I'm over at USA Today in today's paper writing about bedtime math. As we talked about a few weeks ago, the idea is that by making bedtime math problems as much a part of the culture as bedtime stories, we can change the "math-is-hard" and "math-is-foreign" mindset that seems to grip otherwise intelligent folks. You can read the column, "Answer to lagging scores? Bedtime math problems" by following that link.
We've been doing some of this with Jasper -- at night, at dinner, in the car, etc. He's sometimes been coming up with his own math problems. For instance, the other day, he suggested one: if a fire truck has 4 wheels, how many do 6 fire trucks have? Then he got silent for a while. We were in the car, and so eventually I asked "Are you still there?" A voice comes from the backseat, "Mommy, I'm counting!" He told me there were 20 wheels in total. I was debating how to respond to that. I think I said something like "Cool! I was counting and I got a different number. Do you want to hear my number?" I told him that when I was counting I got 24, but when he got to school he could draw 6 fire trucks and see what number he came up with.
I asked him later and he said there were 30 wheels. Maybe all the fire trucks had a spare.
Have you been doing bedtime math problems with your kids? And how do you respond when your children suggest a wrong answer?