Since sharing my ideas for creating Strength Based Learning for our children, I have received one question over and over again.
How does this work if my child has absolutely NO interest in math?
I totally, 100% get it.
My oldest avoids math, like whoa.
My youngest actually has some skill and strength in math, but quickly tires of the usual math drills and worksheets.
Teaching math, while keeping their strengths in mind, has been one of the most challenging parts of our homeschool. If I am honest, it is also the least fun – for all of us.
The only way that math works around here is with an interest-led approach.
For example, when my oldest was super into fish tanks, we learned all about volume and water measurements.
When my youngest was learning all about the Amazon basin, every single word problem was about dart frogs in the rain forest.
You get the idea.
It sounds easy, but the truth is, finding ways to incorporate these interests into a standard math activity takes time and energy that I sometimes just don’t have.
Friday Fun-days: 52 weeks of Easy For Mom Activities
With this in mind, I thought it only fair that this week’s Friday Fun-Day activity do some of the work for you! This activity also shows how I take a math lesson and make small changes to incorporate interests and strengths, without sacrificing the learning objective.
An Easy Way To Make Math More Fun
When the metric system unit came up in my son’s math lesson plan, it was a very dry approach. (Think black and white rulers on the page with various clip art paper clips and pencils to measure.)
I knew that simply asking him to complete this activity would not be enough to cement the learning, nor did I think he would be super enthused about it.
With that in mind, I decided to have him use things he is already super excited about measuring, and convert those into metric units of measurement.
Hands-On Metric System Activity
What You’ll Need For This Activity:
A Tape Measure
A Very Long Piece of Craft Paper
We started off by choosing three things that he already knew the standard measures for:
Harry Potter’s Wand
The Longest Snake Ever Recorded
His Own Height
After double checking his knowledge of these measurements (he was right) we recorded them on a piece of paper and headed outside.
We rolled out the long piece of craft paper as far as it could go. Then, we grabbed the tape measure and marked the measurements of each of the three items on his list.
Harry Potter’s Wand – 11 inches
The Longest Snake Ever Recorded – 25 feet, 2 inches
His Own Height – 5 feet, 7 inches
We then took the duck tape and used it to visually show the various measurements on the paper.
After congratulating ourselves on being able to put the tape down even with the wind blowing it all over the place, we did the math conversions to the metric system.
This activity was simple. It was fun. It allowed my son to move and experience the learning in a more hands-on manner.
Most importantly, it clearly demonstrated the learning objective.
Wishing you a very Happy Friday!
More Hands-On Math Ideas
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.