Friday, June 24, 2011

Is 29 Prime?

This came at the end of a long discussion about numbers. First we did some simple multiplication problems for the 4 year old. We had just woken up from naps and were laying on our backs, them using me as a pillow.

"What's 3 x 3?" I ask.

"6!" No look of approval. Older brother is bursting at the seems.

"Count by threes! 3, 6...." He says. His brother doesn't answer. "NINE it's nine! Everybody knows that!"

We played with multiples of other small numbers like 2, 3 and 4 and 6.

We talked about square numbers and identified square numbers up to 36 which took a bit of thinking and work, then for the older boy I asked him factors of numbers.

"What are factors of 12?" I ask. This is a degree of difficulty higher than just multiplication.

"Three 4's." Without hesitation.

What else?

[As I type this I hear from the other room "There's popcorn everywhere!"]


"How many 2's?"

"5...?" Again no look of approval. "No wait..." Begins counting. "6, I meant 6."

Count with your kids. We go on to factor 18, 20, 30 and more. No blocks no symbols, just talking about numbers and counting. Instead of story time, we had number time. Next time we play blocks they will see in the concrete what we were talking about. 29 made them count by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, before they decided it was indeed prime.

I hear "read with your kids" all the time. I never hear "count with your kids."

Count with your kids.

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