MATH GAMES FOR ADULT AND CHILD
HOW MUCH IS ...?
TOPIC and LEVEL: Addition/Subtraction: Intermediate, Advanced
PLAY AFTER: HOW MANY WOULD YOU LIKE?, SHOW ME, STONES ON MY LEGS
PLAY WITH: STONES ON MY LEGS
The types of questions asked in HOW MUCH IS ...? include:
1. How many are ...
2. How much is 2 plus 3? How much is 7 minus 1?
3. How much is 4 plus 8 plus 1?
4. How much is 5 million plus 2 million?
Types 1 and 2 need no explanation.
Types 3 and 4, I recommend highly and prefer this type of question even for older children because mental computation of this sort is so important.
Type 3 includes questions involving more than two numbers. Questions range from "how much is two plus one plus one more," (which is a difficult question in itself), to "how much is one plus one plus one" to "how much is five plus four, then, take one away from this?"
If a child says he or she doesn't know the answer, try STONES ON MY LEGS and slowing down the speed with which the question is posed before you try doing any sort of explanation or forgetting about that kind of question.
"How much is five million plus two million?" is typical of a lovely group of questions. Listen.
The Adult: "How much is five plus three?"
The Child: "Eight."
The Adult: "How much is ten minus one?"
The Child: "Nine."
The Adult: "How much is two hundred plus three hundred?"
The Child: "Five hundred, maybe."
The Adult: "That's right. How much is four hundred plus three hundred?"
The Child: "Seven hundred."
The Adult: "Good. How much is five million plus three million?"
The Child: "Eight million?"
The Adult: "That's right."
The Child is quite pleased with herself.
The Adult: "How much is nine million plus two million?"
The Child: "Eleven million." ...
Then or perhaps,
The Adult: "How much is four dollars plus two dollars?"
The Child: "Six dollars."
The Adult: "How much is nine dollars minus three dollars?"
The Child: "Six dollars." ...
The Child: "How much is three dollars plus two dollars plus three dollars?"
The Adult: "Eight dollars."
The Child: "How much is ten cents plus two cents plus five cents?"
The Adult: "Seventeen cents."
If a child asks a question he or she can't answer, don't be surprised. One might explain the problem through rearranging the addends or the use of concrete objects or mental images, such as stones, or one might offer the child a calculator. Either is desirable.
Other questions, as identified by type 5, take two separate forms: "How much is one half plus one half?" and "How much is three more than two?" THESE ARE NOT REALLY QUESTIONS FOR THE YOUNG CHILD, but rather for a child who has experience with BATHTUB ACTIVITIES or discussing FILL IT vocabulary. "How much is one-half plus one-half?" or "how much is one-fourth plus one-fourth?" are really hard questions for a young child. Don't try them as part of a mental arithmetic game unless a concrete experience foundation has proceeded it and has been successful.
Children may gain a familiarity with fractions through measurements of time: two Mr. Rogers (half-hour shows) are as long a one Knight Rider (an hour-long show); measurements of money: two half-dollars have the same value as one dollar; or, more likely, four quarters have the same value as one dollar; or measurements of amount: a pile of four things has only half as many things as a pile of eight things. A child's age is very important to him or her. Try using terms like five and one-half, five and one-quarter, five and three-quarters, or even five and one-twelfth or five and seven-twelfths when teaching or discussing a child's age.
Of course, encounters with the use of fractions will only become valuable examples if, as they occur, some adult takes the time to explain the meaning of the words or the examples and is prepared to answer the questions later arising from the experiences.
Questions like: "how much is three more than two?" or, "how much is five bigger than seven?" or, "how many things are in two piles of six things?" require knowledge of the phrases "is five bigger than." These ideas and questions may be considered by some young children, but most young children will not find them understandable or entertaining. It is much better to leave a child with positive experiences than to frustrate him or her with questions clearly too difficult to answer.
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