Monday, January 19, 2015

Math Monday -- Playing Favorites

Because of the holiday, I have some extra time to play around with my favorite math -- baking.

I love the precision of measuring all of the ingredients to begin the dough, and then, when it's time to add the rest of the flour to the butter-milk-yeast-salt-sugar-flour starter, knowing exactly how much I can not measure, and instead rely on the feel of the dough.

When do kids get the joy of using math to make something?

Mid-month payday was last Thursday. On Saturday, I got to do another of my favorite maths -- balancing my checkbook. This is a bi-monthly game of (again) precision: Can I be accurate enough in my accounting to match my online bank statement to the penny? You'd think at my stage in life that I would be able to do this without a problem every single time. How hard can it be? Well, that's the point -- it's not hard, but it does take attention to detail. Constantly.

When do kids get the joy of using math in a way that really, really matters?

Somewhere along the line at the end of last year, the iPhone app Elevate caught my eye. This "brain training" app was Apple's 2014 App of the Year. It was free, so I downloaded it. I am rocking all the games that tap into my reading, writing and vocabulary skills. None of those feel like training to me! But, when one of my three free games for the day is Math Conversions or Math Discounting, I groan out loud...but still play the game. I often make so many mistakes that I "lose all of my lives," or I run out of time because I can do it...just not quickly enough. (For comparison's sake -- when I get the game where I have to look at faces and hear names and facts about people and then remember that information...I actively AVOID that game because it is such a weakness for me that the game causes the same kind of anxiety I have in real life about names and faces!)

Do kids choose to play video games that improve their math skills?

It's on my weekend to-do list to finish gathering and organizing everything for 2014 taxes. I'm avoiding that item. There's still time; it can wait. And about taxes themselves -- I used to stubbornly do them on my own. I wanted to believe that an American citizen with decent math and literacy skills should be able to manage their own Income Taxes. Yeah. I made a few mistakes about a decade ago. Didn't get audited, but now I pay a professional to do the taxes.

Paying someone else to do the math for you is one of the privileges of adulthood. Sorry, kids! For now, you have to do your own math homework!!

I am joining Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for Math Monday.


  1. I love your examples for playing with math in real life. So often, I think math is viewed as an isolated skill that isn't play-able. You've provided some clear examples here. I often encourage families to cook with their children. Sorry to hear about your elevate game playing journey. Keep at it, your stamina will overcome those math games! Thanks for joining Math Monday.

  2. Always learning along with you. Thanks for sharing your math moments.


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