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Patterns and Place Value- Not Just Math Concepts

07 Nov

I really enjoy math.

I like that it is definite.

I like that it is infinite.

I like how it is incredibly simple and yet extraordinarily complex.

All of these things remind me of God.

Today I taught our son the strategy of recognizing a pattern in order to count by twos.

Recognizing patterns is so beneficial in math. It also is pretty exciting (Yes, I just called math exciting).

Once you clearly see the pattern, it is easy to just keep going with it.

So we wrote the counting by twos pattern and we cut out numbers that could be switched out as we bumped up into the next number family. Our little guy was counting by twos with ease.

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And then we did place value.

Place value can be tricky for little ones because so often they don’t understand exactly how the placement of a number greatly changes its value. They don’t get that a “7” in the tens place is equivalent to 70 as opposed to only 7 and so on.

One exercise that seems to help our kids is this: I read out loud a three-digit number, like 110.

I then draw out three boxes in a row. Above each box I write what number we are “counting by” when a number is written in that box.

Hundreds place- we count by hundreds- so I write “100”

Tens place- we count by tens- so I write “10”

Ones place we count by ones- so I write “1”

(Writing “100,” “10,” and “1,” as opposed to the words “hundreds,” “tens,” and “ones” seems to make the concept far less intimidating for young children.)

Once again I say out loud the number, this time adding emphasis: “one HUNDRED and TEN.”

“How many hundreds are there?” ONE HUNDRED
“How many tens?” ONE TEN
“Did you hear any other numbers? No. There are no other numbers. Write a zero in the ones place.”

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We go through the exercise a few times and the child begins to understand how the placement of a number greatly effects its value.

Patterns… Place value…

These are Biblical concepts as well.

The Old Testament was laid as the pattern for the New, but I was never able to see that until I really started to study the works of Christ. Once I caught glimpses of the pattern between the two reading the Bible became more exciting to me.

It became even more exciting when I began to understand that our value can only be truly understood once we realize our place in Christ.

That will put a smile on your face for sure… A smile like a child who finally understands patterns and place value.

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