Math Activities Using Chalk

There a ton of math activities using chalk you can do...this page has one drawing on it.

People ask me if I spend all day teaching my sons math. You make it sound like you do it all day long. While I certainly spend more time on it than most parents I know I certainly don't do it all day, just everyday. There a ton of math activities using chalk you can do...this page has one drawing on it.

You read to your kids everyday, don't you? If you don't you should. 15 minutes a day bare ass minimum. And math?


A few short 5 minute lessons. Direct their discovery. When they are preschoolers, preschool math activities should be heavy on the play light on the rote memorization. Just play with them.

Get away from formal math time when they are preschoolers. Preschool math activities should be heavy on the play light on the rote memorization. Just play with them.

I got the camera out a little late we were already done. But what you see here is (x+5)2 or x2+10x+25...

Or 100 plus 100 (10 tens) plus 25 or 225. Which we can see is a square number. 15x15 = 225. If you can see it you can do it in your head. We also did all kinds of coombinations from 11x11 thru 15x15 as we drew it and made it bigger. They just counted the blocks, 12x13 is one big red one, 5 blue ones and 6 green one...and the name for this number is one hundred fifty six. "In algebra" as kids say, the name of this is x2+5x+6.

Note there are no symbolsa drawn but we did talk about what the pictures mean. And as we got bigger it got more fun to count. Counting the big red square is easy and counting the tens or xs was also pretty easy, I added them one at a time...counting all the ones was more of a challenge...

Use a three period lesson if they don't know the names of the things the pictures are supposed to this case it's perfect because there afre three things to know the name of, and we can pretend each thing has two names, x2 is also 100.

This does not confuse the student AT ALL. Especially when you have the blocks, one side is smooth and the other has the lines to show the blocks. Also note you ought to play with blocks quite a bit before you go to drawing. ALWAYS start in the concrete not on the concrete.

This is where we started. A simple drawing like this can be a lot of things with your imagination. And as you can see with crayons or chalk or pens we can add color for the little ones.

For older students we want simple boxes lines and dots.

If we are in base ten numbers, we have 100 plus 2 tens plus 1.

Symbols: 121. 11 x 11.

We count the big ones first and put them in order. We can go back and forth between the symbols and numbers, and you will find very quickly 111 goes from "three" to one hundred eleven. I can tell you a true story about place value with second graders in my mothers classroom. Long story short my mother was used to spending MONTHS on place vakue with her students. I got it done in two weeks. That was back when I was brand new (1990) and wasn't 100% sure what I was doing. She was amazed. The principal was amazed. Everybody but the kids were amazed.

ALGEBRA to teach counting, addition and multiplication.

Go here for an actual lesson with a 7 year old, where factoring trnomials teaches addition and multiplication facts.

That rude drawing above can also represent x2+2x+1

Can you see that 11 x 11 is 121? You can if you look at the picture in your mind. Can you see that the factors of x2+2x+1
are (x+1)(x+1) or (x+1)2. Just from that crude drawing. Study the across and over for a minute if you can't. Or go here. [link not built yet]

Or go here and build squares learn a little algebra, AND counting and addition.

This is a hell of a lot of math all at once, and they soak it up like little sponges. No fear. No tears. They are exposed to algebra concepts, multiplication concepts and addition concepts all at once. Do they have full understanding and the full meaning upon the first exposure. OF COURSE NOT. Over time though more and more meaning is added. and by the time they are 8 algebra is duck soup. All this from a few math activities using chalk on the sidewalk or driveway.

One thing I found in my travels is that just using symbols and drawings gets about 50% of the crowd but if they get their hands on the blocks we got 100% of the crowd doing algebra EVERY time from youngest to oldest, one crowd I did had 750 people in it. I had ushers that went around and made sure everybody had their hands on the blocks and were building right along with me. The crowd was gasping and cheering when it we got thru the first few trinomial factoring problems. Usually there is a fart in every crowd. SOMEBODY says "I don't get it!" Or can't get past their own math blocks.

Then we did division and people were blown away by how easy it is.

I solved this problem by making sure EVERYBODY had a set of blocks they could play along with in front of them. If you have a set of blocks get them out as you go thru these pages especially on algebra. If not get some. There are several places to get them. I will have links and shopping carts set up soon. Meantime MAKE SURE they are base ten blocks.

I have seen kits that are base 3, base 7, base 8 and even base 12. What I mean by this is three x are the same shape as one x2, and the blocks are smooth. Base ten blocks have 10 tens to 100 or 10 x the same shape as an x2. A good discovery for people is that 10x does not equal x2 unless x = 10 or -10...but I digress. MAKE SURE they are base ten blocks.

You can make your own using card board or poster board and this can be a fun activity but parents have to help and the measurements have to be fairly precise as well as the cutting. Rulers and exacto knives or paper cutters not just plain old scissors. It is a pain in the butt. Ask me how I know. But you can try it.

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The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live. ~Mortimer Adler