Elementary Math Help: Finding Mathematics in the World You Live In!

Elementary students may think math is limited to the textbook and the classroom. But families and educators can find excellent math lessons by examing the world around them. Read on to learn more about finding mathematics in the world you live in.

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Taking a walk will the many mathematical concepts that occur in your everyday environment, especially all the geometric shapes and patterns. Just about every lesson in the book has a parallel in the real world and that's true no matter where your student lives. While taking a walk, encourage your child to pay attention to the various shapes that surround them. Talk about shapes with your students and help them to connect it to their lessons by using its proper name. If your child finds a shape they don't know how to classify, help them research the answer. Count the sides, name the characteristics. Think of other shapes that are similar. Have your students bring a notebook and pen to collect information for future reference. Finally, when you get back to the class room, bring the walk into the lesson!

Math is a set of rules that defines our universe. The spiral pattern of a pinecone is known as a Fibonacci Spiral. This spiral is based on a special pattern of numbers called Fibonacci numbers. Both the spiral and number pattern were named after Leonardo Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician from the twelfth century. The Fibonacci number pattern starts with 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. A student can create this pattern by adding a number with the one that comes before it in the sequence to get the next number. This sequence corresponds to the spiral pattern found on a pinecone or a snail shell. A simple pine cone can be the springboard for a whole math lesson, maybe more, complete with history!

Nature is a famous for its symmetry. The Line of Symmetry is that spot on an object where it can be folded to create equal parts. Symmetry is found everywhere in the wider world and once they know about it, kids love to search for it. Leaves, for example, have what's called bilateral symmetry, which means there is a line of symmetry that divides the leaf into two parts that mirror each other. Many animals have bilateral symmetry, too: two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, a nose and mouth divided in half right on the line! Challenge your children to find as many symmetrical objects as possible. See if they can find more objects each time you go on your math walks.

Math does not have to be taught straight from the textbook. Taking a break from lecturing and worksheets may be just what your elementary student needs to spark his or her interest. You can turn math into a useful tool for exploring the world around you.

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