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The mathematical virtues of a cheese quesadilla

by Traci Schumacher on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 9:26pm

This summer my kids participated in Live Oak Library's reading program, and again I found it to be a great way to encourage my young readers. There is a lot of emphasis in parenting circles on developing our children's reading skills, which is good. I am surprised, however, at the lack of emphasis on nurturing a love for math and numbers.

I love to find life examples of math – math in action - to help my kids hone their skills and see the practical applications of math. Money can be a great tool to develop those math minds... how many coins, adding the coins together, figuring out change at the store, etc.

Another fun math activity is to sign up with www.BedtimeMath.org so they can email you a fun daily math problem with questions appropriate for different age levels so everyone can participate... from the 2-year-old on up. My kids always enjoy it when I remember to read it to them.

My 4-year-old is currently learning math by way of the cheese quesadilla that has become his lunch food of choice. I make his quesadilla with two tortillas, one on top and one on bottom, to make a complete circle. Everyday my son wants a cheese quesadilla cut into eight wedges. As he eats the “triganles” one by one, he counts down, “Now I have six pieces!” At some point, just to make conversation, I started replying, “Right! If you have eight pieces and take away two pieces, that leaves six pieces.”

Now my little guy adds and subtracts various combinations of numbers up to eight, among other things. At some point, the quesadilla could also help explain fractions, diameter, circumference, etc. What a versatile, educational, and tasty food!

I'm not talking about drilling and practicing and pressure. Just tossing in some math-related fun in the course of a regular day. We keep it light and brief and fun. My 4-year-old enjoys interacting with numbers because it has become a fun little game that we play while we eat our lunch together.

I have no agenda or goals to check off after a set number of quesadillas consumed. I just want my boy to enjoy math as he begins to figure out how it works. So far, so good. Numbers have become my son's friends, thanks in part to the cheese quesadilla, and that's a pretty good foundation for future learning.

 

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