Mathematical Conversations

A recent trip to the grocery store was filled with kids….cuteness and curiosity everywhere! I was curious myself and unabashedly eves dropped on the following conversations …

Mom, I want to get some apples!

OK, put some in a bag. These look good. You like these kind, right?

Yes! I love these! What’s this thing? Why is it here?

That’s a scale for seeing how much your fruit weighs. Put the apples in and see how much they weigh. Oh, see how the black arrow is here. That means your apples weigh about 1and ½ pounds. You can get 2 pounds of apples. How many more apples do you think you should put in?

I think 10!

Probably not 10. How about 3 more?

I put in 3 more. I want to put it in there myself. Is it 2 pounds?

Is the black arrow on the 2? Oh, it’s past the 2. I think we should take some out? Maybe take 2 out? Or one out?

I want to take only 1 out. Look! Now the black arrow is on the 2!

The math fairy was really enjoying this conversation because it was such great real life math. I especially liked how this parent didn’t just weigh the apples and move on. They spent just a couple minutes providing a rich and interesting mathematical problem solving experience for their child. Cool! Another conversation I heard went something like this:

Dad, you said that was a foot long… what’s a foot?

A foot is 12 inches. It’s a way to measure things.

But why is it called a foot? All foots are 12 inches? My foot is 12?

No. I’m not exactly sure why it’s called a foot. I think there was a king or something with a foot that was 12 inches long and it’s named after him. Your foot is not 12 inches. My foot is closer to 12 inches. Is yours bigger or smaller than mine?

See… my foot is smaller than yours!

How many of your feet would it take to make one of my feet?

3? Or 4?

Let’s compare our feet again…I think maybe 2 of your feet would make one of my feet…what do you think?

Again, loving how this parent kept the conversation going and asked questions. It’s easy to just give an answer but more interesting and a lot more fun to do some mathematical exploring together. Try it and see!

Have fun with math every day!