Thursday, January 6, 2011

Made Me a Math Bag!

I do not consider myself crafty. Or especially creative. Which makes me all the more proud of this:

Made entirely from scraps--including sections from two pairs of ragbag blue jeans--this "math bag" is designed to carry my junk AND provide game playing and math practice when we're on the go. One side of the bag has pockets in order, 1-9; the other side has the numbers 1-9, but mixed up. I'm guessing that my younger ds will get more use out of the ordered side while my older ds uses the mixed side. My daughter (crafty!) did the lettering and included symbols on each pocket in a pattern for the boys to decipher.

Here's a multiplication fact practice game from this morning:

I asked ds, 8, to select a times table to review. He chose 9. He then did 9x each pocket and "wrote" the answer on the pocket with milk cap math numbers.  As a side note (that probably deserves an entire post), I don't ask my kids to "drill and kill" to learn math facts. My son knows his multiplication facts from using visual models and manipulatives as well as from games like Mythmatical Battles. He knows them. And when/if he doesn't, he has many strategies for finding the answer because he understands what multiplication is. That's what I really care about.


I've found it helpful in my own life (especially in the grocery store!) to be able to use the facts that I know at a fairly fast rate. This isn't necessary; I know some great mathematicians who do not have the times tables memorized. But, for me, it's been helpful. So I give him opportunities to practice what he knows. This is a miniscule part of what we do in math. Very. But if it's fun and easy and take-along, I'm all for it. (BTW, milk caps weigh practically nothing to carry along in a bag like this.)

I have several other easy, take-along games in mind to post later.

This is what comes of a night alone, btw. On New Year's Eve, my 4yo ds went to bed, everyone else left for a church party, and I pretended I was a craft enthusiast. I'd really like to be one. Shhh. Don't tell. ;)

P.S. BTW, a WHOLE LOT of math went into making this bag!!! I didn't use a pattern and had to do a ton of measuring.

P.P.S. I'm glad I learned how to sew...back when "sewing" was still offered in high school course offerings. Shows you how old I am!

P.P.P.S. I've added a new label, "Make-It-Yourself Math" that I'll be adding to. For all you crafties!


  1. Wow, this is such a great idea! You make math just so relevant. What a wonderful way to learn math so much more naturally and integrated into life than learning about it at school.
    It would be amazing if you could find a way to move the numbers around from time to time, so nobody gets used to positions :-)
    (can you tell I don't know how to sow?)

  2. Cool! Make-it-yourself-Math as a category has a lot of potential! Can you find ways to get your kids in on the action to enhance/expand/enrich their math experience? (I'm a new reader of your blog so forgive me for any ignorance as to your methods! ;) Anyhow, I'll be curious what falls under your 'making' category, and present a friendly challenge to your assertion that you are not 'especially creative'!

  3. That is a great idea, thankx. I shared on my blog and linked to yours.

  4. Those look like fun a fun way to review.

  5. I agree. Make It Yourself Math deserves a blog of its own! Imagine if we pool our resources, talents, etc. to use math to save the environment! I'm not crafty but it might inspire me to become one!

  6. Love the bag, and the approach to math. I do agree, that it can be handy to be able to quickly pull up math facts from time to time, but also that having a deeper understanding of what is happening is very important.

  7. The pockets look as though they are made of regular fabric. If they are regular fabric how can you see the milk caps? If there is a clear pocket what did you use to make the pocket?

  8. Thanks for all the kind comments!

    @ Fairion...the pockets are regular fabric. I purposely left space below the numbers so you'd have room to set milk caps on top. The pockets will be used for other come. ;)

  9. Wow. Dual purpose tote and learning tool. Smart and very, very crafty.

  10. wow. you may not be crafty, but you sure are crafty to lure your kids into math like this... ;)


    amy in peru


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