Our math play last week was focusing around money. As you can see, we really need to get to a Coinstar one of these days. I dumped it on the floor with my own objective to find out how many state quarters we have (I am hoping to use them for geography). Smarty was delighted just to sort and name the coins. She planned to count them first, but clearly the amount of coins was somewhat overwhelming. But here is what we did:
- Sorted out non-American coins that ended up in the change pile after my business trips and talked about the countries they came from (Israel, UK, Canada and a Euro Zone). It was a good “visual discrimination” exercise, and Smarty was quicker than me in finding them.
- Found state quarters – again, Smarty was helping me to find “special quarters”.
- Found some other “unusual” coins – a 50 cent coin and a dollar coin.
- Piled up remaining quarters in groups of 4. Smarty was really struggling to understand why we use groups of 4 and not groups of 5 as we usually do. She still doesn’t quite grasp that 4 quarters make a dollar. Then we counted how many dollars we have.
- Talked about the value of American coins. It’s interesting that Smarty understands (or, rather, remembers) the numbers, but stumbles on the fact that she can make up, say, 8 cents, by using 3 cents and a nickel. I am already planning some shopping games to practice combining coins together (under 10 cents for now).
- My friend has reviewed an interesting iApp for kids – Jungle Coins. I deemed it to expensive and complex and got Coin Math app for my iPod. It is… OK. It does contain interesting trivia facts on coins and describes every state quarter, but matching the coins is kind of boring after the first couple of tries, and counting coins requires more math than my daughter currently possesses. Also – for whatever reason shopping doesn’t use coin combining in simpler problems – just a bunch of cents that need to be put on the counter. Then it directly jumps to using nickels and dimes and counting by 5 and 10. I do think that we will get some use out of it, but not for another year or so, I think it’s geared towards 6-8 age range.