Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Two-Times Table - Stealth Maths

We started the day, unbeknownst to Francesca, with Maths. At least, that's what I'd planned. It looks a lot like art, doesn't it?

Since we are focussing on the two-times table this week, and that, effectively, means doubling, we did some painty doubling. But wait! I'll get to the maths in a moment.

Francesca spent ages painstakingly copying half of one of our fridge-magnet butterflies, to eventually fold in half. I love the contrast in this picture, between the art of a 5 year old and that of a 2 year old: both equally absorbed in doing what they're doing.

Drum-roll while the two halves of the paper are pressed together...

And Ta Da!!

Then the maths.

I made Francesca 12 little folded 'books', each with a dotty pattern on one side for the numbers 1-12. These, when painted over and folded, butterfly style, made the answers to the two-times table.

She was surprisingly taken with the idea. "We could print lots of these and sell them for other children!" she said. I'm considering the idea.*
*Decided against it.

Sebastian was thrilled with the folding painting idea.

He was prolific.

Francesca's times-tables turned out well:


Later, when I was hair-drying her hair at bedtime, I let her 'play' on the Mental Maths App, setting it to basic level 2x tables and she was getting the hang of it.

Elizabeth did some nice folded-art too. Then she moved on to literacy. Here, she has found her long-lost 'first words' practice and is helping herself to a reward sticker for matching the words on the first sentence.

Then, in a painty mood, and, more importantly, still wearing aprons, I diluted some food colouring to finish off our salt snowflakes.

Dropping the food colouring onto the salt allowed us to see the colour wicking through the salt - a bit. It wasn't overly impressive and the girls were all arted-out, I think. They lost interest quite quickly, but I enjoyed myself.

Here's Elizabeth's initial burst of enthusiasm:

And the results:

Relating this to capillary action, I set up a wick made of kitchen roll to move this (supposedly) red water from one jar to another. It's taken nearly all day but as I type, the liquid really is in the other jar. I wonder if the children are impressed?

Francesca looked at some paper towel under the microscope and saw the fibres, with gaps in between.

Then, continuing to think about capillary action, we set up some chromatography (thanks for the filter paper Lindsey!) to separate out the inks from our new felt-tip pens. They've turned out well but we haven't looked at the results yet because I was waiting for the chromatograms to dry.

Francesca did the grouting on her mosaic mirror. It looks fabulous! I'll take a picture tomorrow when we've given it the final polish.

Then there was more art, with Abuelita this time. I distracted Elizabeth with a jigsaw game on the computer. She had no problem seeing where the pieces should go but her mouse control needs practice.

Abuelita helped Francesca to produce this, copied from a work of Charles Tunnicliffe:

Enough! Bedtime. Zzzzzz.


  1. Very impressive results. Great control of colour on the little bird and attention to detail everywhere.

  2. Just been on to the jigsaw puzzle site. What a fantastic resource!