22 April 2012

(parenting) Bite-sized math/sci lessons for 6! yr-olds (12-27)

Hello -

More ideas on little 5-minute lessons after storytime. I received lots of great feedback and encouragement here and on Facebook - thanks! In continuation of the previous post, here goes!  (Toby turned 6, so now this is "for 6 yr olds.")

Lesson 12: Review of addition
Do some addition of 1-, 2-, and 3-digit numbers, with or without carrying.

Lesson 13: What's inside?
Draw a cross-section of some common mechanical device, like a ballpoint pen. Your child might want to draw it, too.

Lesson 14: Vectors
(I don't know what I was thinking here, but it worked out okay.) If you know what vectors are already this will be really simple:

  • A "vector" is an arrow that you draw. Its length and direction are important.
  • Length: draw a small vector and a long vector pointing in the same direction
  • Direction: draw two vectors of the same length, pointing in different directions
  • Show how to ADD vectors (put the tail of the second vector at the head of the first, and...)
Lesson 15: Some Angles
Show him or her what an angle is. I did it by drawing a series of increasing angles, e.g. 30, 50, 90, 95, 120, 175... And for fun, 1 degree.
  • 90 degrees has a special name
  • Draw a protractor and label some angles, make tick marks every 10 degrees
Lesson 16: Types of 4-sided shapes
I think this one might've been a bit much.
  • Make a table of 4 columns: {angle, lengths of sides, name, picture}
  • We had rows that ended up like this. I know, I know, I could have done this a lot better, but at sleepytime this was the best we could do:
  • 90 degrees; 2 short, 2 longer, or all the same, "rectangle," picture
  • 90 degrees; all the same; "square," picture
  • parallelogram (oh, my, what's parallel?)
  • ...trapezoid
I convinced myself that for a kindergartener maybe it's sufficient for them to realize that plenty of different shape-types have 4 straight sides.

Lesson 17: Parallel
Two lines are parallel if they never touch if continued forever
I still like the "near-miss" method of teaching, so I drew a bunch of parallel lines and then a bunch of "not parallel" lines.

Lesson 18: Beginner's fractions
We draw a bunch of pies with 2, 3, 4, and 5 pieces. We colored in 1 or more pieces of each. We labelled them with words and numbers, e.g.:

  • half  1/2
  • third  1/3
  • two thirds  2/3
Lessons 19, 20, 21: Smart people telling us interesting things
I punted and relied on YouTube one evening:

Lesson 22: Math - Parentheses
Show them that putting parentheses around parts of an expression tell you to calculate the stuff in the parentheses first.

First, I showed that sometimes, the order of evaluation matters.

  • An example where it doesn't matter:
  • 1 + 2 + 3 = ?
  • 1 + 5 = 6
  • (or, 3 + 3 = 6)
  • An example where it does matter:
  • 1 + 2 x 3 = ?
  • If you do "1 + 2" first, you get: 3 x 3 = 6
  • If you do "2 x 3" first, you get: 1 + 6 = 7
Oh my goodness! Luckily, people agree that you should do things in this order: PEMDAS (etc etc).

So you don't need parentheses for: 1 + 2 x 3 if you mean 1 + (2 x 3)
But you do need them if you meant: (1 + 2) x 3

Lesson 23: "Topology"
I recall my father or grandfather teaching me this when I was about 5, sitting on the bed, wondering how on earth "a donut is the same as a coffee cup." I figured it was time to teach Toby.

  • Let's play a game with pretend Silly Putty. You can smoosh the Silly Putty all you want, but there are two rules: you can't make new holes, and you can't seal any holes up.
  • (0 holes) A blob "is" a snake "is" an egg
  • (1 hole) A donut is a coffee cup
  • (2 holes) Um.... I don't know. A pair of eyeglasses is... ummm... we gave up.
Lesson 24: Simple electrical circuit
Show them the schematic symbols for: wire, battery, light, and switch.
Draw the circuit that connects them together. Explain closed and open circuits.
Let them draw it too.
Consider showing them what series and parallel mean.

Lesson 25: Subtracting big numbers (without borrowing)
Y'know, 875 - 321, 9748 - 1211, etc. Then they do a couple.

Lesson 26: Subtracting big numbers (with borrowing)
E.g., 21 - 15, 46 - 37, 52 - 16, 32 - 15.
Some get weird, like 80-79, because they'll want to do 7-7 in the tens column and get 0 but you don't write that down.

Lesson 27: Drawing a cube
Show them how to draw a wireframe cube.
Show them how to draw a solid cube, and put the sun up in the background, and show them how to shade it. Let them try too.

Enjoy!  As always, your feedback is invited.


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