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When I was a child in school, there were no visuals in math class. I can actually see my elementary-self at my desk, struggling to answer a question about liquid measurements. Everything was done by text book, absolutely nothing was done in “real life” (which is where you use liquid conversions…real life!). As easy as it sounds now, as a child I barely passed- and even though I got an acceptable grade, I really had no clue about cups, liters, and gallons until I was a grown adult and I started to teach myself how to cook!
Oh, how I wish my teachers had done something close to this– I introduce the solution to every child who has struggled with conversions on paper:
My kids LOVE this activity. I knew it was time to start teaching them beyond standard measurements. With an assortment of spoons, cups, and pitchers, I was able to teach them how volume can magically transform into another measurement when you add more.
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This was also a fantastic activity because I was able to give baby boy a bath at the same time– it’s multitasking at its best!
If you’re rusty on the conversion chart, here is a quick go-to guide to help you out:
I led into this activity by explaining the uses for measuring cups and how it helps us make a recipe the same each time. By letting the kids fill up the teaspoons, and then dumping them into tablespoons, into cups, into pints, etc, it allowed them to get a first hand (and hands on!) perspective in measuring liquids.
This helped the kids later on with written math problems, and even though we are still working on it (repetition is the key!), they have a much better understanding of the concept through repeated Bath Math sessions.
Really, you can’t go wrong with using math in the real world. It makes all those numbers and problems jump off the paper, and gives children a better grasp on why it’s important in the first place!
Another good idea is to use bath crayons to write out word problems for them to solve with the measuring cups (or help with written conversion- it’s a double whammy of handwriting skills and mathematics!). No matter what you do, getting the children involved with the water, and making math fun will do wonders. Through play kids can learn so much more.
What do you do to make math fun? Share in the comments below!