We can all use a little help perfecting our math skills on the weekend. Your child works so hard while in school, but what happens on the weekends or when you take a “road trip!” That said, below please find a few creative ways that kids can help prevent weekend math brain drain while having fun at the same time, according to Glen Whitney, founder and executive director of the Museum of Mathematics (www.momath.org), which will open in NYC in 2012 and will boast dynamic exhibits and programs that will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of math. This is the beginning of a series of math tips. (It’s not just for kids!)
ON THE ROAD
Driving trips are another fact of summer and weekend life – here are some fun math activities to do while you’re scanning the scenery out the window.
1) Are we there yet?
Instead of asking whether you’re almost at your destination, ask how many miles you have left until you arrive. Then watch out the window and look for a speed limit sign. If you divide miles remaining by the speed limit, you’ll find out how many hours longer the drive will last if you are able to drive at the speed limit the whole time.
2) License plate tag
One player is “It”. Each of the other players picks a license plate, adds up all of the numbers that appear on it, and calls out the sum. Those are the “target” numbers. The person who is “It” must try to make one of the target numbers by using the numbers from any other license plate (not one chosen by the other players). The person who is “It” must add, subtract, multiply, or divide the numbers on his/her chosen plate in any combination to make a target number. If “It” is successful, then the player who called out that number is “tagged” and becomes “It”. The previous “It” picks another license plate and calls out the sum of the numbers on that plate to create a new target number, and play continues.
3) Highways game
This is a paper-and-pencil game for two players. To set up the game, start with a blank sheet of paper, and have each player draw two dots on it anywhere they like. Each turn of the game for each player consists of two steps. First, the player connects any two cities with a “highway” — a curvy path on the paper that can go anywhere on the page but cannot cross itself or another highway. Note that more than one highway can connect the same two cities, but no city is allowed to have more than three highways connected to it. Second, the player draws a new city anywhere along the highway just drawn, dividing it into two highways both connected to the new city. Players go back and forth, each drawing a highway and adding a city on that highway. Gradually, more and more of the cities either connect to three highways, or are cut off from all other cities by the other highways. The last player who is able to draw a highway wins.
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