What is Math?

Yesterday was my first day this academic year of teaching math at the Golden Key Russian School. We have four groups with kids’ ages ranging from 4 to 9 years old. I started off all the classes by asking the kids what comes to their minds when they hear the word math / mathematics. Most kids ventured to voice their opinions only after being repeatedly reassured that there is no correct answer. Some were unfortunately too shy to say anything even after that. However, at the end we managed to get a reasonably sized list. Here are the answers.

1) Numbers/digits (said by all 4 groups)
2) Plus and Minus (2 oldest groups)
3) Games (2 youngest groups 🙂
4) Working and learning (2 youngest groups)
5) Homework (said by a 4.5 y/o)

The rest were all said once by kids from the two oldest groups.
6) Money
7) Clock and Time
8) Balancing scales (topic of the day)
9) Writing and Words
10) Drawing
11) Counting
12) Questions
13) Number Line
14) Multiplication Table
15) Problem Solving

I’m not sure that there is any deep conclusion to be drawn here, but it was an interesting experiment. I was surprised that no one said puzzles since we do quite a bit of them. I hope to ask the question again at the end of the year and see if I get any new, interesting responses!

Ask your kids what they associate with the word math and post their answers!

About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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4 Responses to What is Math?

  1. sannichka says:

    oh my gosh, i’m so happy for those kids who get taught by you! I wish you lived in Bay Area, for egotistical reasons (it’s where my daughter also resides! 🙂


  2. Austin says:

    Soren (my 8 year old) said: “It’s adding and subtracting numbers in different ways to find out things that you need to know faster.”


  3. Steven Burda says:

    My kids said “numbers” and “plus and minus”


  4. Pingback: Math is … | Musings of a Mathematical Mom

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