Spring has arrived! The azaleas are in full bloom, reminding me it’s time to head outside and do some planting.
While working in the garden, you have a wonderful opportunity to have your child apply those math concepts he’s been learning! Graphing, multiplication, addition, measurement, area, perimeter–these and other concepts prove helpful in the garden. Why? Because math is a way of describing God’s creation! We can use math in real life because God created man with the ability to “subdue the earth,” and because He faithfully holds all things together in a consistent fashion.
Kidsgardening.org offers an entire section filled with ideas for teaching math while gardening. While written for school teachers, most of the ideas can easily be adapted to a home setting. Be sure to take a look at page 2, which offers a variety of simple ideas on how different concepts apply (you may want to print this page to consult throughout the summer). The other pages offer more detailed ideas.
The suggestions offered, as well as others you might think of, could be used or adapted for a wide variety of ages–a young child can help you count the number of earthworms in a section of soil (or the number of seed packets you need/the number of seeds to plant in each hole, etc.), while an older one can start a plant business or calculate the surface area of leaves.
Don’t let the ideas limit you. Even if you aren’t planning on growing a vegetable garden, you can still have your child grow some plants indoors or on the patio and measure their growth–or design a pretend garden on paper.
Speaking of designing on paper, you may want to use graph paper, letting each square represent a foot. The graph paper should aid in visually seeing how much area each plant needs.
Lastly, here’s a page with handy math formulas. It explains how to find the area of your yard, the amount of mulch and fertilizer you’ll need to cover it, and more.
Hope you have fun using math in the garden! Please let me know how your gardening applications go.
After having her own view of math transformed, Katherine has been researching, writing, and speaking on a biblical worldview of math for more than a decade. Her books on math and a biblical worldview have been used by individuals, homeschool groups, and Christian schools and colleges, and she recently finished a junior high math curriculum. Receive her free Math from a Biblical Worldview e-mail course at mathisnotneutral.com