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April 2008


Everybody needs math!

Last month we invited parents to help their kids imagine what they want to be someday by entering the DreamBox “Dream Big” video contest*. We’re delighted by the response — we’ve seen geologists, teachers, and race car drivers, and even butterflies, pirates, and a Jedi! That got us thinking about how to help kids develop these wonderful visions, and foster a sense for the importance of math in achieving them.

We all know everybody needs math! But how can parents help kids envision why math is important in helping bring their dream for the future to life? We have a few ideas, and while there’s no way to address every child’s dream, most kids will find some math fun here that sparks their interest!

Math activities for future astronauts

  • Visit “NASA Kids Club” to play skill games, solve puzzles, and even sign up to include your name on a microchip that will go to Mars in 2011!
  • Astronaut math challenge: How fast does a space capsule fly? Figure out the distance from Earth to Mars, then how long it would take to travel there.
  • Find a space flight simulator game and experience virtual flying! (There are many available; some are free, some are for sale, and many will require help from a parent. Here’s a list of games on the market.)

Math activities for future musicians

  • Music is rich with opportunities for math learning because it’s made up of mathematical principles, like rhythm (beats per measure), tempo (beats per minute), and sound waves where frequency (number of times per second the wave hits our ear) determines pitch.
  • Learn about pitch through experimentation. Fill similar glasses with different amounts of water, then tap them with a metal spoon. Why is the sound of each a different pitch? (Have a water concert — here’s how!)

Math activities for future paleontologists

  • Find a good description of the sizes of different dinosaurs, then name the smallest and largest ones you can find. Use mental math to figure out the difference between them. (Here’s a “Dino-database” where kids can listen to descriptions of 20 different dinosaurs.)
  • Dino math challenge:: If a dinosaur lived in the middle of the Jurassic period, about how many years ago did he die? (Here’s a good place to find out.)

Math activities for future doctors

  • Every few months, measure your height and weight and figure out how much you’ve grown.
  • One of the best ways to develop an interest in medicine is to learn more about our bodies. Here’s a cool site with tons of fun facts (How many hairs are on our heads? Why are 2 eyes better than 1?). Or, learn what happens to swallowed gum, how much blood we have in our body, or which part of the body has the most bones?

Math activities for future geologists

  • Collecting and studying rocks is a great opportunity for sorting and categorization. Or, now that it’s fall, try it with leaves or other natural objects.
  • Grapple with the concept of a relative scale by learning about Moh’s scale of relative hardness. A diamond is a 10, the most scratch resistant mineral, but a penny is about a 3. Where does your fingernail fall on the list?
  • Find a natural history museum in your area and take a family field trip. Most have programs that will open kids’ eyes and feed their interests — whether it’s rocks, frogs, or dinosaurs. Here’s a great list of many museums in the US.

Now that we’ve got you thinking — want more ideas? Read “7 Dream Jobs that Require Math” on the DreamBox blog.

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* Any family or teacher can enter a video to win $1,000 or DreamBox subscriptions! Click here to learn more.

Parent Tip: Celebrate Pumpkin Math with the October Activity Calendar

The October math activity calendar helps you make math fun all month long! Start the month with “Name Your Car Day,” avoid zippers on “Count Your Buttons Day,” and dress up like a famous mathematician on Halloween! Download the calendar here!

Find more parent tips at

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Did you know?

When your kids dream big, you could win $1,000 or FREE DreamBox subscriptions!

Imagining what you want to be when you grow up is a powerful motivator for learning. Shoot a short video of your kids talking about what they want to be when they grow up. Then enter the DreamBox “Dream Big” video contest. See how easy it is to enter — and what you could win! Click here!

Tell your kids’ teachers about free DreamBox Teacher Tools!

Because at DreamBox we’re dedicated to bringing math to life for all students, we have created free Teacher Tools — virtual manipulatives that teachers can use in large- or small-group instructional settings. Teachers can use these math tools — tenframes, mathracks, and other innovative tools — with an interactive white board or projector to make math lessons clear for the whole class. Click here to forward this article to your child’s teacher.

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DreamBox has been awarded more top parenting and education honors

The number of awards won by DreamBox Learning K-2 Math continues to grow — we’ve won 14 awards in the last 6 months! Most recently DreamBox was named the winner of the 2009 “EDDIE”, the Education Software Review Award for Early Elementary Math Website. Other honors in recent months include the prestigious AEP 2009 Golden Lamp, the AEP 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award, and the Parent’s Choice Gold Award. Click here to read more about our latest awards!

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