Great Gift for a Math Dad
Before school let out for the summer, every student in Eli’s class made a Father’s Day gift for their dads. When I arrived home today, I found my gift in a lunch bag with the following note stapled to it:
(Eli signed his name. The rest of the note was written by his teacher as Eli dictated the message.)
Truth be known, Eli and Alex never win because I let them win. Sure, I may occasionally misplay a turn, but I don’t just tank an entire game on purpose. (On the flip side, I never deliberately cheat just to beat them, either, even though I could totally get away with it.) Primarily, I think kids know when you’re letting them win, and I believe it sends the message that you think they’re not capable of winning on their own. I also agree with psychologist Sara Diemerman who says, “There’s nothing like winning fair and square to make a kid feel terrific.”
I recently did a Game Night for the Northern Virginia Math Teachers Circle. During that meeting, participants played the following game:
Player A chooses an integer from 2 to 9 inclusive. Then Player B multiplies Player A’s number by any integer from 2 to 9, then Player A multiplies the result by any integer from 2 to 9, and so on. The first player to get a result greater than 1000 wins.
Have fun figuring out the winning strategy for that game.
As part of our Father’s Day activities, I plan to teach this game to Eli and Alex. But they’re going to have to earn their victories.