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Apple Math

2011 October 4
by Pamela

Alternate title:  How Mom Finally Wisened Up

A few weeks ago Mary Claire and I did her math lesson which consisted of sorting objects in various ways (by shape, color, size, etc).  When we finished school I pulled out her winter clothes and realized she had more than she needed.  We decided to sort the extra items into bags that would go to two of her friends.  In an effort to be fair, she first sorted the clothes into tops, sweaters, skirts, jeans, and pants, then divided them by bag so each friend would get the same amount.

The girl is going to be a judge someday.

I sat on the couch watching her and thinking several things:  one, why does everything this child works on have to take up so much time and space? and wait, didn’t we just spend 40 minutes sorting pattern blocks for math when she could have been doing this “real life” math lesson of sorting clothes all along and get the same concept?

Just a few days later Saxon Math had a week-long lesson using apples as manipulatives.  I love Saxon normally because their lessons are practical and easy to prepare, but these lessons called for us to eat two apples everyday for a week, saving the seeds in small containers and then doing the main math class at the end of the week.  I was groveling to myself about how my math book shouldn’t be dictating my grocery shopping list or diet (if they had called for cupcakes I wouldn’t have been murmuring) when suddenly

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  My brain realized this was one of those “real life learning” or “applied” learning moments that we are all working to create as homeschool parents.

Lydia just started eating solids.  She likes applesauce.  Michele went to the fruit market and bought me 20 apples.  We could make applesauce!!!  With the apples!!!  And do MATH AT THE SAME TIME!!!!  Holy cow, a flash of brilliance.  All these years of sleep deprivation have taken their toll, but there is still a brain in here somewhere.

We played a game called “How many seeds are in my apple?”  first.  My mom helped peel a million apples while I cut them in half.



Once they were cut,  I gave one half to Mary Claire and I kept the other.  We would then dig out the seeds (hand-eye coordination) and see who had the most seeds in their half, which ended up being a really fun game to her.  After we got our seeds our we would put them on the big apple sheet above (first photo).  She then counted the seeds to find the total (addition) and drew a small picture on an index card (art) to replicate that particular apple:

So in this picture above she had to use her memory to record how many seeds both she and I had, then add them together and write the total (handwriting practice).  After all the apples and their seeds were recorded, we then made a graph:

We did all the normal question and answers that go with graphing:  how many apples had three seeds?  what apples had the most seeds?  the fewest?

Then we chopped up the apples, set them on low in the crockpot and look, Lydia had breakfast for the next week (teaches cooking, helping others).

This “real life math” day also turned out to be a fun day of sharing and learning between all of us.

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