Did you know that labeling these kinds of words while picking out your pumpkin can support Math concepts?
Many people think that teaching math is difficult for young children or focus on numeracy. But math concepts go deeper than just the numbers. Understanding the concepts of comparing and contrasting sizes, shapes and weight is essential. As children learn more about how to use words such as big, small, heavier, lighter, oval, and round they learn more about how the process skills it takes to be a mathematician.
The National Council of Teacher of Mathematics promotes teaching 5 Process skills; problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation. Even if your little one isn’t talking yet, you can model these verbal experiences while you pick out the pumpkin.
If you want to break down the sentences into chunks depending on the age of your child you can follow these simple ideas:
For babies and toddlers: “A big pumpkin. (Pause and point) A bigger pumpkin. Let’s take home the bigger pumpkin.”
For toddlers and young preschoolers: “This is a big pumpkin. This one is smaller. (Pause and then point) This one is bigger than this one. Let’s take home the bigger one.” or if you’re picking out two you could say “Let’s take home both, a big one and a small one.”
For preschoolers and young children: Encourage them to explore and use a lot of ‘Why?’ questions. For example: “There are a lot of pumpkins. What shapes can we find?” (Pause and see what they label. Repeat back what they say such as: “You found an oval one, or a round one.”) “Which is the biggest? (pause and listen) Why is that one bigger? (pause and listen).”
For elementary school children: With this age you can introduce new words and concepts beyond the outside descriptor labels such as predicting weight, amount of pumpkin seeds inside, or length of time it took to grow. For example: “Which one do you think weighs the least? (pause) “Why?”. If you’re at a place that sells the pumpkins by the weight you could even introduce the cost concepts such as “The heavier it is the more it will cost to buy. This one costs $X per pound. How much do you think it will cost?”