Last time we talked about using the calendar I hinted about using it to introduce some problem solving and higher level math skills. I would like to share a few of those with you.

The first is to use a week on the calender to create an algebra equation. For example we'll use this calendar.

Today is Monday. So we have two days up and how many are left in this week? The child can count there are 5 days left. So then you can show them 2 days are past and 5 days are left and there are 7 days all together. Then give them the math sentence 2 + 5 = 7. What your child has just done is solve for X, the X being how many days are left. The information they had would look like this in a math sentence 2 + X = 7. From that starting point you can walk them through it another way too. For example ask them, "How many days are in a week?" Then, "How many days have we had?" and finally, "How many are left?" or 7 - 2 = X.

You can also do this with the month rather then the week. For example we have 21 days up and we want to know how many days we have left. It would look like this 21 + X = 28.

When I did this with first graders I used letters that made more since to them then "X". I would use "H" for the days we "had", "L" for the days "left", "W" for "week", and "M" for month. Many of the children loved this activity. Once they could see the pattern I would let them write a math sentence (an equation) for the week or month. Often these are skills you do naturally with your child, but now you can take it a step further. Also you will then see them using math sentences to figure out other answers too. This doesn't have to be over formal or technical, once you get your child started, often they will take the lead.

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