While we know that teaching children math and science skills is more important now than ever, keeping them fun is the hard part. Playing games and working on some experiments at home can be a great family activity, and maybe even lead your kid into having a passion for the sciences.
"For every field, an analytical mind is required," says Moira Tolan, professor of business at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh. "Working out problems in algebra, geometry, chemistry and physics provides one with a problem-solving system that can be transferred to other areas of life."
Web books by local authors!
Learn about Gravity and Motion -
What Makes the Best Cushion for a Falling Egg?
- 1 large garbage bag
- 2 resealable plastic sandwich bags
- pitcher of tap water
- 2 eggs
Spread the garbage bag on the ground. This is your landing site -- the place where the eggs you drop will land.
Half fill one plastic bag with water.
Place an egg in the bag with the water and seal it completely.
Place the other egg in the empty bag, and seal it completely.
Take one bag in each hand. Then hold bogh egg-filled bags at shoulder height about the garbage bag. Release them at the same time.
After the bags hit the ground, open both bags to examine the eggs. What do you see?
The science behind it: When you drop the egg, it gains speed and energy as it falls. With no protection, the egg hits the ground fast and hard -- at one small point on its shell. Whack! The egg smashes. When you protect the egg -- by packaging it in water or something else -- two things happen. First, the material around the egg decreases the speed at which the egg hits the ground. Second, the cushioning material spreads out the impact from just one point on the eggshell to a larger area of the shell's surface. This reduces the force of the egg's impact with the ground. There is less damage to the egg with the watery cushion than to the egg that is dropped without a cushion. Whether the egg breaks -- and how hard it splats if it does -- depends on the amount of energy that your padding system absorbs.
How this knowledge helps: "The same principles that you applied to protecting the egg are applied by engineers who design other types of protective equipment -- from car bumpers and air bags to Bubble Wrap and bike helmets."
(from Time for Kids' "Big Book of Science Experiments")
The Ruler Game
- 1 Ruler
- 1 pair of dice (though you only need one)
- small item to use as a marker
Put the marker at the 1 spot on the ruler. Roll one die. If the number is odd, you move your piece that number back, if the number is even, move your marker that number of spaces ahead.
(To make the game more advanced, use a yardstick, and use the two pair of dice. Add up the number of dots and if odd, more that number back, if even, move that number ahead.)
- Set of bingo cards (printable from the web if needed
- Small chips or coins to mark the bingo card
Rather than call out "B-9," call out "B, 7 plus 2" -- play the addition version first, then the subtraction game next. Don't go too fast, allow the kids to do the math in their heads. Have a few prizes for the winners.
(for more math games, visit coolmath.com)