For Families » Home Math Activities
Home Math Activities
Mathematics is an important part of everyone's life-whether we realize it or not. Think about these kinds of questions, ones that probably cross your mind frequently:
- If the weatherman says there is a 50% chance of rain, do you take an umbrella when you leave the house?
- Is the super size detergent really a better buy?
- How much paint do you need to redo the family room?
- Do you need more gas in the tank to take that special weekend trip?
Answering all these questions requires you to think mathematically.
In the same way, these activities can help your family use their sense of numbers and the way they interact-and have some fun at the same time.
- Watching the Clock
For a week, chart all the time your family spends doing homework, watching television, playing sports, eating, reading, doing chores, etc. At the end of the week, meet together to compile the information as decimals or percents of the whole week. Decide on a way to display the information as a graph and complete the graph.
- How many seconds/minutes/hours/days would you spend on each activity if you followed the same patterns for a week, a month, or a year?
- Use a day planner (with divisions for quarter-hours and hours) to plan activities for the following week such as school, work, study, play, team practice, lessons, homework, etc. Remember to factor in travel time between events if needed.
- Plan a homework session. How much time do your children have during the week to do homework? How can they best schedule their time to complete all their assignments?
- Party Time
The next time your children have a sleepover or party, ask them to plan for snacks or meals they will serve. How much food might each of their guests eat? If they have a limited budget, what can they actually purchase for the party?
- How can your children earn the money for the party?
- Plan a family dinner using the same budget. How many meals could your children fix for the family with the money they would use for the party?
- Scaling Up and Down
About how much floor space does your home have? How can you estimate this area? Think about using tools such as a meter or yard stick, or string of a given length to measure part of the area first to use as a basis for further calculation.
- Draw a scale model or build a scale model of your home.
- What percentages of the entire area of your home are used by adults? By children? By everyone? Why might these percentages add up to more than 100 percent?
- Compare the total area of your home with that of the White House. [Floor area of the White House is approximately 55,000 square feet covering six floors.] How many times could your home fit into the White House?
- What are the Chances?
Set a large plastic bowl in the middle of a room. Give all family members ten marshmallows or other soft objects to toss into the bowl. Take turns tossing the marshmallows and record how many each family member got into the bowl.
Given this record, what would each family member estimate to be their odds (chances for success compared to total outcomes possible) if they had ten more marshmallows to throw? Try it out. What did you all discover?
- Talk about these questions: What factors might improve a person's chances of getting all of the marshmallows in the bowl? What factors might make the chances worse? Does past performance always indicate future performance? How does each person's odds compare with their odds on other activities, such as winning a board game or correctly calling a coin toss?
- Play the game at several intervals during the year. What happens to each person's performance? How does this affect their odds?
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