July 9, 2010

Big Number Mania!

Miss Hannah Jane has an obsession with really big numbers and a new school goal.  When she wants to say that there is a lot of something, the never just says there were a lot.  She says, "Dad, you wouldn't believe it!  There were like forty-two thousand, five hundred of them!  It was crazy!"  So I asked if she wanted to learn how to  actually read big numbers and her little eyes lit up!

"But before we do, I need to talk to you about something.  I heard you say that the outline for third grade math looked just like the one for second grade.  And I'm doing second grade now so, if I work really hard and learn decimals on the side, could I just skip 3rd grade math and try 4th?"

Well, that's all a fair assessment of my opinion about 3rd grade curricula for math.  So I struck a deal with her.  I'd order her a series on decimals and complex fractions and if she seemed like she had a grasp of them before curriculum ordering time rolled around, we'd order 4th and see how it felt.  I mean, we're going to buy 4th someday anyway, so why not let her try.  Right?

Now that it was settled, we could move on to really big numbers!  Oh, the joy!  I started by making her a simple worksheet.  I thought I could slip in a little number logic underlying the concept of what we called borrowing and carrying when I was a kid, but is now called re-grouping.  Haha!  Covert teaching!  My fave!

 I gave her a tiny box of buttons and a number like forty-two.  We made 4 groups of ten over the tens place and two lone buttons over the ones.  Then I asked her to add 9 buttons to the one's group.  "DO we have enough to move a group over to the tens?"  Yipee! She got the idea!  But then she asked how to get enough to put something in the hundreds column.  I didn't think we had enough buttons, but she just had to see.  

 She got to work making groups of 10.  I took a shower and came back.

See that face?  That's the, See, Mom?  I told ya we had enough! face.  
So how many buttons did we have?

One hundred and twenty five!  She loves proving me wrong!  I kind of love it too.  Next I showed her how adding huge numbers is the same as adding 2 digit numbers.  That kind of blew her mind.  Haha!  Then, as she read the problem, she started of hesitant, worried she'd make a mistake and then crazy excited that she got it!  Yeah, that's an impending hug there at the end.  There was hugging and jumping for a solid minute after we stopped taping!  Love that kid!  A lover of words and numbers like her momma!

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