As part of homeschooling, I’ve been trying to integrate math into our everyday activities, as opposed to just doing workbooks. The kids got this awesome new car ramp as a birthday present and have been playing with it nonstop. One of the challenges with homeschooling is that there are tons of distractions at home and this new toy is one of them. I really wanted my six-year-old to work on some math skills and instead of prying him away from his new toy, I decided that we could turn this into to our homeschool math project for the day.
I got out a tape measure and a piece of paper and asked him to record the distance that each car traveled when it launched off the ramp. He did this for 10 or so cars.
Then we got out a piece of graph paper, I actually got this one from Teachers Pay Teachers, and charted it out. The first step was to determine the distance increments for the Y-axis. Noah and I both thought this should be 5, so we counted by 5’s to 100 and noted that on the axis. The next step was to register the distance traveled by each car on the X-axis.
Expanding on this project
To expand on this math project, I can have him color code by the person who launched the car. If it was my car, it could be red, his could be blue and so on. We could also get more specific with distance, including 1/2 and 1/4 inch increments and work on fractions.
We can also measure in reverse. The tape measure is 60 inches long. He can subtract the distance measured from 60” to see how far it traveled, or add up all of the numbers to get the total distance for all the cars.
Since this was our first time making a graph, I wanted to keep it simple, but he was so excited when he realized that the didn’t have to stop what he was doing to do schoolwork, we could do both at the same time.