Spirals: Looking for Them in Nature and Creating Art with Them

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Fern on the mountain that grows out from a spiral. © Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

 

The Summer season is approaching and we are at the moment between the end of Spring and the beginnings of Summer.  For most areas, it is time to go out and explore.  This would be a great time either go look for spirals, or create them with your children.

There are so many, many things that grow in spirals.  You can talk about the solar system that we live in to your child and show how the planets, starting from the center that is the Sun and show how the movement is in a spiral, while each planet does move around the Sun in an elliptical motion, the whole system moves inward, out.  Because we cannot take to the outskirts of our solar system, we can show them how living things in the world we live in also grow in a spiral fashion.  We can also make spirals for art. 🙂

FERNS:

Look at the Fern, in the picture above.  The way that this Fern grows is first starting in a Spiral and then opening up by unraveling itself.  If you look closely to the ends of this Fern, you can see little tiny spirals that are waiting to unravel.  I am sure there is a better scientific way to describe this, but I am here to show you how you can teach your child about different shapes, which includes spirals 🙂

 

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Sea Shell from the ocean that I used for a Mandala for water ©Christina Grossman All Rights Reserved

SHELLS:

There are many shells that have circular spirals and are fun to look at and find on the beach.  There are also shells that are more conic, cones, that form in a spiral fashion.  So, if you live near a beach, or a craft store, or dollar store, go see what you can find.

 

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Fern on the mountain that grows out from a spiral. © Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

GLASS BEAD SPIRAl ART: 

We get a lot of things from the nearby dollar store for arts and crafts and such.  These glass beads are so beautiful to use to make art with, especially spirals.  This gives the child and you a chance to figure out how to space things out so that everything is symmetric, or balanced on both sides.  For children who are not able to draw spirals in the beginning, this gives them an opportunity to create one with stones.  Glass beads are not required, but you get the idea.  You can even print this one out and start from the first light blue glass bead from the center and start singing the ABCs.  You have enough light blue beads to complete the whole song. 🙂

 

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Fern on the mountain that grows out from a spiral. © Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

LEAVES:

There are some leaves, that when they fall off the branch and begin to dry, they make spirals.  If you are living in the Southwest, you might be more familiar with these leaves.  They are all over our yard and they dry up in little beautiful spirals.

 

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A vine from our Carolina Jasmine in our yard.  ©Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

CAROLINA JASMINE VINES: 

These vines have these yellow trumpet like flowers that hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love when they are in bloom.  The interesting way that Carolina Jasmine grows is how the vines spiral out when they grow.  This is how the Carolina Jasmine grows in different directions, whether on a lattice, around a tree, or attaching to a bush.  The Carolina Jasmine does not have any “grippers” or “creepers” to attach to a wall or a tree, it actually grows in spirals, as you can see on the picture above.  All you need to do is just pay attention.  🙂

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Fern on the mountain that grows out from a spiral. © Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

CABBAGE: 

Cabbage!  Slice up your red/purple cabbage to reveal that not all spirals are formed by circles.  If you look at the center, you see a five-pointed star.  On the outer perimeter of the star is a pentagon.  This pentagon rotates and rotates and you see a spiral as well 🙂 Give this to your child to trace the spiral with their fingers.  If you don’t have cabbage, print this picture out, or show this to them on the screen!

 

Spiral art made from Sycamore leaves from smallest to biggest. © Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

SYCAMORE LEAVES SPIRAL ART: 

This photo of the spiral made from Sycamore leaves is not a new addition to this blog.  This was a short activity to involve my children in when working on the idea of smallest to biggest.  Do this with dried leaves, fresh leaves, flowers, cereal, or rocks.  The kids really liked this one, but you may find that keeping this as few of leaves as possible will guarantee that the kids will finish it.

 

Something To Think About:  

How will this prepare them for Kindergarten, or for a mathematics readiness test?  It does something even more important than that.  You showing them that the world they live in has mathematics gives them relevance and excitement.  Learning mathematics and exploring mathematics is not all about formulas, it is really about understanding how much our world lives in mathematics.  Whether it is how a plant spreads out in growth, the food we eat, or artwork that we create, the more involved we feel in something we are learning, the more we lead ourselves to a better understanding of it.

My oldest son might just say “Ya, ya, I know it’s a spiral,” but I will keep doing this over and over when I get the chance to just take a moment to point things out in his world.  It is like showing a child where vegetables come from and starting a garden, or picking from a garden.  It offers an opportunity to become more connected with the world.  So go outside and have some fun and take a few moments to point out the spirals that you see.  Enjoy the time you have with your children and make it fun. 🙂

 

copyright 2016 Christina Grossman. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Looking for Shapes in Rocks: Hearts, Trapezoids, Rectangles, Triangles, and Rhombi.

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Rhombus-Shaped Rocks, or Diamonds

 

The kids wanted to go ride their bikes outside and while everyone took their water break, we took the opportunity to look for rocks.  It all started by asking the kids to look for rocks in the shape of triangles.  Those were put in a pile.  Then I asked them to look for rocks in the shape of rectangles.  Then one of them found a trapezoid shaped rock and the rest found more of those.  After that, it was time to look for rocks shaped like a rhombus, or diamond shaped.  It took all of five minutes and it was fun!  That’s all it has to take to see shapes in shapes because it is just that easy.  The best thing about this is that it is a scavenger hunt that is fun at any season of the year 🙂  So go outside and explore the shapes that rocks have to offer!

 

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Rectangle-Shaped Rocks

 

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Heart-Shaped Rocks

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Trapezoid-Shaped Rocks

 

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Triangle-Shaped Rocks

Something to Think About: 

Go outside and search for the shapes because they do happen naturally, even hearts!  If you do not have a yard, or a place to look for rocks, then go look at the shapes you see on buildings, or the sidewalk.  The shapes are everywhere and it is free! No prepping, no spending, just walk outside and point these things out to your kids.  From time to time, ask them what shape this is, or ask them to find something in this shape.  It is so much fun!

Get excited about math and get them excited too! When you show interest, they will follow.  Change the way they see the world because it is so beautiful outside 🙂

 

copyright 2016 learning math with mom

 

 

 

 

 

Learning About Red, Green, Black, and Time. What’s in Your Garden?

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A garden is just a garden, right?  What is so interesting about a garden?  Well, what you grow in the garden can teach your children many things like the fact that colors can have flavor, texture, and smell.  A garden can teach you about how time can be measured more than with days, weeks, and months.  So what’s in the garden?

For my current little one in the house, we were fortunate to pick some tomatoes and watermelon from a garden that we help at once a week during late summer and fall.  This was a perfect opportunity to teach my daughter about the color red, green, black.

Before giving the fruit, or vegetable to your child, describe the color.  Not all watermelons are red inside.  Not all tomatoes are red either.  Even on the same fruit, or vegetable there can be multiple colors.  Point those out 🙂

Learning about a color of a fruit, or vegetable is very important because they learn when it is ripe to eat, or best to eat it.  Talking about when a tomato gets red and what color is it when it begins to grow is very important to learn and it gives them the opportunity to understand why certain colors of food is so important to know before eating it.  Why do we not eat the tomato when it is green?  We eat celery when it is green, why not tomatoes?

To learn about flavor of a fruit or vegetable, it is easy to just have the child eat it.  For smell, have the child smell it and ask it the smell and taste are the same, or different.  For example, some people can tell if they are smelling cilantro, but the taste to them is like eating grass.

On another thought, what does the rind, which is green, taste like when you take a bite of it?  What anything green taste like and smell like?  How about the color black?  Black berries and black cherries are great examples of black fruit!  What about a banana that goes from green, to yellow, to brown, to black?  What does a banana taste like and smell like when it is those colors and when would we eat them, or use them to cook with?  In other words, give your child the experience to find out these certain characteristics of food that we sometimes take for granted.

For texture, I know people who might describe a tomato has mushy, slimy, or juicy.  It just depends on the person who is tasting that tomato at that moment.  The same can go for a the texture of watermelon.  🙂

So what does color, smell, texture, and taste have to do with learning about math?  When we take the little moments to help our children understand the relevance of color, smell, texture, and taste of what we eat, we are giving our children an opportunity to understand the world they are living in.  By also taking the time to explore the characteristics of fruit and vegetables we prepare the child to use more vocabulary in describing something.  In mathematics, exploration, understanding relevance, finding more ways to describe something, and looking for patterns is very important.

Think about time for a moment, time can be measured by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years.  But when we look at vegetables and fruit, time can also be measured in the color that a vegetable turns.  Time can also be measured in terms of the texture and smell that a certain vegetable and fruit produces.  It is very important to understand time this way because it teaches us to understand when a certain vegetable, or fruit from our garden is ready to eat.

When we can think of different ways to describe what goes on in our world, like produce from the garden, the more interested we might become in exploring other situations around us.  The more different ways we can see a garden, the deeper the understanding we can develop about how a garden works and what goes on in a garden and this can all start with your little one.

Something to Think About:

Mathematics becomes more interesting when we think it is connected to things in our life because it really is.  When we give our children the opportunity to see it in their early years, the less of a struggle it will be when they get older.  We all, at some point, need to know why we need to learn something and that, my friend, is called relevance.

I have come across this need for relevance many times when I taught students in the classroom, also other teachers in mathematics, with my own learning, and with my children. We all want to know why we need to learn something and that is a good thing.   When we see that it is part of our everyday life, then we are more open to learning about it.  All this, from a garden.  So what’s in your garden?

copyright 2016 learning math with mom

copyright 2016 learning math with mom

 

When the Only Way Your Child Learns Shapes is if it’s Pink: Adapting to Our Children

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It was that time to teach my daughter her shapes.  I tried the shape cards to show her what is a circle, a square, a triangle, and the rest of the shapes.  When we went to the grocery store, I pointed out items that were in the shape of a circle, a square, a rectangle, and such.  She did not seem interested, but I continued to do it.

The same went for colors.  The only color she wanted to learn was the color pink. It was a few months, but then she opened up to purple.  After that, she was interested in red, but her favorite color was pink.  So I went along with her favorite color and wanted to use that to help her get interested in learning her shapes.

One morning, I picked out the pink shapes for each different shape and she was so excited! From then on, we work on the pink shapes because for now, that is what works. As for counting  items from 1 through 10, they are the color pink.  🙂

Here is the link to the shape cards that are in color in both English and Spanish:

2 dimensional shape flash cards in English

Click to access 2dimensionalshapeflashcardswithellipse.pdf

2 dimensional shape flash cards in Spanish

Click to access 2dimensionalshapeflashcardsinspanish.pdf

 

Something to Think About:

Just because my daughter is a girl, did not automatically mean that she was going to like the color pink.  I am female and prefer the color blue.  Your son might like the color pink and your daughter might like orange.  The point being is that certain colors should not be assumed that a certain gender will like them.  We all , young and older, have different interests.  With that, use your child’s interest as a tool for learning.

Remember that we also learn at different times.  It is not about getting to the finish line first, it is about actually getting there.  Take the time to do a little bit each day, or each week to work with your child on mathematics.  If it becomes frustrating, take a breath and come back to it at another time.

The mathematics is already there, whether it is time to make a meal, play outside, or shop for groceries.  The more we make mathematics as a part of our life, the more relevant it will become to your child to learn and understand.

 

copyright 2016 learning math with mom

 

 

Activity Calendars From Learning Math with Mom

copyright 2016 christina grossman

copyright 2016 Christina Grossman

 

As a new mom years ago, I could  not think straight from all the lack of sleep.  I still wanted to see how I could teach my firstborn math, but needed a reminder to keep track.  As time passed, two more calendars were posted up on the refrigerator to remind me now and then of what we could focus on that day.  These have been shared throughout this blog as the “Schedule of Activities”.

At first glance, it looks like a rigid schedule to follow and leaves one to question when there was time to do anything else.  The calendars are there to serve as reminders of what could be done that day.  The calendar can be followed just as it is, or adjusted to what works for you in your household. Either way, it is to be a resource for you and your family.  🙂

Remember, it is not about following a strict schedule of teaching math to your child(ren) at home.  It is about actually finding ways to incorporate it into your family life in things that we already do because the math is and was already there to begin with.  🙂

Please enjoy this as a resource and friendly reminder for ages newborn-5 years of age.

Schedule of Activities for 0-18 months

Click to access Schedule%20for%20the%20Week_zerotoeighteenmonths.pdf

 

Schedule of Activities for 18 months-3 years of age

Click to access ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

 

Schedule of Activities for 3 years – 5 years of age (with go through a revision soon)

Click to access CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

copyright 2016 learning math with mom

copyright 2016 Christina Grossman

What Books Does Mom Have About Math? Here are just a few….

 

At our home, we have a lot of books about math.  I have been asked what books I have read or the kids used since they were little ones and even to this present day.  The best way I can do this is through photos and there will be repeats as I have taken these photos at different times.

As a note, none of the publishers, nor the authors have paid me or asked me to post these books on this blog.  These are books that we actually own, or have owned.  You do not need to get all of these books, just choose a one or a few and go from there.  Remember, checking them out in the library, borrowing them from a friend, or buying them are options.  The important thing to remember is to begin reading to your child, especially in mathematics. 🙂

 

copyright 2015 Learning Math with Mom All Rights Reserved

copyright 2015 Learning Math with Mom
All Rights Reserved

 

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Celebrating Autumn From Smallest to Biggest and Spiral

This kids are 1,4, and 5 at this point last. There are leaves everywhere from the Sycamore tree. So where there is nature, there is math. 🙂

This was really a great time for us to be together outside and looks for leaves.  My older ones were particular about the way the leaves looked. It took a bit of time, but it was worth it. There was a lot of comparing and contrasting to see which one was smallest to biggest, but it came naturally, as it should.

The boys were helping me put the spiral together with the leaves, but the rest of the leaves were calling out to them to play. 🙂 I finished the rest of the spiral and they did get to see that we can make art out of nature. That same day, one made a horse out of leaves, while the other one was still trying to find the smallest leaf and the perfect leaf. 🙂

What Math Concepts Were Learned?

Answer:

  1. Biggest to Smallest, Smallest to Biggest
  2. Compare and Contrast
  3. Problem Solving
  4. Spatial Reasining when putting together the spiral

Something to Think About:

When Autumn comes, there is a lot to explore and play with. There are rocks, sticks, leaves, acorns, and such to compare and contrast. Then make art with it!

Remember, it is not that you get there first in learning, it is that you get there in the first place.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

Do You want a Half of a Banana, or a Whole Banana? Starting Fractions Early

When it is time for a snack or dessert, a banana is so nice and sweet for the little ones.  At first, when I have asked each of my kids whether they want a half of a banana, or a whole banana, they look at me like I am crazy.  So I take out a banana and show them a whole banana, then I take that banana and show them half.  Usually, they will say that they want a whole banana and then go eat because of course they want a whole banana.  It was not to test them on the idea of whole, or half.  It was giving them the vocabulary to use to describe how much of something they wanted.

One whole banana

Why would anyone want half a banana?

With my two boys being so little and close in age, sometimes there would be only one banana left.  If both were to get a banana, we would need to cut this in half.  This is the moment to now see half as equal parts because for kids, each person should get the same as the other, right?

Taking the knife to cut the banana, I placed the knife at different parts of the banana, asking them each time if this was cutting the banana in half.  “Would the both of you get the same amount if I cut it here?” “Would he get more or less of the banana, if I cut it here?” “Where would I cut the banana so that both of you get the same amount?”

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After cutting the banana in half, I put the two pieces, one over the other, to have the boys see if both pieces were equal.

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So, there it is.  It took me longer to type this out, than it did to show my kids in real time about half and whole.

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

Click to access ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

Answer:

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

 

Something to Think About:

Start asking your little one about whole and half. This does not need to happen each and every time someone asks for a banana because then it starts to sound scripted. Once in a while, bring it up as this lesson should only take no more than five minutes.

Teaching math to the little ones should be a part of life so that they can see early on how math relates to their world. The more we do this, the less foreign it will be when they begin school. Math is a part of life, just as it is with sharing a banana.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

Fruity Fractions are Healthy and Delicious!

Why not learn fractions with watermelon as well!  Watermelon is a great snack for kids and an opportunity for learning about fractions. With the last fraction activity using oranges, the whole was the whole orange.  In this case, I use a circular slice of the watermelon as a whole.  Why?  All of us need to see the whole in different ways and its parts.

At this time, my oldest was 5, second oldest was about to turn 4, and my youngest was too young to notice what we were doing, nor could eat watermelon.  Taking a slice of watermelon, I told them that this slice is the whole.  Cutting in half, I then said that this is now cut in half.  “What do you notice about the two pieces that came from the whole slice of watermelon?” “Are they the same, or different?” If cut this slice of watermelon into two pieces and give it to the both of you, would you want them to be the same or different?” “Why?”

Those are the questions, I asked and still ask when the moment presents itself.  When asking the kids questions, ask both questions that will result in a yes or no, and ask them questions that they need to explain more.  The most important thing to remember is just to ask your child questions to find out what they are thinking.

Now cut the two equal parts in half again.  How many slices of watermelon was the whole cut into?  What are they called now? Are they called halves, or something else?  Answer:  they are called fourths.  Cut each of those fourths in half and what do you get?  Answer: they are called eighths.  Why are they called eighths?  Are each of these eighths the same/equal to the other eighths?  If we put all of these eight eighths together, what do they make?  These are just a sample of questions to ask your kids.  Just be mindful of how many questions you ask before the kids’ attention span is gone.  🙂

Now eat and enjoy so they can taste the delicious mathematics they just learned!  🙂

Here are more pictures for you to use.  Print them out and use them for later to help your kids learn their fractions again.  The kids can also use the pictures to help them cut the fruit in equal pieces.

Whole- One Whole

Half- Two Halves

Half- Two Halves

Fourths- Four Fourths

Fourths- Four Fourths

Eighths- Eight Eighths

Eighths- Eight Eighths

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

Answer:

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

Answer:

1. Friday- Numbers, Part/Whole, Half, Thirds

Something to Think About:

It is also good to remember that the whole does not always need to be a circle either.  Try a piece of bread and cut that into half. Talk about that and ask the kids questions about whether they think it is important for the two pieces to be the same or not.  Then cut that into fourths and eighths. What about bananas?  Talk about the whole fruit of the banana as the whole and how would they cut the whole in half?  How about fourths? How about thirds? How about fifths? What would that look like?  Fractions are our friends.  Fruity fractions are even better!

Remember, learning is not a race.  If you think it is a race, it is better to think of different ways to finish and that it is more important to get there than who gets there first.  With mathematics, it was always meant to be learned and by all.  So think of other ways you can be in the house or outside and teach your kids about fractions and the vocabulary.  You are, in fact, your child’s first teacher.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

Making Orange Juice Out of Fractions

In our family, we have the pleasure of receiving oranges from relatives and this makes it so much fun to show the kids how to make orange juice and learn some fractions! If you do not have oranges handy, you can always use any type of fruit because showing the kids about frations with many different types of shapes and objects can get them away from fractions as having always to do with circles.

Start by showing what is the “whole”.  With oranges, the whole orange is the “whole”. Cut this in half, into two equal parts.  Show this your child and say that each piece is a part of the whole orange and ask them whether the two parts are the same or different.  Ask your child to put the two parts together to make the whole and tell them that each part has a special name, a half.

Then cut each half into two more equal parts, fourths.  Ask your child the same question about what they notice, or see with the new parts of the whole.  Are they equal to each other?  Are they halves anymore?  How many parts are there now to the whole?  Four? Those are called fourths because there are four parts to the whole.  If you want to go further and you still have your child’s attention, cut each fourth in half.   Ask the same questions as before, but now they are eighths because there are eight equal parts to the whole orange.

Now have your orange snack and enjoy making orange juice!

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

Click to access ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

Answer:

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?

Click to access CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

Answer:

1. Friday- Numbers, Part/Whole, Half, Thirds

Something to Think About:

If you would like to just focus on a half of an orange, then do it. 🙂  Ask your child how many halves might it take to fill a whole cup with juice?How many halves would it take to fill a cup of juice for each family member?  If this is how many halves it took to fill a cup, how many halves will it take to fill two cups?  Begin asking those questions and manually find out the answers after they guess.

If you want to cut the pieces into eighths, then do it.  If you want to focus on sixteenths, then do it.  Make adjustments here and there because every family and child is different.  Always remember to give yourself time and your children time to do this learning.  If you only get to talk about the concept of half, great! It is not a race. It is not who gets there first in the learning, it is about getting there that is more important.  🙂

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

copyright 2015 learning math with mom