Parents - Math Awareness
Preschool - Grade 6

Just as we concern ourselves with our children's awareness of the alphabet and reading, so it is important to enrich our children's awareness of numbers as they relate to everyday life. 

In the preschool years, much  time and effort is spent on the alphabet and reading.  However, numbers and number concepts are pretty much ignored. Perhaps this is due to a general lack of interest among mothers in the world of numbers. In fact, it might be safe to say that many mothers as a group seem to feel inadequate to the task of enjoying the world of numbers.

Perhaps both mothers and children could enjoy the learning process together.  

Some suggestions: 
Visit your local natural history museum and see the mineral displays. The formation of crystals in nature is always a fascinating sight and a great example of mathematical shapes in nature.

Following recipes while we cook brings up the use and importance of measuring. If the opportunity arises, taking measurements of height or weight also introduces the concept of measurement.

Why do we count using the decimal system - that is to the base 10. . That's an easy one. We each have ten fingers and ten toes. So that's a natural.  But why when measuring time do we use the numbers 12 and  60 as  important units of measure. Why is a circle 360 degrees. Why do we have 12 months in the year. The answers to these questions relate to astronomy and the Egyptians. After all, if you lived in a place where the land was flat and the sky was crystal clear all year, observing the moon and the stars would be natural. As a simple and ready reference, I recommend SCIENCE IN ANCIENT EGYPT by Geraldine Woods ($8.95). This is one of a series dealing with science in early civilizations. It is written at the grammar school level so that even we adults can understand it and then explain it to our children.

Where do our numbers come from? The answer is from the Arab culture. To fully understand the importance of this "invention", have your 4th or 5th grader try arithmetic operations using Roman numerals. Then do the same with Arabic numbers. SCIENCE IN EARLY ISLAMIC CULTURES by George Beshore ($8.95) will assist you on this subject. 

Quite clearly, this series enables anyone to grasp simple number concepts and interesting historical facts about science and mathematics so that children will perceive the subject as interesting from the very beginning. The other books in the series are:
          SCIENCE IN ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA
          SCIENCE IN ANCIENT CHINA
          SCIENCE IN ANCIENT GREECE
          SCIENCE IN ANCIENT ROME
          SCIENCE IN THE EARLY AMERICAS
          SCIENCE IN COLONIAL AMERICA
          Each is $8.95.                                           

Getting Down to Math specifically
First, please refer to the EDUCATORS - MATH section for useful material. In addition, I would like to mention Theoni Pappas, a marvelous writer of  books about all sorts of  mathematical concepts that are fascinating, and fun for all ages starting in 1st grade. They are all written in plain English with excellent illustrations.
     The Adventures of Penrose,the Mathematical Cat
     Math for Kids and Other People Too
 
For further pleasure, please sample:
          Math Talk
          The Joy of Mathematics
          More Joy of Mathematics
          Fractals,Googals and Other Mathematical Tales

In addition, I always recommend E.D.Hirsch's series What Every Child Should Know in the ___Grade. There are 7 books - Kindergarten through Grade 6. These will enable you to keep tabs on your child's progress, not only in math but in all other school subjects.



We would be delighted to hear from you with suggestions, questions or comments. Our e-mail address is: BooksInk@aol.com. We look forward to your correspondence.

 

 

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