Life of Fred Math: Ideas and Activities

life of fred

Math at my house generally brings frustration and agony to my kids and me. I usually avoid any questions on which math curriculum do you use…cause we have used most of them. Especially since each of my kids learn differently. I have to work hard not to grumble about teaching math.

A few months ago I stumbled upon an online discussion of math books and discovered Life of Fred. At my first convention I bought the first three books in the series.

After reading the Life of Fred Apples, I knew I was going to need to incorporate hands-on activities and extra practice with the concepts. [Read more…]

Place Value Cups, 8 Ideas on How to Use Them

Teaching Place Value with cups

Have you ever found a great DIY project and then wonder what to do with it? Or a great homeschool idea that looks great on Pinterest but leaves you thinking long and hard on how to teach it.

In my quest to teach place value to my youngest son, I found directions on how to construct place value cups. The basic idea for place value cups is to use Styrofoam cups and labels them with numbers. I loved the visual and hands-on aspect of this, although I did tweak it. I used a cup for each comma that was needed. Since I have been correcting 12,39 or 4567,98 recently, I wanted a clear visual on 3 numbers grouped together then the comma. [Read more…]

Math Formulas in Color

Math Formulas

When my son started adding instead of multiplying when doing area, and couldn’t remember to take ½ of the number when doing triangles; I knew we needed to stop and help his mind sort out the information rolling around in there.

First thing I did to help him is color code the math formulas, this really helps form a picture in his mind.

Since he was counting numbers into the trillions I wanted to review place value. It is a great math concept to color code. Place value cups can be a hands on way to learning place value.

Then we discussed what items in life that he could picture in his mind that had perpendicular and parallel lines.  We added the compass rose to help with perpendicular and railroad tracks to help with parallel.

To remember that perimeter is adding the numbers I used addition signs in the corners.

Then when we moved into area problems I shaded the problems to help him remember that area is the inside of the shape.

We did make the h in the triangle formula a little different, but in his mind angling the H and putting the right angle line on it helps him remember.

Now we have reference sheets for when we are teaching the lesson for the 20th time and it all “seems new” to us.

Take a risk and try adding color to math formulas and extra pictures to help remember how things are supposed to work.

Math Formulas2