Homeschooling on the Road-Real Life MathJun 24th, 2009 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Featured Articles, Homeschooling Road Trip 2009
It was on to Wyoming today as we tried to keep on schedule. We traveled the gorgeous Snowy Ridge Pass along the southeastern region of Wyoming, ending up in Saratoga. The drive was once again awe inspiring! Although we saw few animals, the views were breathtaking. At the top of the ridge, we encountered snowdrifts that were actually taller than we are.
We stayed the first night in Saratoga and spent the early morning in the natural hot springs there. It was quite interesting and very hot-the lobster pot pool (as they call it) was actually 120 degrees. None of us could bring ourselves to enter that one.
The second night we spent in Thermopolis where we once again visited a hot springs-this one with a small waterpark. In my opinion, it seems strange to race down a waterslide in water that must be close to 100 degrees, but the kids loved it. We also toured the Hot Springs State Park, where we learned about the mineral content in the hot springs, encountered a bull snake and enjoyed collecting some of the red dirt in an attempt to make a dye.
To make the drive less stressful for all of us (and useful), I found a way to incorporate math into our travels. After tiring of hearing the ever increasing, “Are we almost there?” questions, I decided to help them answer the questions themselves.
So, I first taught them how to look find distances on a map. Then, I assigned my eight year old the task of adding up the miles from place to place. She took to that with great enthusiasm and was incredibly accurate! (Not only was she learning map and geography skills, but also addition up to two digits.) Then, the older two had to calculate the percentage of the drive we had completed at various times (usually after the “Are we almost there?” question). Once calculated, they had to change that percent to a fraction. Not only did this give them the opportunity to use their math skills in real world applications, but it also quickly dispelled the “Are we there yet” line of questioning.
The only difficulty that came from this project is my 13 year old’s tendency to throw math questions at me all throughout the day. I guess I am getting a taste of my own medicine.
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