Math at the Movies- at Home!

At Math Anywhere! our projects invite math conversations into the spaces families go. Our Math at the Movies slides were designed to scroll across the big screen and engage a theater audience. With families now staying home to watch there is no reason we can’t bring our conversation-starting images to the small screen. Give it a try! Just broadcast this presentation to your own screen before you start your movie, while the popcorn is popping and everyone is settling in. Enjoy!

 

 

Molly Daley

Molly Daley

Molly Daley is a Regional Mathematics Coordinator at ESD 112 in Vancouver, WA. She started the Math Anywhere! project to help children and their grown-ups experience the creative and playful side of mathematics. As soon as she learned there was more to math than the rules she memorized in school, Molly was hooked. She believes math is expansive and she likes helping people recognize their own mathematical connection.

What Repeats?

Patterns are everywhere! The game What Repeats? is a great game for young children and older kids as well. Patterns are abundant in nature (and within our own bodies), but they are especially noticeable in man-made objects. Take the image above, for example, and answer What Repeats?

The tear drop shapes circling the dot in the center of the helmet.

Keep going!

The lines on the blacktop.

Keep going!

The skateboard has two wheels on each end.

The boy has a sock on each foot, a shoe on each sock, laces on each shoe, etc.

This game starts out very simple, but once you start looking it becomes more apparent just how many patterns can be found. Can’t find any? Maybe you need to look closer. A magnifying glass can be a great tool to bring in to examine the fibers in a shirt or the texture of a piece of fruit. This activity has a tendency to blow minds when you start examining the formation of everyday objects!

If finding the patterns around your kids has lost its luster, and you want some fun images to challenge your kids’ pattern-finding, check out the Idea Gallery and click on the “What Repeats” button

If you’re looking for something for kids to draw or write on, we have blank How Many? and What Repeats? printables in English and Spanish near the bottom of our Printables page. Ask your kids to make a pattern or draw a picture and ask you to find What Repeats?.

What patterns can you find? Where did you find them? Let us know in the comments!

Melissa Burt

Melissa Burt

Guest Contributor

Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.

Find This Many & The Number Game

The game Find This Many is like the scavenger hunt version of How Many?. Instead of asking the open-ended, how many?, you can ask kids to find a specific quantity or value.

When playing with toddlers and preschool kids, for the image above, I might say: I see two stuffed animals. Can you find two of anything?

They might answer:

Two giraffes

Two elephants

Two sets of baby and mommy animals

You can keep this going by changing out the quantities and incorporating the early math concepts of position, size, and shape. (For example: I see three large plastic animals, I see four small plastic animals, I see lots of wooden stars up high.)

The video from the How-to page demonstrates how this game might go with kids (videos on the How-to page are also now available in Spanish):

Like any of these math games, you can play this game looking at anything around you, but if you want some fun images to challenge your kids’ counting prowess, check out the Idea Gallery and click on the “Find This Many” button.

Find This Many is also a great game for older kids. To adapt it to a more advanced level, you can have kids look for fractions, negative numbers, and quantitative phrases like not enough and too many.

Math educator and author Christopher Danielson has a printable version of Find This Many called The Number Game that he distributes in his Math-on-a-Stick booth at the Minnesota State Fair. With his permission, we’ve adapted The Number Game for our own printables. This printable version is handy if you want kids to keep track of their findings and return them for a prize or math credit. We’ve got them in English and Spanish for older and younger kids.

It’s always fun to see how creative kids can get with their lists. When my daughter was four we played The Number Game together at a Public Math Day event in Portland. It didn’t take her long to realize that larger numbers are composed of smaller numbers, so she just found a large group of objects and wanted to answer that for every lower number! I decided to take her ‘cheating’ as a math win, since it showed her understanding of the counting concept.

Melissa Burt

Melissa Burt

Guest Contributor

Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.

Find Shapes

The game Find Shapes is a pretty simple one that young children tend to play naturally when they start learning shape names. Shapes are particularly in abundance in man-made settings, but they are often found in nature too. Take the image above, for example, and Find Shapes!

The obvious: A circle

Keep going!

Four circles (orange, yellow, white and blue)

Keep going!

Triangles or wedges in the orange

A small broken white oval shape in the middle

Now how could we extend this activity to stretch our math thinking further? Well, if these were objects in front of us instead of a photograph, we could adjust the angle. What shapes would we find if we lowered our eyes to be level with the plate? Now the orange becomes a half-circle (or dome if you want to do 3-d shapes for older kids). The plate becomes a very long, skinny rectangle, or perhaps a trapezoid, depending on its shape.

This game starts out very simple, but can quickly evolve to be more complex. What would you call some of the shapes that aren’t the standard basic ones. Do those need to be broken down into smaller shapes that compose them? It’s a fun activity that also forms the basis of many “how to draw” books.

The video from the How-to page demonstrates how this game might go with kids as you explore outside (videos on the How-to page are also now available in Spanish):

For those living with social distancing guidelines right now, you don’t have to go ON the playground to find the shapes. In fact, it’s better from a distance. You can play this game looking at anything around you (and in your own home), but if you want some fun images to challenge your kids’ shape finding, check out the Idea Gallery and click on the “Find Shapes” button. It could also be fun to play Find Shapes while embarking on one of the many  free virtual museum tours available!

If you’re counting shapes outside, WOMI has some printable frames that can make the activity fun for sharing on social media.

What shapes can you find? Where did you find them? Let us know in the comments!

Melissa Burt

Melissa Burt

Guest Contributor

Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.

Same or Different?

“You like ‘poTAYtoes’, and I like ‘poTAHtoes’, you like ‘toMAYtoes’, and I like ‘toMAHtoes’…”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The game Same or Different? is one of the easiest games to understand and immediately play because we humans play it constantly without realizing it. Categorization is an important kind of mathematical thinking, and this game, like Which One Doesn’t Belong, encourages that. So let’s play! Look at the two groups in the above image, and ask Same or Different?

Same: They are both foods in the produce aisle.

Different: Tomatoes are fruit, potatoes are root vegetables.

Same: They are both about the same size and spherical shape.

Different: The tomatoes have leafy parts. (Follow-up: What if the potatoes had sprouting roots?)

Different: The tomatoes are red, the potatoes are brownish. (Follow-up: What if the potatoes were the red variety?)

Same: They both are in a big bin and there are hundreds of them.

You get the idea!

This is also a game where you can incorporate the mathematical principles of size, position, quantity and shape while playing.

The video from the How-to page demonstrates how this game might go with kids (videos on the How-to page are also now available in Spanish):

If you want to start playing this game at home with some guidance, check out our printables. They will help you get a feel for how to choose the two objects to compare. You can play with your kids and make it a conversation, or send the older kids off on their own to write down their answers for some math + opinion writing time. If they really get into it (or you do!), you can also make your own games using our blank printables.

Here’s a video I took of my 5-year-old sharing her ideas for Same or Different? with some additional ideas added from her older sister:

If your family enjoys some friendly competition, you can also make it a Same or Different? battle. Have one person take the “same” position and the other argue “different” until one runs out of ideas. (Hint: In my experience, “same” is generally the harder position to argue, so you might want the older, more gracious participant take that position.)

Here are my oldest two kids using our printables for a fun Same or Different? battle:

Melissa Burt

Melissa Burt

Guest Contributor

Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.

How Many?

The game How Many? is such a versatile one because of its seeming simplicity. You can ask this question of just about anything. That simple question has so many hidden depths of possibility though. Take the image above: How many ways can you answer “How Many?”?

The obvious: Six eggs

But…keep going!

Um…One carton

Keep going!

Half a dozen

Two diamond shapes between the eggs

Six triangles at the edges (one hidden by the logo)

Six words

36 characters

Three letter ‘o’s

Hundreds of speckles on the eggs

You get the idea!

This game really stretches your perception of countable items, right? The video from the How-to page demonstrates how this game might go with kids (videos on the How-to page are also now available in Spanish):

Like I said, you can play this game looking at anything around you, but if you want some fun images to challenge your kids’ counting prowess, check out the Idea Gallery and click on the “How Many” button.

Counting for How Many? doesn’t have to be limited to finite numbers. For those pictures that have A LOT of items, this is a great way for kids to practice their estimating skills. Words like about, approximately, a lot, dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions are all acceptable in the answers. Even quantitative phrases like not enough and too many are fair game.

For older kids, try to get them to work in some fractions and negative numbers too.

Special thanks to Christopher Danielson, author of the How Many: A Counting Book who started all this fun!

Melissa Burt

Melissa Burt

Guest Contributor

Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.

Which One Doesn’t Belong?

When I was first brought on to help with materials for the Math Anywhere project a couple of years ago, it took me a while to wrap my head around the math games. When I was growing up, math was something scary that you did in school under the supervision of a professional. The idea of math as something fun and playful seemed foreign to me, until I realized that the “math” in these open-ended games was something much broader than equations on a chalkboard (where there most definitely IS a right answer). In fact, I discovered that I had already been playing these math games with my own kids without knowing it!

One of my favorite of these games is Which One Doesn’t Belong? because it reminds me of that old Sesame Street game. Except on Sesame Street at the end of the game, they tell you the “answer.” In today’s version of Which One Doesn’t Belong?, the four objects are deliberately chosen so that any of them could be the right answer. The video from the How-to page demonstrates that (videos on the How-to page are also available in Spanish):

At first, when I played this game with my own kids, my oldest (the overachiever who really loves being “right”) felt “tricked” that there was no one right answer. Her younger brother instantly loved it though, and immediately set about creating his own sets of four. Now that they are familiar with it, all the kids love this game, and even the 3- and 5-year-old enjoy playing.

If you want to start playing this game at home with some guidance, check out our printables. They will help you get a feel for how to choose objects in the groupings. You can play with your kids and make it a conversation, or send the older kids off on their own to write down their answers for some math + opinion writing time. If they really get into it (or you do!), you can also make your own games using our blank printables.

Here’s a video I took of my 5-year-old sharing her ideas for Which One Doesn’t Belong?:

You’ll notice how I don’t jump in with ideas myself, but I do prompt her to keep going and help her elaborate on her ideas. She comes up with ideas related to color, material (soft vs. hard), number of colors, and shape. Other ideas for these games can incorporate position (high/low/near/far), size, quantity, function/use and just about anything.

At this point you might be wondering: How exactly is this math?

These games are designed to help stimulate curiosity and critical thinking that is so key to math learning. They also help introduce math as something playful and fun that families can do together, so that kids (and their grownups) have a positive approach toward math. Our videos and printables are designed in particular for early learners (though they are fun for all ages). If your kids are older and you want to bring more traditional math into the play, check out the games on this site.

Special thanks to Christopher Danielson, author of the Which One Doesn’t Belong: A Shapes Book who started all this fun!

Melissa Burt

Melissa Burt

Guest Contributor

Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.