We pulled out the book, “What Your 3rd Grader Needs to Know” again last night to work on some Math. Somehow, reading Narnia before bed has taken precedence in last week or so over Random Educational Exploits. I say we get random, because, we always start with a certain part of the book that is talking about a specific thing we should know, and one thing leads to another, and all of a sudden, we are learning something amazing that we never dreamed of at the outset. It’s just the way it always goes at our house.
Ben fluctuates between being a little math genius and rolling his eyes at math and saying its the dumbest thing in the world. I can’t follow where his head is regarding math. Last night he was doing that frustrated thing, and huffy, dull voiced, I cannot bear to think of this thing. Even though I wasn’t forcing him to sit with me. He wanted to go through the book and do Math for Tuesday Night.
Still, I know how quickly things can deteriorate on this subject. So, I switched gears, and closed the book and just started talking with him about the absolute reason of math. There is never a time when 2 + 2 will equal 17. It’s just not going to happen. He and Bean started giggling. I knew I was onto something.
I started talking about Engineers and Architects. This is my fall-back or my go-to example, because his ears always perk up and his eyes light up at the thought of designing and building something. Ben is always, always, always deep in the middle of building one thing or another. It’s either a car, bike or airplane, or Iron Man, or skis made out of slats of wood with old tennis shoes duct-taped to them, or this last weekend, he built additions to his bike and Beans to make them look like dirt-bikes – out of cardboard (cut, I might add, with baby scissors – took him forever – but he was determined, and occupied, so we left him to it) and, that’s right, Duct Tape!
From a place of sheer desperation to keep him engaged and interested in Math, I started rambling about the perfection of math, and how an Engineer couldn’t just slap something together without seriously looking at the numbers, and design, or how everything would line up, to make sure that the building would be structurally sound and not fall over. And then I thought of The Tallest Building in the World. Just popped into my head as I was grasping at straws to explain why Math is so important.
We grabbed my phone and quick plugged in Tallest Building in the World on a Google Search, and found a video of the building and grand opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
My kids eyes practically popped out of their heads watching this video. Mine too, I’ll happily admit. What an amazing feat of engineering and structural beauty, and Yes – Math! Trust me, there were no slapped together,”Oh, half-inch, 3/16 inch, does it really matter?” sections of that building. Every tiny portion of that building was put together perfectly, or it wouldn’t work at all.
And then, we snuggled down for the last 3 chapters of Narnia (all the parts that make me cry) and called it a night at just one minute past 9:00. We really packed a lot into last night!