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Exploring Number in Charlotte's Web Review by Jennifer Bowen

Home Made Math

Enjoy hands-on engaging activities while exploring mathematics with Exploring Number in Charlotte’s Web, a digital resource, by Home Made Math.

Home Made Math began when Becky saw the need for inspirational math activities that can be completed at home or on the go. Exploring Number in Charlotte’s Web is just one of a few mathematical units that the author, Becky, has created. She enjoys Math and hopes that your children will too!

Exploring Number in Charlotte’s Web is a forty-nine-page intermediate mathematical unit geared towards children in second, third, and fourth grades (ages 7-10). If you have a child or children in kindergarten and first grade activities are easily adaptable to include the younger children.

Activities in Exploring Number in Charlotte’s Web are open-ended, hands-on activities for children to explore mathematical concepts and get them thinking critically. This unit is not designed to replace your curriculum but to complement your studies using quality literature.

The digital download contains four PDF files that include the math unit, a printable game, a printable thermometer, and an assessment sheet. You will need to purchase or borrow a copy of the book ‘Charlotte’s Web’ as well as purchase any supplies needed to complete the activities. Materials for all activities are found around the house or can be found for less than ten United States Dollars. Two of the supplies, the thermometer and the game, are provided as printable PDF’s.

As you read the book ‘Charlotte’s Web’, Exploring Number in Charlotte’s Web has activities that correspond to chapters four, six, twelve, thirteen, fifteen, and sixteen. Activities include learning number lines using a thermometer, number play and patterns, multiplication and division, a word problem, measurement and scale, as well as direction and area. There are multiple ways to explore and complete the goals of the activities.

Also included with the unit is a page that contains the aim of the activity, an outline of what you will be doing, skills that will be worked on, materials needed, key language, and an advanced pathway (suggestions for nine and ten-year-old children).

Following the activity pages, Home Made Math includes links to ACARA, The Australian Curriculum. This information includes information on how the activities line up to the curriculum for second, third, and fourth grades.

Home Made Math also includes a suggested daily schedule for reading the book as well as completing the activities in the unit. A language guide with explanations of mathematical terms that are easy for young children to understand is also included, followed by a shopping list for all the activities.

The included assessment PDF has a skills checklist for each activity.

Children do not have to successfully achieve every skill listed in the assessment, nor do you need to use the checklist to complete the unit. The assessment is merely a tool for you as the parent to see where the child is at and how they are progressing.

The majority of the time it was just myself and my three oldest girls who are nine, eight, and seven reading the book and completing the activities together. The youngest two, five and four, occasionally joined us. We followed the suggested schedule and it was easy to add it to our current schedule. While activities are teacher involved, I found the activities easy to complete and enjoyed getting to do the activities together with the kids.

One of my favorite activities was writing messages using graph paper. The girls had to figure out the hidden message from listening to verbal directions that were given to them. After we were through with the words provided in the activity, the girls wanted me to come up with some additional words for them to figure out.

The girl’s favorite activity, and also one of mine, was the ‘How Many Geese?’ game. The game consisted of listening to the honker honk a specific number of times and try to figure out how many geese there were by dividing the number of honks by three. As a suggestion in the unit, we changed the game up by making different animal sounds. Then we adapted the game to only count the number of sounds made so my four and five-year-olds could participate. This game kept everyone laughing!

If you are looking for some fun activities to go along with reading the book ‘Charlotte’s Web’, I highly recommend checking out Exploring Number in Charlotte’s Web by Math Made Easy.

- Product review by Jennifer Bowen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2018