Things to Do While at the Store 1. Calculate/estimate the discount on items advertised % off. 2. Estimate the cost of all of the items in your basket by rounding and then adding in your head. Jot down your estimate as you shop so you don’t lose track, and then check it against the register tape. Another estimation exercise involves the total cost of your purchases. Have your child keep a tally going as you pick up items around the store. See how well they have added the prices and estimated the total cost when you check out. This exercise is best introduced when a child has grasped the concept of addition. Additionally, be sure to start this activity with a small amount of purchases and gradually work your way up to a larger sized shopping trip. 3. Or, you can cut the total off of the bottom of the register tape and see how close you can estimate the cost of all of the items. 4. Keep a running total of all prices on a calculator and then calculate the tax too. See if your total matches the cash register receipt. 5. Look at a product label on a can or a box and figure out what all the numbers mean. Figure out what all of the nutritional information means. 6. Use the label on a product to figure out how many you would have to buy to serve 100 people, 500 people, or 1,000 people. 7. Comparison shop--figure out whether it is better to buy two 24-ounce boxes of cereal for $.96 or three 20-ounce boxes of the same cereal for $1.20. You can do this at the store using items you need to purchase. Compare the unit prices of different sizes of 3 or more kinds of food. 8. Pay for a small purchase with a large bill and then make sure you got the correct amount of change. Or, just make the purchase for mom or dad, count out the correct amount of money, and then count your change. 9. How much money do you think mom or dad spends on food every week? Check with them and compare your estimate with the actual amount they spend. Any surprises? 10. Help mom or dad plan the week’s menu and then create a shopping list to accompany the menu. Check weekly sale ads for local grocery stores to see if there is anything you can buy on sale. Take coupons with you too. Estimate the cost of the groceries before you shop, and then compare your estimate to the actual cost. 11. Estimate the number of bags it will take to hold all of your purchases. 12. Have your children help you weigh the produce you plan on purchasing. This is a great opportunity to explain weight and estimation. Ask your children to estimate how much the items weigh, and then check their estimations. With time your children will get better at estimating weight. Things to Do in the Car or on the Road 1. Compare prices for 10 gallons of gasoline by using the cost of gas per gallon. Or, estimate the cost to fill the car based on the number of gallons your car’s gas tank holds. 2. Identify road signs and tell what geometric shape they are. 3. Read a map. This helps you with graphing and grids and the use of indexes and cross referencing. 4. Use a map to estimate the distance from your house to a friend’s house. Write down the odometer reading before you leave and after you arrive to calculate the actual distance. 5. Estimate/calculate the time it will take you to drive a given distance based on your current speed (miles per hour). 6. Search for numbers while driving around town. Ask your child to find the numbers one through 40 while taking a trip in the car. These numbers could be from license plates, addresses, street signs, even billboards. Have them include numbers that were spelled out or part of a phrase. This will help your child with number recognition and see that math is used every day. 7. License Plate Game: add up the numbers on the car license plates as they pass by. You should alternate cars so that you would get the first plate, your friend/sister would get the second plate, you would get the third, and so on. You could set a time limit or a number goal to know who the winner is. (you could use tally marks) 8. Passenger Game: a variation on the license plate game. You take turns adding the number of passengers in a car. Or, you can make a frequency table and tally the different number of passengers. You could create a graph to go along with your frequency table. 9. Give a friend/brother/sister mental math problems. 10. Count the number of telephone poles in one mile. Estimate the number of poles for your entire trip based on the trip odometer. Things to Do Around the House 1. Write your own classified ad and then calculate the cost of the ad using the prices listed in the newspaper. 2. Collect the length of all commercials during a 30 minute tv show. Order the length of the commercials from least to greatest. Find the range(big minus small), mode(most common length), median(middle length), and mean(average of all the times). 3. Estimate the monthly payments for a new car. Do 36 and 48 months. Use the car ads in the newspaper for car prices. 4. Estimate the area of a room or wall and then measure to find out how close your estimate was. 5. Listen to the evening news and figure out what was in the newscast that required the use of mathematics. 6. Record and graph the temperature at the same time each day for a week. 7. Look up distances from your house to the cities of friends and relatives. Use a bar graph to show who lives closest and who lives farthest away. 8. Start a scrapbook of things you find in newspapers, magazines or anything in print that show how math is used. 9. Practice dividing money amounts. Have mom or dad make up amount of money they pay for mortgage or rent each month. Calculate the rent or mortgage by the number of people in the household. How much does it cost for 1 person in your house for rent or mortgage? 10. Almost the same as above, but do it for the car payment or groceries. You calculate the cost of clothing, entertainment, gasoline, etc. for each person in your house for the month or for a week. 11. Draw a floor plan of your bedroom to scale. One foot of your room can equal one inch on your floor plan. Measure your furniture and make cardboard replicas that are to scale. Now you can figure out how many different ways you can rearrange your room. You just have to move the furniture pieces around the floor plan until you find the one you want. Don’t forget to include doors and windows on your floor plan. 12. Estimate the weight of your family’s weekly laundry. Write down your estimate. Stand on the scale and weigh yourself. Now, stand on the scale with the laundry. Figure out how much more you weigh with the laundry than without it and this will tell you how much the laundry weighs. You can do this with any other object in your house too. 13. Create a blueprint or draw up a plan for something you would like to make or build. Figure out the supplies you need and create a shopping list. Build or make your project. How close were you to your plan? Did you have any problems? Did you buy enough stuff? What did you do wrong? What did you do that was right? 14. Open a school store, a grocery store, or a department store for a younger brother or sister (or even a younger neighbor). Make up fake money and label everything with a price. You could have mom or dad run the register and you could be a shopper’s assistant for the younger person. 15. What shoe size do you wear? If you wear a size 6 for example, why is it that there isn’t anything about your shoe that has to do with the number 6. Research how shoe sizes were assigned. Hint: It started in the 1300s and it had to do with something that farmers grew. 16. Create currency for a new country. Talking and Writing About Math 1. Ask yourself what you did today that required you to use math. 2. Why do stores sell things for $5.99 rather than $6.00? 3. Do you think coupons save consumers money, or are they more trouble than they are worth? 4. Think of several ways you can earn money this summer. Choose something you would like to purchase with that money and see how long it will take you to earn that money. 5. Why do stores have sales? 6. Explain to a younger brother or sister why math is so important. 7. Tell why a person counting to 200 by tens would get there faster than a person counting by fives. 8. Make up your own humorous math sentences using math words. (Fractions break me up! Circumference really keeps me going in circles! Scales, what a heavy thought!) 9. Write a math jingle to a famous tune. (Geometry is about lines and shapes, lines and shapes, lines and shapes Mary Had a Little Lamb). 10. Make a rhyme in the following way: 6 and 8 went on a date 6 x 8 is 48. 6 and 7 lost their shoe 6 x 7 is 42. 6 and 9 washed the floor 6 x 9 is 54. 11. Make up a story in which the characters, people, and events are all math words. For example: Mr. Peri Meter met Mr. E.Z. Math on the corner of Geometry Street and Angle Avenue. They were going to lunch at the Square Deal Restaurant. 12. Make a creative story using the titles below: How It Came To Be and Other Tales: The Day Division Was Invented Why Multiplication Was Invented How Numbers Became Squares Six Did Not Pick Up Sticks The Prime Minister of Numbers How I Became a Roman Numeral How I Became an Odd Number How I Made a Million in the Stock Market 13. Rewrite or retell a fairy tale to include numerical information. Once upon a time there were three little pigs. The oldest was Buffa. He was 14 years old and he liked to tell jokes. Next came Herbert who was 12 years old. He was the funniest of the three, etc... 14. Write a script for a video that tell how numbers have played an important part in your life. Tell about your successes and failures. 15. Create a math newsletter for your family. Research Fibonacci, Benjamin Banneker, Sonya Kovalesky, and Eratosthenes. Include something on Roman Numerals. Make up word problems or brain teasers. Be creative. Include stories or poems about numbers. Include your families’ favorite recipes and tell how to double or halve the amounts.