Friday, October 26, 2012

M & M Math

I bribe my kids. Just to get that out in the open. I want them to love math in spite of the fact I'm rather math phobic. In homeschooling them I've come to realize I'm not inherently bad at math, I just got a very poor math education. So I keep my feelings under wraps and I compensate with chocolate.

Younger Toad asks to do math every day. He knows math comes with M& M's or mini marshmallows (which are his absolute favorite thing) so for him it's super great fun.

He's only 3, so it's really all about counting. I use a free math printable from Montessori Printshop (01-10 quantity, symbol and written word cards). I printed out two.  One is whole, and one I cut up for matching. He counts the red dots, puts a treat on the dots, counts the treats and then he gets to match the numbers and words (from the sheet that was cut). Some days we'll do a little addition and subtraction too before they get eaten. “If you have one marshmallow here, and you add these two marshmallows, how many marshmallows do you get to eat?” We've been doing that for awhile and he loves it. 



This week I wanted to try something a little different so I got out a ruler and taped the ends to the table (so it didn't slide around and destroy our piles). Then we counted the numbers on the ruler and placed the correct number of M&M's above the number. By building the M&M towers, it really reinforces each number is one bigger than the last. The Montessori sheets were becoming a little rote and he really had to focus on this activity so we will continue to do it for awhile.



Older Toad gets M&M's too. He gets one M&M for every math problem he gets right but I take 3 away for every one he gets wrong. This was in response to how he was handling his math. He was not checking his work.   If he didn't know an answer, he'd guess and wait for you to correct him. I'm trying to enforce him checking his own work. We're focusing on subtraction right now.  By encouraging him to check his own work we're drilling the inverse operation at the same time, but not requiring twice the work. It has slowed him down a bit and encouraged him to focus. One day he got no M&M's and that made quite an impression. After starting this, he still makes mistakes of course, but he feels the system is fair since he's getting more candy than he did before we started.

9 comments:

angelicscalliwags said...

Any kind of edible schooling is a hit in our homeschool! Some may call it a bribe, I call it wisdom (okay, maybe stretching it a bit here!!)

toady mama said...

At least cunning right?

Savannah @ HammockTracks said...

I love knowing that I am not the only one bribing! I hope you'll consider adding this on the "Look! What We Did!" website.

the Monko said...

I'm going to try this with my three year old, but i suspect he may lose track of the numbers after he consumes too many of the counters!

liveotherwise said...

Hm. Have never tried this level of bribery . Perhaps I should.

toady mama said...

Whatever works, Right!

Montessori Print Shop said...

If M&M's or mini marshmallows are your child's "currency" then go for it! I'm sure others might also have success with a variety of other foods: raisins, nuts, fish crackers, etc. Personally, chocolate works for me. lol

Thank you for the link up!

Deb Chitwood said...

What a fun idea for using that printable! The ruler idea is great, too! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

toady mama said...

Thanks Deb for spreading that around!

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