Friday, September 21, 2018
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Benchmarks. Marker, U.S. National Geodetic Survey marker embedded in a large rock in front of the Noroton Fire Department, Darien (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A benchmark is a small part of a whole used to help estimate the whole or a standard by which other things are judged.  The word is believed to come from using a mark on a bench to estimate the length of things or from the surveyor’s mark, a line used to form a bench-like angle. Materials Pint-sized Ziploc bag Quart-sized Ziploc bag Gallon-sized Ziploc bag Coins (or buttons or sand or water) Paper and pencil Optional: a quart and a gallon... (Read More ...)

Survey. First page of Constitution of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia) This activity is perfect for Thanksgiving, when you are likely to have a lot of people in the house. Materials Pens, pencils or crayons Paper Instructions Think of fun questions you want to ask people, like at a family gathering, over dinner Think of likely answers to those questions. Include one catch-all answer, like None of the Above Decide what group you are going to ask the questions of Write down the question and list the answers below, one answer per line Ask the question of people in the group, write down... (Read More ...)

Shapes. Newspaper vendor, Paddington, London, February 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)   Materials An assortment of containers with various shapes on the bottom, jars and boxes Crayons or markers, pencil or pen Newspaper or brown paper grocery bags, cut open to lie flat Instructions Using the marker or crayon, draw around each of the containers set down on the newspaper or grocery bag Ask your grandchild to match all the containers to the drawings by setting the container inside the lines Optional: You and your grandchild take turns closing your eyes and letting the other draw around containers,... (Read More ...)

Sorting Buttons with just three holes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Materials  100 buttons of various shapes, colors, number of holes, sizes Paper Crayon, pen or marker Instructions  Draw three large circles on the paper Ask your grandchild to look at the buttons and pick out a way to sort them into the three large circles b some way the button could be described Start by suggesting that they sort them by color: light, colored, dark Ask them to think of another way to sort them. Another way might be by size: small, medium and large Another way to sort them might be by shape: round, square, odd... (Read More ...)

Shapes. Converting things you have around the house from three-dimensional objects into two-dimensional flat shapes will surprise your grandchildren with how different things look when they’re flat. Seedling in a toilet paper roll repurposed as a mini planting pot (Photo credit: girlingearstudio) Materials Assemble empty containers of a variety of shapes that can be cut up. You are looking for cylinders, rectangles, cones, spheres and cubes Cardboard cylinders, like toilet paper or paper towel tubes or salt or oatmeal boxes, or labels that wrap around a can. Rectangles, like cereal or shoe boxes... (Read More ...)

Rounding numbers. Vintage sewing buttons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) We use ten as a basis for a lot of math activities. Because we have ten fingers and toes, it is an easy place to start. If we had eleven fingers, our math system would probably be based on eleven. But, what if you don’t need to know the exact number of something, just close? You might want to round to the nearest number that can be divided by ten. Any number that ends with five or more (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) is rounded up to the next number that can be divided by ten. Any number between zero and four (0, 1, 2, 3, 4) is rounded down... (Read More ...)

Skip Counting. When you look all around, you see things in pairs, threes, fives and tens. Five Colored Dice (Photo credit: Wikipedia) This is a perfect opportunity to play with counting by twos, threes, fives and tens, or skipping to numbers that are multiples of two, three, five or ten. Materials The world around you Instructions With your grandchild, identify a number of things that come in regular numbers Everyone in your family has two eyes. Ask your grandchild to count the number of eyes in the family by twos. Mom has two, Dad has two, Grandma has two, Grandpa has two, grandchild has two.... (Read More ...)

Patterns. Clock in Bad Salzdetfurth, Germany, Badenburger Strasse (Photo credit: Wikipedia) One of the common tests for software engineers is to see if they can spot patterns. This is also a fun game to share with grandchildren. Materials Paper Pen or pencil Instructions Talk about the fact that there are lots of sequences that everyone uses Examples: the alphabet (A, B, C, D… a, b, c, d, e….) numbers (1, 2, 3, 4…) Write out a sequence of letters or numbers and ask your grandchild to tell you the next character in the string Examples: Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII,... (Read More ...)

Probability: Dependent Illustration for Monty Hall problem (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When the television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” first started, it was hosted by Monty Hall. It originally aired from December 30, 1963 to December 27, 1968, then in syndication off and on until 1991, with Hall as host. In 2001, Let’s Make a Deal was ranked #18 on TV Guide’s list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time. Though Hall is no longer host, the show still airs today. There are several deals contestants can participate in, leading a winner to the point where they can join the Big Deal. In... (Read More ...)

If you add up all three angles in a triangle, the angles at the tips, you will get 180 degrees. Pizza Slices from Sofia’s (Photo credit: hicharice) Have you ever heard someone say, “You did a complete 180 on that!” They mean that you turned around in the exact opposite direction. Imagine you are standing on a straight line. You turn half-way around to face the opposite dirction. This is 180 degrees. That’s where that expression comes from. How can you show that when you add the three angles of a triangle you have a straight line, which is 180 degrees? Materials Pizza Kitchen scissors,... (Read More ...)