are many educational games you can buy but you don’t have to spend money to play games. 

For example, Hedin says understanding that numbers can be put together and taken apart to make other numbers is the building block of learning multiplication and division. All you need to understand this is a deck of cards.

Hand kids the deck and invite them to put together different card combinations to make 10 or 16 or 20. Then have them ignore the number on the cards and make 5 equal groups of cards (or 10 or 2 or whatever). You get the idea. Just have fun manipulating numbers. You could easily to do this in the car or even waiting at a restaurant.

There are also a variety of math apps (this one is good) that you could easily put on your phone. (But don't forget to read to your child!)

Hedin also suggests looking for visual patterns is fun (there's an app for that, too). 

In you’re looking for more inspiration, Hedin suggested Math in Unexpected Places . It has lots of great conversation starters and ideas. Don’t forget that your child’s teacher has some ideas they would love to share with you. Just ask!

Here are some more resources you may find helpful:

How to Learn Math is a free class for learners of all levels of mathematics. If you kids are young, you might watch the videos yourself and then share the information with them.

And this is VERY exciting: A week of inspirational math! Looks fun. Share it with your child's teacher or try it yourself at home.

Your attitude toward math will really affect your kids. Here are some ideas.

And this website it a great resource for understanding how math is taught a little differently than how you and I learned it.

This has a whole bunch of math games you can play (including art projects!) while creating your own Math Camp!

This article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education is great. Forward it to your child's teacher, too. 

Have a question? Ask me!

Did you know I love to work directly with teachers, families, administrators, librarians, dads, students, abuelas, community members, program directors, teachers-in-training and literally everyone else? Talk to me.

Amanda Hamilton Roos