“How many math concepts could you teach using just the objects on this table?”
The question came from my brother. We had just finished eating dinner, and I was brainstorming with him about some decisions I needed to make regarding the layout and content of Unveiling Math.
I looked at the objects on the table—our leftover food and an assortment of dirty dishes. These were hardly objects one would ordinarily think to use to teach math concepts.
Yet as I began to answer the question, I realized that one could really teach nearly every math concept using just the items on that table. Addition, a method of recording the way God causes objects to add together can be demonstrated by “adding” the forks or cups on the table! Subtraction, multiplication, and division could be taught in a similar fashion by subtracting, multiplying (adding in sets), or dividing (splitting up) the silverware or plates. Fractions could be presented as one way of recording partial quantities by cutting up the left over food and demonstrating how each part could be represented. Decimals would follow in a similar line. The table itself presented the perfect springboard for presenting shapes and geometry. Since algebra is just a way of generalizing about quantities, we could really use an a or an x to represent the various objects on the table—or about the height of the table. Economics and statistics, as well as linear graphing and calculus, would come into play if we began to talk about the process of growing the food and selling it to the restaurant…
I finally had to stop myself in amazement. Who would have thought that just a simple dinner table could prove the perfect classroom?