BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THERE IS ACTUALLY A PERK TO BUYING YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE LATE: ALL TREES UNDER 6 FEET WERE ONLY $5 EACH!
As my husband and I debated the decision of getting a smaller, considerably more affordable tree, or buying the larger tree, like we had planned, I sought relief in realizing this would be a perfect #MathMoment!
Rayni had been keeping herself entertained by making bracelets and belts out of the twine she found lying on the floor. I knew she could skip count by 5s, but I wondered just how well she could apply the concept of skip counting. “Can you believe these trees are only $5?” I asked her. “I wonder how much money it would take to just buy them all!”
She immediately accepted the challenge.
The first bin had four trees, and she quickly came to the conclusion that that would cost us $20. The next bin had the same amount of trees, bringing her total up to $40. Two bins in, and I suspected she was nearing the limit of her skip-counting ability. We continued through the tent and when we hit 100, she looked at me and said, “Oh, this is going to be tough! I’m already at 100!”
TAKE IT EVEN FURTHER
Instead of ending our “game” here, I employed another strategy. I started by saying, “It seems like each bin has about the same amount of trees in it. What if we assumed each bin has four trees. How much would each bin cost?” After a quick count on her fingers, Rayni determined that each bin would cost $20.
“What if we counted by 20s instead of 5s? I wonder how many of these bins would cost $100,” I continued.
Rayni was quick to tell me that she has not yet learned how to count by 20s, which reminded me of why I love math – just because you haven’t learned a specific skill yet doesn’t mean you can’t solve the problem placed before you.
AS TEACHERS AND PARENTS, I BELIEVE IT IS OUR JOB TO HELP OUR CHILDREN CONNECT THE DOTS SO THEY CAN SEE THE LARGER PICTURE AND UNDERSTAND HOW INTRICATELY MATH CONCEPTS WORK TOGETHER.
To keep the lesson going, I said, “2 and 20 seem like they may have some things in common. I wonder if knowing how to count by 2s can help us count by 20s.”
We discussed how many tens and ones were in 20: 2 tens and 0 ones. Since there were not any ones, this would mean we could just skip count by 2 tens. We connected the pattern between counting by 2 ones and counting by 2 tens, and we were quickly on our way to finding how many bins would cost $100.
WORTH THE WORK
Rayni exclaimed, “Five!” and I found myself beaming with pride. Working through this thought process enabled Rayni to use her existing math skills in a new – and fun! – way. By figuring out how many more groups of five bins were in the Christmas tree tent and knowing that each group of 5 would cost $100, she concluded that it would cost us $340 to buy the entire lot of trees under 6 feet!
Once we finished our impromptu math challenge, we agreed that this year, we would pass up the steal of a deal and splurge on the larger 7-foot tree!
MORE #MATHMOMENT IDEAS
THERE ARE SO MANY WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES TO TURN DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES INTO LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A TEACHING DEGREE TO DO IT – I PROMISE! TO HELP YOU ENGAGE YOUR CHILD’S MATH MIND ON YOUR NEXT SHOPPING TRIP, I HAVE INCLUDED MORE #MATHMOMENT IDEAS BELOW:
* How many trees are in the tree lot? Find different ways to count the trees such as skip counting, multiplication, creating multi-step equations.
* How many trees have been sold so far? See if your child can figure out what information is needed to solve this problem. Perhaps, you will need to ask the attendant how many trees were shipped in and compare that number the answer you came up with for the first question.
* Which is the better deal, as far as price per feet? Put your child’s division skills to the test by having him/her divide the cost of the tree with the number of feet. Using this logic, how much would a 20-foot tree cost?