Sunday, January 22, 2012


We started a dinosaur unit to go along with our science study of animals. Ben is getting frustrated and a little bored with math, so I decided that it would be a fun twist to incorporate dinosaurs into as many areas of study as possible. That was the number one way that we were taught to teach kids in "teacher school"... through thematic units. Now that I am more comfortable with homeschooling, I have decided to try and move more toward thematic units and away from the pre-scripted curriculum. I will still be covering everything that they are "supposed" to learn, but will hopefully be able to present it in a more meaningful and fun way. Check out our math activities so far!

Dinosaur Footprints!

  • Skill: measuring with standard and non-standard units of measurement; graphing data; using data to make observations; sizing from smallest to largest.
  • I printed a "dinosaur" footprint out and used the scale feature on my printer to make different sizes of the same footprint. This is not a life-sized footprint, but rather just looks like a dinosaur footprint. You could do the same activity with a life-sized footprint, but we are still working with small numbers and using 100+ Duplos just wasn't going to work for us.
  • Benjamin used Duplo Legos to measure out the height of the various footprints. This combines math with another one of his favorite activities: Legos. 
  • He then used a chart to graph the amount of Duplos it took to measure the height of each footprint. 
  • After recording the data, he answered the questions that I created to go with the assignment. In these questions, I also had him measure each footprint in inches to see the correlation. 

Dinosaur Math!
Andrew has had a particularly difficult time mastering this concept in school. He likes to guess when he doesn't know how to get an answer quickly, and by doing so, will always get the wrong answer. He had a day off from school last Monday, so I decided it was time for Ben and Andrew to both learn how to do these math problems. Kate also had a blast with this activity. For the first time ever, this concept of early multiplication made sense for Andrew. Here's hoping that he can take this new knowledge and use it in the classroom as well. BTW: the picture below is of Andrew, not Benjamin. They are identical...
  • Skill: Pre-multiplication using manipulatives (plastic dinos); skip counting.
  • I created a list of questions regarding the body parts of dinosaurs and figuring out how many of each body part was on 1, 2 or 3 dinosaurs. I then gave them plastic dinosaurs to figure out the answers to all of the questions, except the last one. On the last question, they were required to either use an equation or a drawing to figure out the answer.
  • On the back of the paper, I verbally gave problems just like these ones and they were required to draw pictures to figure out the answers. I was hoping to move them away from the concrete and move to the semi-abstract.

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