## Wednesday, June 27, 2012

### Speed! - Patterns in the Cards - Diagonals Part 1

This is the fifth post in an extension of the Speed! Patterns in the Cards posts. - I created the fun card game Speed! to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. The series of Patterns in the Cards blog posts are meant to show some activities that can aid in number sense development using the Speed! cards.

Cool patterns become visible when two decks of Speed! cards are placed one on top of the other matching numbers. Last week we found that if the top deck was Two Speed and the base deck was an odd number the resulting pattern would look like a checkerboard.

If you tried the additional activities from last week you should have seen more checkerboards.

Base Deck
Seven Speed
Nine Speed

Top Deck = Two Speed

You will also get a checkerboard pattern by placing Four Speed on top of Six Speed and Six Speed on top of Nine Speed.

Diagonals Part 1
Do you think there are any combinations of decks that will result in a diagonal pattern? Actually there are several and there are many different diagonals that can be produced.

In many, but not all instances when Four Speed is the top deck, the resulting pattern is a diagonal to the bottom left. Let's experiment with Five Speed as the bottom deck.

First lay Five Speed, the base deck out like this.

- Now get out Four Speed and find the cards the two decks have in common (20 and 40). If the two decks were extended they would also conatin the common cards 60, 80, 100 and so on.
- Lay the common cards from Four Speed on top of the corresponding Five Speed cards.

The resulting pattern should look like this.

Which other bottom decks do you think will produce a diagonal when Four Speed is the top deck?

Bottom Deck
Two Speed
Three Speed
Five Speed
Six Speed
Seven Speed
Eight Speed
Nine Speed

### Paperback Swap

Paperback Swap is my favorite way to evolve a home library. Since we live in Germany our selection of books in English is somewhat limited. The library on the base tends to have books with recent copyrights, there is a thrift store that has a decent collection, and there is a book store on the base. Of course I also order books through Amazon.

Paperbackswap is for trading books and membership is around \$20 per year. After getting an account members type in the ISBN #'s of the books they are willing to send to someone else. It costs around \$2.50 to mail a book. Each time a book is received, the member who sent the book receives one credit. One book costs one credit.

The key to trading books this way is patience. It can take several months for books to be requested. In addition, popular books that are requested can have long waiting lists. If you are interesting in evolving your at home library this is a great way to do it.

Check out these great blog hops.

## Saturday, June 23, 2012

### Make Your Own Flashing Switch and Lighthouse

I am so impressed with the Discover and Do Science Experiment curriculum. My kids have done another really cool experiment following the video instructions. This week they made a flashing switch and a lighthouse.

First they taped strips of aluminum foil and endcaps with holes to an empty toilet paper roll. Then they folded up cardboard into a box shaped holder.

The pencil was slid through the holes in the holder and the endcaps to the toilet paper roll.

The wires were connected to a light and battery similar to this and then the pencil was turned. As the pencil spun in a circle the wires touched the foil and then the cardboard, causing the circuit to be complete and then incomplete and resulting in the flashing effect of the light.
Then they placed the light on top of an empty paper towel roll decorated to look like a lighthouse and the lighthouse was complete.

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

## Thursday, June 21, 2012

### Music Curriculum

Music is a subject we study several times a week, but I rarely talk about it. Our music curriculum has two parts - listening and learning to play an instrument. At home I originally followed the Ambleside On-line music course of study for the listening portion, but have since modified it a bit for our family. The Amblside music curriculum is comprised of classical music, hymns and folk songs. My father plays the trumpet and loves jazz music, so I wanted to add some jazz. I also wanted to add some German music and German folk songs since we are living in Germany. So, each week we have a different music selection we listen to in the kitchen during meals and in the car. Sometimes I talk about the artist/composer or the piece, but usually the music is just played. This year we listened to;

Mozart selections from Ambleside On-line
Mendelssohn selections from Ambleside On-line
Bela Bartok selections from Ambleside On-line
Hindemith selections from Ambleside On-line

Irish folk music (Barnbrack)
Scottish folk music (Old Blind Dogs)
German folk music (Backe Backe Kuchen album)

Bille Holiday
J.J Johnson
Thelonious Monk
Wynton Marsalis

Halloween Music (kid songs)
Christmas Music

I keep all the music on my computer and on an iPod. I love this method because it has turned out to be very convenient. In the kitchen we have a docking station for the iPod, and it can plug directly into the stereo system in my car. Last year I upgraded my iPod and passed on the old one to the kids which is loaded with music selections such as the ones listed above. Now on the rare occasion I feel like listening to Prince, Janet Janet Jackson or some other form of dance music the kids say "mom, turn this off, it's not real music." Hmmmm.... That's what my dad used to say too.

Four the second portion of our music curriculum the kids are learning to play instruments. The two olders kids began learning to play the piano when they were 6 years old. I told the oldest she could select another instrument to play when she turned 10. Well she chose the harp. I wasn't quite ready for this. They are very expensive! After some negotiation she settled on the violin (which she loves).

## Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I think a bag of beads and embroidery floss or elastic bands is an excellent gift. All three of my kids have really enjoyed creating patterns and making bracelets and necklaces. We have even made head dresses. These are really fun and the girls love them.

## Tuesday, June 19, 2012

### Speed! - Patterns in the Cards - More Checkerboards

This is the fourth post in an extension of the Speed! Patterns in the Cards posts. - I created the fun card game Speed! to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. The series of Patterns in the Cards blog posts are meant to show some activities that can aid in number sense development using the Speed! cards.

Cool patterns become visible when two decks of Speed! cards are placed one on top of the other matching numbers. Last week we found that if the top deck was double the base deck the resulting pattern would look like a checkerboard.

If you tried the additional activities from last week you should have seen more checkerboards.

Base Deck       Top Deck
Four Speed        Eight Speed
Three Speed      Six Speed

Did you find another way to make a checkerboard? A checkerboard pattern is also produced when the top deck is Two Speed and the base deck is an odd number. For example; base deck = Five Speed, top deck = Two Speed.

First lay Five Speed, the base deck out like this.

- Now get out Two Speed and find the cards the two decks have in common (10 and 20). If Two Speed was extended it would also conatin the common cards 30, 40, 50, 60 and so on.
- Lay the common cards from Two Speed on top of the corresponding Five Speed cards.

If Five Speed is extended up to 200 and corresponding Two Speed cards are placed on top, your cards should look like this.

It's another checkerboard pattern!

Now try some more odd decks with Two Speed on top and see what happens.
Base Deck
Seven Speed
Nine Speed

There are still more ways to make a checkerboard pattern. Did you find them?

## Thursday, June 14, 2012

### Roman Mosaics

The Ancient Romans loved to spend time at the baths. Bath houses were a bit similar to modern day swimming pool complexes.
This one in Trier, Germany contained several heated swimming pools, locker rooms and an eating area.

The floors of the baths usually were decorated with mosaic tiles as seen in this bath house in Ephesus, Turkey.

The designs were often complex and very intricate. Mosaics were not only found in bath houses, but in other public buildings and residences of the wealthy as well. These were from Ostica Antica, Italy.

Mosaics are a fun and easy project to do with kids. We used small movable tiles, but small pieces of paper could also be used. In addition, the paper can be glued in place for a more permanent design.

Mosaics build math skills. You can see the symmetry in my son's design. This activity reinforces skills like counting, addition and multiplication. For example, how many yellow tiles were required for the center? 16 - this could be solved in several ways;
1. counting 16 individual tiles
3. multiplying 4x4=16

How many green tiles were used in the top portion of the design? Here are some ways to solve this problem;
1. counting 22 individual tiles
2. adding 4+4+3 = 11, 4+4+3=11 and then 11+11=22
3. multiplying 3x3=9, then 9x2=18, then adding 4 more left over = 22

Simple questions like these can get children to think in complex mathematical ways.

These simple dolls were made by my daughter when she was nine years old. She cut-out the shape of the dolls from fabric, stitched around the perimeter, and stuffed. Then she drew the features, added beads for earrings, and yarn for hair.

This is an excellent beginning sewing project which could easily be completed by a much younger child with a little help from an adult.

## Wednesday, June 13, 2012

### Is Life of Fred enough?

Life of Fred is a new math curriculum quickly gaining popularity. It is not only a great math curriculum, it is a lot of fun to read aloud. The main character has so many adventures that can lead into wonderful family discussions. Since it is so different from a more traditional math curriculum several questions keep popping up on homeschool message boards.

"Is the Life of Fred curriculum enough?"
"Do you suppliment with other math?"
"How fast do you work through the books?"
"Where do you start?"

We have been using this curriculum for two years. I started Life of Fred with my 3rd grader a few months into the school year with Apples, the first book in the series. We began at the beginning because I wanted him to feel confident, like the curriculum, not miss anything, and not be too challenged at the beginning. It worked. He loved it!

The author of Life of Fred suggested that each of the problems in the book were worked with pencil and paper before viewing the answers. I wanted my son to understand this without question, so we started this way right from the beginning. Along with writing out addition problems he could do easily, he wrote the answers to questions which required much more thinking. Questions like "If tomorrow is Saturday, what day was yesterday?", were some of my favorites. Since the book typically asked only one question per concept at the end of each chapter, this task was not repetitive or tedious.

Initially we covered about two chapters per day. Although much of the initial material was review such as addition and subtraction, he was introduced to new concepts such as sets, perpendicular lines, the word dozen, whole numbers, and substituting an x for a number in an equation (x+5=7).

In the Goldfish book he reached a point when he became more challenged. We covered about three chapters per week and began working to memorize addition and multiplication facts.

A weekly math schedule looked like this:

1. Read the books and did the problems, 3 times per week, about 1 chapter per day.

2.
To memorize addition and subtraction facts we played lots of games. I found Black Jack 21 to be one of the best games. My Math Page has additional game and activity ideas.

3. To memorize multiplication facts we played Speed! I actually created this game and it is now available so other families can have fun while learning multiplication.

The game teaches skip counting by the numbers 2-9. Each deck of cards is for a different number. We played with only one deck of cards until he had the numbers memorized and could quickly recall them before moving onto the next deck.

4. Finally, we tried to incorporate or draw attention to real life math that occurred within our daily lives. Cooking, quilting, measuring, laundry (money) and playing with math toys are some examples.

Our second year following Life of Fred was spent in the Fractions book. While I still was overjoyed that this curriculum explained the application of math, I do think some addition practice was necessary. Khan Academy was wonderful for supplemental practice. After taking a pretest, the student was directed to specific lessons. Once five questions were correctly answered in a row, the student moved on. It placed my son right where he needed to be and it's free!

So how is my son doing with this? Well, he took the California Standardized Test for third grade through Seton Testing and scored in the 90% in both math sections. So in my opinion, Life of Fred coupled with math fact memorization and a few real life math activities is enough.

Lastly, I would like to point out that the Life of Fred curriculum works great for my son, but I don't use it with my daughter. Although she loves the books and has read them all she is a different child who learns well with lots of repetition. She is also thriving in math (algebra in the 5th grade). This is the first year she used a math curriculum, as before we did activities, workbooks and concentrated on the math facts using the games mentioned above. For her we choose Math-U-See.

* I did not receive any compensation for the Life of Fred recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** Highhill Educational Supplies is my company and we make the multiplication game Speed! I hope you purchase it and enjoy playing it with your friends and family.

## Tuesday, June 12, 2012

### Speed! - Patterns in the Cards - Doubles

This is the third post in an extension of the Speed! Patterns in the Cards posts. - I created the fun card game Speed! to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. The series of Patterns in the Cards blog posts are meant to show some activities that can aid in number sense development using the Speed! cards.

Cool patterns become visible when two decks of Speed! cards are placed one on top of the other matching numbers. Last week we found that if the base deck was a multiple of the top deck all the cards in the base deck would be covered.

If you tried the additional activities from last week the base deck cards would again be covered.

Base Deck       Top Deck
Eight Speed        Four Speed
Six Speed           Three Speed
Nine Speed         Three Speed

What do you think will happen if the top deck is two times the base deck? For example, if Four Speed is the top deck and Two Speed is the base deck. (Four is 2 times Two).

First lay Two Speed, the base deck out like this.

- Now get out Four Speed and find the cards the two decks have in common (4, 8, 12, 16 and 20). If Two Speed was extended it would also conatin the common cards 24, 28, 32, 36 and 40.
- Lay the common cards from Four Speed on top of the corresponding Two Speed cards.

If Two Speed is extended up to 80 and corresponding Four Speed cards are placed on top, your cards should look like this.
It's a checkerboard pattern!

Now try some more doubles and see what happens.
Base Deck       Top Deck
Four Speed        Eight Speed
Three Speed      Six Speed

There is another way to make a checkerboard pattern. See if you can find it before next week's post.

## Tuesday, June 5, 2012

### Speed! - Patterns in the Cards - Multiples

This is the second post in an extension of the Speed! Patterns in the Cards posts. - I created the fun card game Speed! to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. The series of Patterns in the Cards blog posts are meant to show some activities that can aid in number sense development using the Speed! cards.

Cool patterns become visible when two decks of Speed! cards are placed one on top of the other matching numbers.

Last week we used Two Speed as the base deck of cards and placed corresponding numbers from Five Speed on top. The resulting pattern was a column. If you tried the additional activities of replacing the Two Speed base deck with Three Speed or Six Speed you should have also seen columns.

What do you think will happen if the base deck is a multiple of the top deck? For example, if Four Speed is the Base Deck and Two Speed is the top deck. (Four is a multiple of Two).

First lay Four Speed, the base deck out like this.

- Now get out Two Speed and find the cards the two decks have in common (4, 8, 12, 16 and 20). If Two Speed was extended it would also conatin the common cards 24, 28, 32, 36 and 40.
- Lay the common cards from Two Speed on top of the corresponding Four Speed cards.

All the cards are covered.

If Four Speed is extended up to 160 and corresponding Two Speed cards are placed on top all the cards are covered and your cards should look like the picture above.

Now try other multiples.
Base Deck       Top Deck
Eight Speed        Four Speed
Six Speed           Three Speed
Nine Speed         Three Speed