puzzling puzzles

Mac likes maths.  He really likes it when we give him ‘super duper hard maths’ questions (if we call them that they sound exciting) and so each afternoon for the trip home from school I give him a maths puzzle to ponder.

He answers it when we get home.

I am still trying to work out just what he does and doesn’t know in his maths concepts so we jump all over the place.  I also try to bombard him with lots of extra information to see if he is able to extract just what is important considering he needs to do all these in an auditory fashion.

Some of the recent puzzles have been.

  • When I was walking down the steps today there were three lizards.  A big one, a little one and a middle sized one.  Lizards have four legs, how many lizard legs did I see?

MAC’S ANSWER:  12
METHOD:  Yes/No switches with possible answers starting at zero and going up by one.

  • Today, when I was coming to collect you I saw four tractors.  A red one, a blue one, a green one and an orange one.  Tractors have four wheels each…  How many tractor wheels did I see?

MAC’S ANSWER:  16
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-14 then chose the “I need more numbers option” chose 16 from the Macaw numbers 15-30

  • When I went to the shop I saw Natalie, Gabby, Sally and Will.  Natalie, Gabby and Sally are girls and Will is a boy.
    What fraction of the group were boys?
    a) half
    b) one quarter
    c) three quarters

MAC’S ANSWER:  1/4
METHOD:  Yes/No multiple choice options

  • What fraction of the group are girls?
    a) half
    b) one quarter
    c) three quarters

MAC’S ANSWER:  3/4
METHOD:  Yes/No multiple choice options

  • On my way to school today I passed the bike shop.  There was a trike and two bikes out the front.  A trike has three wheels, and bikes have two wheels each.  How many wheels did I see all together.

MAC’S ANSWER:  7
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-14

  • If you were to add together the ages of your cousin Alex, your cousin Lucy and you what would the total be.  Alex is 13, Lucy is 10 and you are 6.
    We have just started getting Mac to tell us the digits to write the number ie “What is the ‘tens unit’ and what is the ‘ones unit’ ie positional notation for numbers to see if that is easier for him”.

MAC’S ANSWER:  29
tens unit = 2  ones unit = 9
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-9 using the positional notation of numbers

  • On my way to collect you I saw three people picking apples.  I asked them ‘how many apples have you picked?’  They said “15 and we are going to share them equally”.
    How many will they each get?

MAC’S ANSWER:  5
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-9

  • What if they picked 18 apples?

MAC’S ANSWER:  6
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-9

  • What if they picked 30 apples?

MAC’S ANSWER:  Is it greater than nine? YES
tens unit = 1, ones unit = 0
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-9 using the positional notation of numbers

Out of interest I then asked him what 3 x 6 = and he answered 19. 
Phew, finally he showed some fallibility with his maths
.

  • I was talking to a farmer today.  He had 56 sheep but sold six of them at the market.  Then he had 10 new baby lambs born.  So he had 56, sold six and ten more were born.  How many does he have all together.

This one took a while for Mac to decide to answer – when I suggested he didn’t know the answer which was OK, considering he is only in first class, he quickly told me what it was.

MAC’S ANSWER:  Is it greater than nine? YES
tens unit = 6, ones unit = 0   60
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-9 using the positional notation of numbers

  • Tonight we are having ‘chicken’ for dinner.  How many letters in the word chicken?

MAC’S ANSWER:  7
(although he went through his numbers twice hovering on 8 the first time)
METHOD:  Auditory Scanning on the Macaw numbers 0-9

The good thing is that we can relax a little knowing Mac is currently having a reasonably easy time of understanding basic maths concepts.  He is well and truly coping with the Year One concepts and having a wonderful time being challenged with ‘tricky maths’.  It is nice for him to ‘catch a break’ so he doesn’t have to work quite as hard in every aspect of school.

I have tried to find out how he knows all this stuff, he claims he ‘just knows it’.  I assume there is a strategy there somewhere, but hey, if it works for now, I won’t interfere.

I remember how much I loved doing maths in primary school so I can understand where he is coming from.

8 Comments

Filed under first grade here I come

8 responses to “puzzling puzzles

  1. jenny

    OMg that is fantastic.
    maybe Missy should hang out with Mac more often and it will rub off on her.

  2. Chris

    Holy Belugas!! Amazing! Love how you’ve set this up for him, can you write a book Gina?!!

  3. Glad you loved maths, Gina.

    I think the Grade 1 figures are about a 100, or perhaps that is in Kindergarten.

    Do you think it will be harder or easier with a National Curriculum, so that you can challenge Mac?

    Mathematics National Curriculum

  4. WOw Mac!!!! that is so awesome!
    I am continually baffled at how these concepts are learnt and even more so shown to us as parents!
    Of course he just knows it! lol what a typical kid thing to say!
    Cooper is telling me everyday how he knows everything and I know nothing- delightful really.
    Bron

  5. Adelaide. The benefit I can see with a national curriculum is the chance for us to campaign for universal design in learning right from the start. Mac is in a fortunate place at the moment where he isn’t completely bound by the constraints of the current curriculum but having just attended his IEP (indiv.Education Plan) with his teacher we have identified he should, with correct use of technology, be able to meet much the same learning as his peers and achieve similar targeted outcomes… so we are getting there.

  6. This is so cool! Go Mac!

    We’ll be calling him Mac the Knife soon, with a mind that sharp 🙂

    r

  7. Appreciated the answer, Gina

    Sometimes the technology can be as simple as pipecleaners to show a triangle or a circle.

    (Tactile shapes, more generally).

    Noticed that the questions you were asking him were based on numbers and algebra. (or algebraic formations).

    What about things like time, money, length and capacity? And chance and data?

  8. Liz (Princess' mum)

    Wow! Mac is a maths prodigy! That is seriously impressive stuff. Fantastic too that he has the options you have offered him for communicating his answers. You guys really are inspiring (and I’m not just saying that cos it’s late and I’m tearing up!).
    : )

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