A recent trip reminded me of one practical way math serves as a useful tool–money conversion. On our trip, we saw prices listed in dollars, pounds, euros, forrents, and marks–and needed to use some quick math to figure out how much we were really spending : ). We employed addition, subtraction, division, and round/estimating at various times throughout the trip.
As you study different cultures in history, consider having your child learn about their money systems too. Simply search the Internet for “money” and the country’s name. You should be able to find some pictures and descriptions of the money in that country. Then search for exchange rates and see how the money compares to American money.
If your child is young and just getting used to American money and math facts, you could simply show your child the pictures of the money, explaining that different countries use different money systems just like they use different languages, and that math helps us compare prices. If your child is proficient with math, you could actually have your child pretend to go shopping in the foreign country and figure out how much something marked in that country’s currency would cost in American dollars. You could even set up a pretend shop!
Math is truly a useful tool!