## How Is Maths Evident In Children’s Everyday Lives?

When looking at different ways of supporting children’s learning it is important to ask the question, “how is maths evident in children’s everyday lives?”

If we incorporate this into natural discussions and living this will support what they are learning in formal settings.

One way to do this is to consider different areas of the home and then outside.  In this article, I will concentrate on the kitchen.

My suggestions will be divided into KS1 and then KS2 and beyond.  These are only rough guides.

Some pre-school children will be ready to try out some of the activities under Key Stage 1.

A child’s success isn’t based on where they start, but on where they finish. Continuing education is more important than learning something by a specific age, so don’t worry if your child isn’t able to do something that you expected them to, just gently guide them in the right direction and try to make it fun for both of you.

## Maths in Children’s Everyday Lives in the Kitchen

Finding maths in the kitchen is perhaps the easiest and most obvious place to start so that is why I have chosen it for this article.

## KS1 Children

There are endless things in the kitchen that you can count:

– Ingredients, jars tins, saucepans, cutlery, pasta pieces, and so on.

Then, you can use a multitude of questions rather than just asking children to count something. At other times you can just explain what you’re doing so that they hear appropriate vocabulary.

“How many eggs were there altogether?”

“How many eggs have I got left?”

“How many eggs have I used?”

” Auntie Sue and Jack are coming for dinner today. How many knives and forks will we need?”

“There are already 3 forks on the table. How many more do we need?”

Groups of…

Use inexpensive ingredients to experiment with making groups of different sizes.

“Using pasta pieces can you make me 3 groups of 4?”

“Now make me two groups of 6.”

“Which is the biggest? How do you know?”

These could be painted and then glued onto a piece of paper in appropriate groups and kept as evidence of an investigation, or just as a piece of artwork that the children like looking at.

Measuring

Measuring is perhaps the most obvious thing to do in the kitchen that uses maths.

This could be part of a cooking activity or it could just be done on its own.

“Measure out 3 cups of flour.”

“How much does this egg weigh?”

“Which is heavier, stevia or sugar?”

“Which spoon is the longest?”

Position

The position is part of the maths curriculum for younger children.

“Please take out the top box.”

” I’m going to put the cake on the middle shelf.”

“Let’s put some icing on top of the cake.”

“Take the orange out of the box.”

Fractions

” I’m going to eat half a muffin.”

“Let’s cut this apple into quarters.”

“I want to put this cake into 6 pieces. First I’m going to cut it in half, next I’m going to cut each half into 3 pieces so I’m going to cut it into thirds. This will give me 6 pieces altogether as 2 x 3 is 6.”

Shapes

“Are there any cubes in the kitchen?”

“This rolling pin is a cylinder shape.”

“What shapes can you see in the Toblerone box?”

## KS2 Children – and beyond

Have a look at the sections above. Some of the KS1 questions can be adapted for KS2

These suggestions and questions are just a very general guideline. You’ll need to adapt them depending on the age and ability of your child.

Money

Make a shopping list and then estimate how much the total bill is likely to be.

“I’m going to get us two fish and one portion of chips. That should cost us £10.54. What change should I get from £20?”

“Here is £10. Go to the ice cream van outside and choose three different ice creams. Make sure it comes to less than £6 as I need £4 in change for the car park later tonight.”

Food

“How many potatoes do you think we should cook for the four of us?”

“How much do they weigh?”

“What weighs the most – the cauliflower or the cabbage?”

“What’s the difference?”

“Is it cheaper to eat chips or baked potatoes?”

“How did you work that out?”

“Is there more fat in a pan au chocolat or an almond croissant?”

“What is the difference as a percentage?”

“Which of these soups has the greatest percentage of vegetables in it?”

“Which is better value- a multipack of 24 bags of crisps costing £4.15, or a 6-pack of crisps costing £1.05?”

“How much money could you save using a box of milkshake powder and milk compared with buying ready-made milkshakes?”

Cooking

” How hot does the oven have to be?”

“How long does it usually take to heat up to that temperature?”

“Shall we time it?” ” Let’s guess and see who is nearest.”

“How long will it take to cook?”

“If I put it in at 3 when will it be ready?”

“If I want it to be ready by 6 when do I have to put it in the oven?”

“In what order should I put things into the oven, so that everything is ready by 7:30?”

Labels

Looking at labels on food can be a huge source of inspiration.

You can find the same sort of information on online shopping sites

Online shopping sites

Online shopping sites have huge amounts of data. You can spend quite a long time on any one product or do some comparisons.

As an example, on on on I’m going to look at a tin of Heinz vegetable soup on the Tesco website:

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/258147794

So here we have a photo and we can immediately start discussing the picture.

“What is the soup going to have in it, do you think?”

Then we can have a look at the offers.

“How much is each tin if you buy 4 of them?”

“How much is each tin  if you buy by 8 of them?”

“How accurate is 24p for 100g for one tin?”

“Would you pay more for 7 tins or 8 tins?”

Nutritional values

You’ll notice nutritional values like these on all foods in the UK.

In just this one little diagram we have weights, decimals, percentages, comparisons, ratios and conversions! No wonder some schools do whole topics around food labels.

These figures show the recommended maximum that any adult should eat within one day.

“If someone lived off soup for a day, how many tins should they eat as a maximum so as not to go over any of the recommended amounts?”

“Find a recipe for vegetable soup and compare the amount of salt that goes into a homemade recipe and a tin of soup. What do you notice?”

“What is 5% as a fraction?”

“What is the ratio of saturates to fats?”

Ingedients

Finally let’s have a look at the ingredients.

“How much water do you think there is in this can?” – you don’t have to know the answer to all the questions, you can just ponder some of them.

“Why don’t they give the percentage for all of the ingredients?”

“Do you think they ought to?”

“What is the ratio of tomatoes to peas by weight?”

“Could you make up a soup recipe and include the percentage of each ingredient?”

## Finally…

I’m sure that as you have been reading this article you will have been thinking of lots of ideas of your own and they will be the best ones.

Also, listen out for your children’s questions. They will be even more interested in exploring what possible answers are if they have come up with the question themselves.

Of course, their questions won’t sound quite like my one did.

They might be more like:

“Where is my cup?”

“Why is soup so runny?”

“Why don’t you cut bigger pieces of cake?”

“Can’t you add more salt when you’re cooking?” – ok this might be from an older person! But you could explore it as a family.

Where next:

Try my Online Fractions Games page

When adding, subtracting or doing any sort of work with fractions it is important that the children see diagrams and pictures so that they can visualise what’s happening.

Ezra M. Katz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

## Starting With The Basics

A slower introduction to the subject with a cartoon spaceman – older learners may want to skip this.

## A Good Starting Point For 9/10-Year-Olds And Beyond

In this video from Corbettmaths we get some very clear examples of addition in fractions and also some subtractions at the end so you can see the connection.

We’re looking at adding fractions with the same denominators.

## Adding Fractions With A Common Denominator

If you want to go over that more slowly and see it pictorially tey this video, otherwise just jump to the next one!

## Quick And Easy Ways Of Adding And Subtracting Fractions.

I like this video, but I would do the last calculation differently. I would add up the whole numbers 1 plus 2 equals 3, and then I would add up to fractions in the same way as he has done previously. Perhaps you might like to put in the comments which method you would use and why.

## Adding And Subtracting Mixed Numbers

Now in this video, the woman does use the method I suggested and also looks at a better way to find the common denominator but I think it’s worth looking at the previous video first.

## Adding and Subtracting Mixed Numbers Word Problems

Now once you are confident with adding and subtracting fractions you need to be able to apply it to solving word problems and this is an excellent video to show you how to do that.

This is a useful video if you’re just coming back to this page later and want to quickly revise what you learnt here.

This guy does everything fast.  You might find it useful to stop the video from time to time and check you understand what is happening.

## Adding Three Fractions Using The Common Denominator Method

Mr J finds the common denominator before starting the rest of the calculations. This keeps the numbers smaller,

This is a more detailed video where we look at adding mixed numbers. First of all it is done with the same denominators and then with different denominators.

Also see Online fraction games

## Online Fractions Games

### Online Fractions Games

Fractions are much easier if you have a good visual understanding of what is going on so online fractions games are an excellent way to explore fractions.

### Topmarks

One site that I have been using for many years is Topmarks. This has grown and been kept up to date. The graphics are simple and straight-forward and the games fill the screen – unlike some older sites when they have not been updating the resolution as time has moved on.

Some of the games are embedded from different websites, for instance, the BBC allows you to embed some of their games into your own website so you can see that the style of these games is quite variable.

Other games are flash-based and many people no longer have flash enabled so they have a helpful guide to show you have to enable flash if it is not working on your computer.
Games for KS2 include:
Fraction Matcher

In this game, you can play the games against the clock if you want to. There are lots of different levels that you can choose from. This starts with very easy – halves, quarters, three-quarters, and by level 8 it is much more challenging as you can see here.

There are lots of games on this site but let me just pick out a few.

One is called Fraction Beach in which you get buckets of sand when you get a correct answer.

There is an interactive tutorial called Proper Fractions – it has pictures of ducks on the front of it.  Cartoon characters explain what is happening and ask questions. This activity is aimed at 9 to 10-year-olds.

Another game that looks interesting is called Converting Fractions to Decimals. This is a futuristic mission game where you need to crack open the vault using your knowledge of fractions and decimals.

In Decimals Jeopardy you can play in teams or on your own against the clock.

When playing Treefrog Treasure, you have to collect jewels and in this one there are lots of different levels as well.

For those children who like the BBC characters Dick and Dom, there is an equivalent fractions game which includes some rather rude noises! Here is a video of me having a go at playing it.  Can you bet my score?

There is another game with Dick and Dom in it where you have to find the antidote to the plague. In that one, you’re comparing and ordering fractions.

## Splashlearning

A much newer website – which is free at the moment is Splashlearning.  https://uk.splashlearn.com/parent-dashboard#/math

There are lots of different activities for all ages and because I am from the UK it changed from talking about Grades to Years!

Dolphin Racing

Dolphin Racing from the BBC was one of my favourites. It’s still ok if you have the right Flash player but otherwise it won’t play.

Here are some more videos and activities from the BBC.

### NCTM

Fraction Card Game

This is a good game which involves a bit of thinking rather than the speed of the arcade games below.

### NRICH

For getting children to think more deeply but in an enjoyable way the NRICH site is fantastic!!

Consider bookmarking this page as there are 58 activities in the Fractions and related topics but you can narrow this down by Key Stage.

As a teacher this has got to be my favourite maths site and is well worth exploring.

### Math Playground

In Math Playground the games are more like arcade games and so are popular with the children. This is an American site and has notes for teachers.

I haven’t figured out what happens in Fraction Forest games so let me know in the comments if you have or if you have found any instructions.

These tend to be more challenging, so are more useful for consolidation, speed tests and/or revision.

### Education.com

Another American site with quite an arcade feel.

Education.com has 12 games – you need to scroll down to see all of them which isn’t always obvious.

Here are some of them:

### MathsGames.com

On MathGames.com you can choose a game, then a grade, then a skill like fractions.

### Printable fractions games

From the TES Fractions Board Game, Equivalent Fractions Game,

A variety of Fraction Board games here.

### Primary Resources UK

Primary Resources has a whole load of games, activities which teachers have created and shared. Well, maybe more activities than games. This is another site I made a lot of use of as a teacher.

### Teaching Ideas

Teaching ideas is similar in some ways to Primary Resources. Here are their fractions ideas.

### Some resources from Amazon

You might want to see if you can use some of these ideas to create your own resources.

(Disclosure – these links go to Amazon UK and I get a small percentage from them which helps to pay towards to cost of maintaining my websites.)

Magnetic Teach Yourself Fractions

Fractions (Brighter Child Flash Cards)

Fraction Action Snap

Learning Resources Deluxe Rainbow Fraction Circles

Learning Resources Soft Foam Magnetic Rainbow Fraction Tiles

Learning Resources Rainbow Fraction Dominoes

Equivalent Fractions Snap Card Game

### Books

Lift-the-Flap Fractions and Decimals (Lift the Flap Books)

The is an Usborne book and although I haven’t seen this one they are usually very good. This book gives you a super guide to fractions, decimals and percentages. There are over 125 flaps to lift so that you can discover what they are and how to use them. Learn about simplifying fractions, improper fractions, and converting to decimals and percentages.

Wipe-Clean Fractions 7-8 (Key Skills)
Here we meet some friendly animals helpers. The book aims to build confidence in understanding the concept of fractions and offers plenty of practice.  It includes extra notes for adults.  The answers are at the back of the book.

Fractions and Decimals Activity Book (Maths Activity Books)

This is a book with a difference.  You will find fraction robots, numerator ice-cream cakes and decimal mazes. At the back of the book are 4 pages of stickers and all the answers.

10 Minutes a Day Fractions (Carol Vorderman’s Maths Made Easy)

Carol Vorderman has written this maths workbook on fractions.  It encourages your child to spend 10 minutes a day practising fractions, decimals, and percentages.

Year 6 Maths Reasoning – Fractions, Decimals and Percentages for papers 2 and 3: 2018 tests (Collins KS2 SATs Smashers)

This last book has short tests with self-assessment and answers

### Feedback

Let me know how you get on in the comments below and as always enjoy the process and spending time with your child!