4. Is There Enough Room Here
Even without construction and sawdust in your house or apartment, you can involve your child in building and builders' math. The next time you want to move a bookcase, bed, or sofa, measure it together before moving it. Then measure the space it (you hope!) fits into. If your measurements show it will fit, problem solved! If not, using measurement to save all that time and effort will make a big impression, and your child will learn why a math tool like a tape measure can sure come in handy.

5. Lever It
The next time you need to lift an object that is too heavy to lift by yourself, invite your child to help as you 'lever it'! Use a lever—a simple tool such as a sturdy board or iron bar resting on a fulcrum—and follow a surprising rule: When you multiply the length of your lever, you will similarly multiply the weight you can lift!

How does a lever work? Put one end of your board or bar under a section of the object you want to lift (a heavy rock or log, for example, or sofa). Position the fulcrum under the board or bar as close to the object as possible. Now push down on the other end to lift the object. If the object is still too heavy to lift, try a longer lever. The longer the lever you use, the more weight you can lift. In fact, if you multiply the length of your lever two, three or even four times, you will multiply the weight you can lift the same two, three, or four times! Your child may want to try using the lever as well, so make time to choose some objects you can experiment with together (furniture, box of books…or you!).

More About Cyberchase
PBS' math-based children's series Cyberchase has new episodes themed, around Builders' Math. These shows incorporate tasks like how to work levers, accurately measure boxes, etc., all aimed at teaching problem solving, proportionate reasoning, measurement and geometry. Builders' Math episodes premiere nationally February 19-21, 2008 on PBS Kids Go! and are part of a multi-faceted initiative that will include specially-designed games and lesson plans on the Cyberchase companion website pbskidsgo.org/cyberchase, and an outreach program that will provide kids around the country with hands-on activities via museums and other organizations.
Ask TOH users about Workshop

Contribute to This Story Below

    More in Workspaces