I registered my oldest child for kindergarten recently. The process brought up all kinds of questions, like “How is she growing up so fast?” and “What are we having for breakfast?” Despite an accounting degree and years of related experience, the scariest question I had was “What if I have to help with her math homework?”
Quiz shows like “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” remind us that we’ve forgotten much of what we learned in school. With a desire to show my daughter that Mommy Knows Best, I’ve come up with five real-life examples below that help illustrate some textbook math definitions. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you about any trains speeding towards each other.
1. Repeating Decimals
Definition: a decimal representation of a number whose digits repeat their values at regular intervals and the repeated portion is not zero.
Example: “Brush your teeth. Put on your shoes. Brush your teeth. Put on your shoes.” Shouldn’t this come with a recording device?
2. Isosceles Triangle
Definition: A triangle in which two equal sides are joined by an odd side.
Example: When I have to convince my children they have the exact same number of intricately cut vegetable shapes while eating the leftover scraps myself.
3. Inverse Proportions
Definition: When one value decreases at the same rate that the other increases.
Example: The more effort I put into making a meal or planning an outing, the less my children will enjoy it. The reverse is also true. Pasta with cheese for dinner, anyone?
Definition: The number which appears most often in a data set.
Example: 5. This is the number of minutes my daughter needs before she can finish her block tower, put away playdough or put on her shoes.
Definition: A number whose value is fixed by an unambiguous definition.
Example: The amount of love I have for my children, no matter how much they hate the boeuf bourguignon with extra mushrooms I made for dinner.
So you see, despite new methods of teaching, we parents already have tricks up our sleeves to help our kids learn about math. If you need a bonus suggestion, remember that pi is also a mathematical constant. Would you prefer apple or cherry?