Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More on Girls and Math...(a cross blog conversation)

Marya over at the Mom's Talk Network Resource Blog has asked me to chat with her a bit and I happily agreed.

In her post she asked me a few questions.

  1. Did I like math growing up? Ok...this is an easy one. NO! I started my math career in the mid-1970s when "open classrooms" were the fad. I'm not sure who thought of this grand idea, but here's how it played out for me. While sitting in Mr. Fisher's math class enduring lessons on long division, I could hear clear as a bell Mrs. Barnhart reading Rabbit Hill. Let me just say that she was way more fun to listen to than Mr. Fisher and thus began a long struggle for me in the world of math. Although, I will say I had a bright spot in trigonometry in high school. My career officially ended with Calculus. Interestingly, I get it so much more now that I'm older and I'm teaching my own children. It makes so much more sense to me. I guess I'm a late bloomer.
  2. How can we get girls excited about math? Well, I think one way is to make it more relevant. Instead of just learning facts for the sake of problem solving random problems, we can work to apply those skills in real life ways. I've been doing this with my daughter using the book in the post below.
She also really enjoys hands on activities whatever it is. I have her solve problems at the
chalk board and use other manipulatives and games to practice her math. Cooking,
sewing, and other crafts are some of her favorite pastimes and require quite a bit of
practical math. Capitalize on these moments and make them work for your girls!

One other thing to note, is that the gap has been closing between girls and boys in math.
Educators have focused on girls so long, would you believe they are starting to lose the

3. Can I recommend other books and websites? Of course I can!

This is a great book to get kids actively involved in math.

I've just discovered Family Math this year. I-6 is taking a co-op class that uses this book and they travel to different centers. I'm anxious to get a hold of a copy myself. They have a second book plus one specifically for young children and for middle school children.
This book is great! My kids loved pouring through it and figuring out the tricks. It's out of print, but I was able to get a copy through Amazon.
If you follow this link, you'll see bunches of different math activities and resources that I've blogged about. You can also see the math boxes link in my left hand side bar or the math category in the right hand side bar.

Happy Browsing!


Jennifer said...

Heather, thanks for the resouce book idea. I wanted to mention another that I JUST got yesterday from Rainbow Resource. It's called Gobble Up Math. It's geared toward the younger elementary aged kiddos. Looks like it has some fun ideas for using FOOD (always a hit) for some hands on activities with measurement, patterning, symmetry, geometry, etc. I hope to break it out soon and see what ends up in a workbox.

With THREE girls in my house, I like that Girly math book you posted about. I may have to get that one.

Andrea said...

Heather- while I don't have girls at my house- we are having FUN with math this year- I found a really fun "cirriculum" (I say it loosely- basically it's fun games, and great ways to apply math) called Math Their Way- I have a few posts on my blog with some of the fun activities.

School for Us said...

Great post about girls and math. So, what was your math career? I'm fairly new so I've probably just missed it.

I really enjoyed math - especially competing - like MathCounts. I'm currently trying to figure out what competitions homeschoolers can enter and how to get a math competition club started. I'd love to have lots of girls! :-)