Friday, November 18, 2011

Math Idea for Kinesthetic Learners

Long division has taken over the dining room table, complete with those pesky remainders floating about. Max is very literal when learning math.  He wants to know the steps and that's about it, and he sure gets frustrated when he trips on the steps.

Sitting at the table doing problem after problem is about the worst thing he can imagine for a way to spend time.  Today he suffered through twelve problems and managed to eek them out, but he did tell me a few times that he was confused on what to do next as far as the 'steps'.

An idea!  Which I'll work on over the weekend to put in place on Monday.  "Steps".  Like learning dance steps, right?  Dance division!

It might help him if I set up a large-scale division problem out on the driveway with chalk.  Then we can step through the sequence literally (!) and write as we go.  This could also be done on a couple of big pieces of newsprint on your kitchen floor, too, if it's too cold to go outside when one happens to be tackling long division.  Or, bundle up and go out there anyway!  We are going to dance our way through division.  I'm sure this isn't an original idea in the slightest........but it does sound fun, doesn't it?

We learned a mnemonic that applies to long division, too, which is helping - it goes like this:

Dad says to divide
Mom says to multiply
Sister says to subtract
Brother says to bring it down
Dog says to do it again!

I'm not sure what cat, horse, donkey, hamster and fish are supposed to be doing, but at any rate, Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother and Dog are working - albeit they ARE a bit bossy.

I'm willing to bet that dance division is going to help him 'feel' it and he'll get a good grasp with his body and his brain.  Part of the challenge for me is paying attention to how he takes in information and I'm learning that I can't make many assumptions.  It's the coolest thing, really, because it's making me listen up and slow down. 

Here are some pictures from Monday's Driveway Division extravaganza.......

We 'walked through' each step 

Messing with him - alas, he doesn't love division 

Hey!  This is supposed to be math, not art!

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