What Is 1 Centimetre?

Jotter Book

How do you like this page in my son’s jotter book?  It was a doodle produced during a continuous conversation about Length, a story I wrote about in Chapter 10 of Fun-filled Math Conversations With Your Child. You can see how much I enjoyed doodling and how much he disliked colouring. It was important that I taught him to translate the information floating inside his head into a readable and writable form on paper so that others can understand him.  This is called literacy.  Exams are paper-based after all.

The process went like this:

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The Real Life Challenge

Math in Real Life

 The Ministry Of Education writes in its Mathematics Syllabus for primary education, about their goal to raise students who understand math in real life.  It is a good objective, but I wonder how they expect their teachers to carry that out when a large part of real life takes place outside the classroom.  Multiply that problem across a class of 40 students, with each having his own unique “real life” experiences, and you will understand how difficult that task is. Is it possible for even the best math teacher to engage all her students in real life math within the limited periods of Math lessons?  What is math in “real life” in the first place?

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60 seconds

Playground Time
Playground time

It will take only a minute to teach your child that 60 seconds makes one minute.

“We’ll be there in one minute, shall we count to sixty together?  One, two, three,……”

And don’t worry, he will eventually learn to tell the time out of pure necessity, even if you forget to teach him to read the clock.  Just place an analogue clock in front of him, and make sure it is working properly and has a battery inside. Better still if you can draw him a clock face showing his favourite time of the day and stick it next to the real clock.  Kids are clever, they get it.

Do you have a minute to spare your child?

Facing My Dark Side

Facing My Dark Side
Facing My Dark Side

I named my first hamsters Bo Bo and Cha Cha, after my favourite dessert.  Cha Cha died at his 1 month old birthday party after being dropped from a height of 1.5 metres.  I grieved and cried for days over the loss of a loved pet. I was fifteen then.

Bo Bo lived on to have many babies with male hamsters that I borrowed from my friends.  The population in my little cage grew and I had lots of fun with that project.  Eventually, I grew lazy and got distracted with other interests, neglecting my little darlings despite constant reminders from my mom.

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Adapting To A New Body

Growing up, I recall one strange day when I crashed my head into a low hanging horizontal beam of the block of flat where I lived.  I’ve run below that beam a thousand times with no problem, until that day.  It wasn’t obvious to me that I had grown taller.

As a mom of 2 boisterious little boys, I used to grab them by the arms when they misbehaved.  They would struggle to free themselves of my hold, but I was strong enough to overpower them.  But one strange day, the same struggle with the elder son resulted in me being knocked over.  It wasn’t obvious to him that he had grown bigger and stronger. The same happened with my younger son.

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The Trouble With Empathy


The lion chases a bunny.  It hasn’t eaten for days.  It is hungry.

Case 1:  If you’ve just watched The Lion King, you’ll empathise with the lion.  You don’t like the feeling of hunger too.  The nameless bunny is food!

Case 2:  If you’ve just watched Peter Rabbit, you’ll want the bunny to escape because you empathise with it.  It doesn’t deserve to die.  The lion can go hungry, you don’t care.

Case 3:  Bunnies are cute and cuddly pets.  You won’t know how anyone could hate them until you see a field full of wild bunnies.  After that, you will better empathise with the farmer who want them dead because bunnies burrow his land and damage his crop.  The poor farmer has a family to feed. His children don’t deserve to go hungry.

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