One of the math moms on facebook posted this pic.

**My response:**Nice, now change the game and make it so he can only use one three...then the other ones have to be a two and a one or three ones, you might mention right now they are all three plus zero and it's more fun to make combinations...same with the four, only use one four and the others have to be addends for four and so on also nothing says you only have to use 4 on the corners, you can use 5 or 6 or 7 or more pillars...then you can play "jenga" an see if you can take pillars out without knocking the whole thing down...then when does fall down just build it again and see who can take the most pillars out before it falls...Also, make a video of it and maybe you could win something.

Many math concepts can be learned with just this one simple exercise. You can slide a 2 into the level that he built with three's and the concept that 2 is "smaller than" three is easily seen...in math we could say less than...and we could show the symbols on a white board if we wanted to but at this age playing blocks and verbal reinforcement is enough. You are creating a math rich environment, where several of the senses are used to learn math and basic math concepts like more and less and addition and of course subtraction.

The mind absorbs all this then later (days, weeks, months or even years) this experience can be drawn upon to make sense of these symbols: 2 < 3...

You could put on the skip count CD or multiplication rock vids on youtube in the background and sing along as you skip count the threes he has used. PLAY, make teaching addition fun; little kids love to sing and they don't much care if you can carry a tune or not as long as you are making a joyful noise.

Anyhow make a vid of

*your*kids playing math and you might win some cool stuff. UPDATE: this part is over but you should still check out primal math for some cool apps...Zombie Fish Bits is fun....

If you'd like a FREE manual on showing how to teach even very young children a super easy way to subtract click this link to my Supremely Simple Subtraction manual. A new Games and Activities Manual is in the works but it will be a while so meantime use the old one. (Takes a while to load so give it a minute...)

Another math mom on facebook posted this pic.

**My response:**Excellent...! Now you can talk to him about the 9 in the corner...you could flip the blocks over and count 1 hundred, 6 tens and 9 units...you could talk about square roots and square numbers playfully with the 9 and the 169...and of course the polynomial...x² + 6x + 9...the square root is one side which is x + 3....and of course (x+3)² = (x+3)(x+3) = x² + 6x + 9 and you talk about economy of symbol...that we don't need to write it twice...you could talk about 13² = (13)(13) = 169...you could have him draw a simple picture of it...and talk about these things while he's making his drawing...note I say

*could*you don't have to...you could write some symbols and show him how those symbols describe his creation the same way words can describe a brown cow...and you do it casually, not drilling him not formal instruction just, "hey...look at these green ones there--they make a square and we can count the sides or one side...hey look at that! You made all those blocks into a square can you count the sides? What's the blue one called?"

If you are on the base ten side he should say, "10...and three units." Or something like that. And you could say, "what's the name for one ten and 3 units...?"

If they are on the smooth side and you are in base x, the blue one's name is x and three units...

A ton of math concepts can be taught off of this one rectangle...you don't need to cover all of them at once...just a few at a time. Check this post out, it talks about all the things you can use this simple rectangle (square) for, when it comes to teaching math concepts.

Now build one that's 14 or x+4 squared...and then 15...or maybe he wants to make a different shape with his 6x...and make it (x+2)(x+3) or some other combination for 6, 5+1, 4+2, 3+3...still 6x but now a different number fits in the corner...just play math, bigger is funner.

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