Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last summer, my grandson took some of the money he’d earned from cleaning off shelves for me and we went to the bookstore so he could buy a book of his own.

He looked through biographies and fiction, then picked a Math workbook.

This shocked the bookstore clerk, who could barely contain her delight when he put the book up on the counter and brought out his own money.

He asked his grandfather to read the exercises to him while they did the math problems together.

His mother, of course, an accountant, approved when she heard the story.

My granddaughter, similarly, loves math and is good at it. Her parents have taught her to recite the numbers of pi when she has trouble drifting off to sleep.

It is with this backdrop that I ran across a site a few months ago called Bedtime Math.

It seems that Laura Overdeck, an astrophysicist, has been putting her children to bed with math problems, or rather stories with math questions, since they were two.

When I told my son’s family about this book, my daughter-in-law said that her mother, too, had put her to bed with math stories.

Eventually, other parents began asking Overdeck for her problems. She put together an email and sent it to 10 parents.

Her email list doubled practically overnight and continued to double quickly.

She began to realize she wasn’t the only parent interested in “mathing” her children to sleep as often as reading them to sleep.

Her book, Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late, illustrated by Jim Paillot, was released in 2013.

It is now accompanied by a web site where, not only can you get more math stories and activities, but you can sign up for a daily activity to be sent to you.

Her format is approachable, slipping math in quietly after explaining something in the real world.

And, by giving three levels of difficulty of the activities, it allows children to find their own level.

Here’s an excerpt of one:

“Totally Squashed”

“A large cucumber or a bag of potatoes can get really heavy.”

“That’s because veggies are made mostly of water, and water itself is pretty heavy.”

“Wee ones: if you have 4 giant squash and 5 giant pumpkins, how many enormous vegetables do you have?”

“Little kids: If each giant pumpkin weighs 1,000 pounds and your car weighs 4,500 pounds, how many whole pumpkins do you need to outweigh your car?”

“Big kids: What weighs more, 4 of your 900-pound pumpkins or 5 of your 700-pound zucchinis?”

Overdeck hides the answers on each page and lays out the math equation it takes to solve the problem in an answer sheet at the end of the book.

Listen to an interview with Overdeck by clicking below.

 

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If your grandchildren are like Overdeck’s children, they’ll be asking for their bedtime math every night along with their bedtime stories.

You can start off with the book from amazon, by clicking on the title, Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late.

Or, sign up for Overdeck’s daily math post at http://bedtimemath.org to get started today.

This post was first published on Krista Low’s blog ahandfulofeverything.blogspot.com

 

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

http://newgrandmas.com

 

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