Monday, January 10, 2011

Nobody Expects the Mathematics Inquisition!

So M1 got very excited about his non-book-related math today. We talked about number patterns (2, 4, 6, 8 are all +2; 3, 6, 9, 12 are all +3; etc.), we did a couple together, and he seemed really keen on it.

So I handed him the sheet that I'd made, and he went to town. I had only put 10 problems on there plus two 'bonus' questions that I figured he wouldn't get but what the hey, they were bonus questions so who cared. (For the record, bonus question #1 was the Fibonacci sequence, and bonus question #2 was the x2 sequence of 2, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.)

My first clue that I might have done something 'wrong' was when he hit #2:

3, 7, 11, 15, ___, ___, ___

And flipped out.

"MOM!!! It looks like it's +4, but it can't be +4. It doesn't start on the right number!!!"

Oh, my.

I told him to take a deep breath and make very sure that the first number really truly mattered in a pattern - for example, did a shape pattern always have to start with a circle? Did a color pattern always have to start with red?

He got the point, settled down, and got the answer. Crisis averted.

He went through several more, really enjoyed some of the shape ones I'd drawn, and then got to #9:

100, 91, 82, 73, ____, ____, ____


You'd have thought I was trying to kill him.


Never mind that he'd just successfully done one that went "15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 5." Nope. 100 was TOTALLY the wrong end.

It took him 15 minutes to climb down from the top of the curtains and speak in coherent sentences that didn't end in excessive exclamation points. When he realized that all he had to do was find the difference, he settled somewhat, but then he got things all flipped around and was trying to guess the blank without filling in the pattern number (i.e. 73-63=10, no that's wrong... 73-65=8, no that's wrong...), and nearly lost it again.

Oi and vey. I'm definitely glad we touched on the topic, and I'm sure next time will go better (I promised him the same bonus questions with big prizes for when he finally figures them out), but yikes. I had no idea he was going to consider this torture. This is the boy, after all, who spends entire afternoons going through his various collections and sorting them by type and who loves making dichotomous keys for fun. Clearly these activities are not similar in the boy's mind.

Tomorrow is measuring and graphing. Let's hope my curtains are spared.


Mom on the Verge said...

We all find cans of worms where we least expect them. At least you talked him down off the curtains without his having a total breakdown. Congratulations on that.

Beth said...

HAHHAHHAHHA We've done what for a lack of a better word "skip counting" the +2, +3 +4 +5's with Abby and the +2 and +5 and +10's with Mattie. They both did one forward and starting from almost ANY number. Mattie did great going backwards. Abby's mind exploded if we didn't start evenly..