K – 1 Family Math night

In the fall I signed up to help with Family Night at my younger son’s school. As last night I’m coordinating it – ha! I’m excited.

Tonight I was brainstorming about the activities I’d like to try for the two K-1 nights. There are also two nights for grades 2 and 3 and then one combined night for grades 4 and 5. I’ll write about my ideas for those nights later.

For K-1 I’ve got about an hour to do 2 or 3 activities. I’m going to plan for 3, but hope to do two and keep the 3rd one in my back pocket in case one of the activities goes too fast or flops or something.

Here’s what I’m thinking . . . .

Part of the inspiration comes from Lior Pachter’s amazing post about using unsolved math problems with kids: Unsolved Problems with the Common Cor.

I want to use his idea about the 4-color theorem to introduce a coloring activity. We’ve done two fun ones previously:

Coloring sheets from Math Munch

Using a Richard Green post to talk geometry with my son

This activity should be a great way to get kids talking about symmetry and will also let me put in a plug for Math Munch, and I’m really interested to see how young kids will color (and talk about) some of the octagon tilings in Green’s post.

For the second project I think I’d like to try out the simplified version of the game of Nim that Tracy Johnston Zager and I talked about earlier this week:

A question from Tracy Johnston Zager that caught my eye

I wouldn’t normally think of an activity like this for K-1 kids, but they will be there with an adult and I think this will be a good activity for the kid / adult pair. The purpose will be to get the kids talking about strategy and hopefully inventing variations of the game. It might also be fun to get a list of questions together like Tracy did here:

The idea I’m thinking of keeping in my back pocket for now is the paper folding activity that we used for our first Family Math project:

This is a great math activity for a bunch of different reasons, and also a really fun one for adults and kids to do together. YEEE HAW!!