Zoe really likes playing with Mathlink cubes, but until a few days ago, the only thing she really liked doing with them was take apart structures that I would build for her (and she would not be satisfied until all cubes were back to their lonely, singleton state). Among many other reasons for this was the fact that the cubes are actually a little tricky to snap together, but the last time we took out the cubes, Zoe had finally mastered this skill.

One consequence of this was that she was no longer jumping at every little thing I made to immediately take it apart. I decided to take advantage of this to try a little math lesson. First, I built a small tower and asked Zoe how many green cubes were in it.

“I don’t want to count green cubes!” was the reply I got.

“What color cubes would you like to count?” the natural question followed.

“Pink ones.”

Pink ones it was. I built a few more towers and asked Zoe which ones contained exactly one pink cube.

Now that the question involved cubes of the proper color, she was willing to “play”. After she correctly identified the towers in question, I asked her to tell me how many pink cubes each of the towers had. Again, no problem with that. But then she decided that enough attention was given to my towers – she wanted to build some of her own.

You want a tower with one pink cube? Here you go.

Oh yeah, and mommy, why don’t you now count all of the pink cubes in my towers!

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About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.