Friday, December 2, 2011

Gummy Bear Math

"Write what you think when I say we're going to be doing math all morning," the guest teacher, a mathematician, instructed the group of parents of two-year olds.

As long as we're doing preschool math, I'm okay with it.  Counting, sorting... I wrote on my notecard.  A guest teacher talking to us about math with our two year olds, I thought.  At least mine can count to ten.  That's pretty good for two and half, right?

We brainstormed together what "math" means when it comes to our kids, to learn her definition of math is very broad.  B-I-N-G-O is math?  Sure, it's a pattern of subtraction, she tell us.  Okay....

Then we are instructed to arranged gummy bears any way we wanted on our paper plates.  Well, it beats our previous weeks' discussions, I thought, and arranged my dozens of gummy bears into a rainbow on my plate.  Our guest teacher then taught us that however each of us arranged the candies, it was math.  Grouping, patterns (which is where my rainbow - the only rainbow, I might add - was classified), order, etc. were all considered math.  Okay, we're getting the point.  EVERYTHING is math.  We all use math EVERY DAY. 

Of course, we were encouraged to go home and do this activity with our kids.  She was kind enough to give me and the other twin mom yet another bag of gummy bears.  Thanks.  I had absolutely no intention of doing this activity because I knew exactly what would happen, but M saw me stuff the candy into the backpack (thanks for reminding me to take it home when I was going to conveniently "forget" them on the shelf!). 

He nagged me all morning to play the "game" I told him it was.  He's no dummy.  He knows what candy looks like, especially 2 big quart sized ziplocs full of gummy bears.  I promised him after nap, and wouldn't you know, he remembered?  (Speaking of memory, when I asked N what we were going to do yesterday morning, he suggested the fair!  That was 3 months ago!) 

Fast forward to this morning, 4 days later.  We haven't touched the game since Monday afternoon, the kids haven't seen Hubs since Monday at breakfast.  The first thing M wants to do?  Play the game!  Play the game!  Play the game!  He's nagging my husband all morning, and the poor guy doesn't have a clue what that means because I haven't had the chance to share this nugget (he came home at midnight).  So I tell him the game is in the cupboard and hand him two cutting boards.  It's a math game we got at school on Monday, I say. 

"Oh." He says when he sees the bears.  "You're supposed to count and sort them but all they do is eat them." Handsome AND smart!  I picked a winner. 

"Have fun!" I say, because now the munchkins are dancing and jumping around his knees at the sight of the gummy bears, screeching in delight at 9:30 in the morning, at the thought of inhaling dozens of gummies.

"Ugh!  These are as hard as a rock!" he cried.  They were on Monday, too, I said.  

Let me tell you, I've never enjoyed washing the breakfast dishes and cleaning the kitchen as much as I did this morning, listening to my husband try to teach the kids how to count and sort gummy bears, how to create a pattern, then eventually, subtraction.

I love math!

Daddy, this morning's math teacher

Look, N actually paid attention for a minute!  He made a row of yellow bears!

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