Site icon Liesl Garner

Math Involved in Making an Engine

Photo from the NASA website

It’s only the beginning of the school year, and our gift and challenge is to try to make learning fun at home, because Ben (our 3rd-grader) is convinced that school is a waste of his time.

After Day One, I Pinky-Sweared with him that if he would try to have a good attitude about school, and do his best, that his dad and I would do everything we can to create a rich culture at home where learning is never dull, but always vibrant, interesting and relevant.

Tonight was Math Night. We casually talked about math over dinner. Ben tried to think of something that doesn’t involve any math at all, and came up with – drinking a glass of water.

Oh Contrare!!

You start with a full glass, and incrementally drink out percentages or fractions of water. There is geometry involved in designing the glass, just for starters. At one point in my life, I was enamored with the idea of lab coats, and thought I should become a scientist so I could work with beakers and wear glasses with duct tape across the nose. I read up on famous mathematicians. I told Ben about one Mathematician who was so engrossed in math, and solving problems, that he never married. He would show up at his friends house at 5:00 in the morning with his notebook and pencil in the middle of an equation that could take pages and pages, and wake people up to work on math problems with him. His mathematician friends would come scrambling out of bed, bleary-eyed, but they would get caught up in the problem he was trying to solve, and they would work on it with him.

For reading time, we read about all the complex math involved in building an engine – until his little eyes were popping. We didn’t read all the details, because it was over our heads, but it gave him an idea that in order to get really good at building an engine, and getting his hands covered in oil and grease, and making something go fast – he might need to know his Math.

Then when it came time to look at the concepts of multiplication, he was practically grabbing the book out of my hands to touch the page and start figuring!

One night down!

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