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A Present for the Whole Family—A Thermometer!

What’s the temperature outside?

Want a present that the whole family can enjoy? Buy an outside thermometer! It’s a great way to use real-life math.

Place the thermometer in a place that your child can easily see it. Teach them how to read it. Show them how you look at the top of the red line and move your finger over to see what the temperature is. If there are numbers on both sides, talk about Celsius and Fahrenheit, and explain which system meteorologists usually refer to.

Go to the Weather Channel Kids! website. You can type in your zip code and see a two-day forecast. Will it be hotter or colder tomorrow than it is today? Is the temperature on the website’s forecast the same as it is in your backyard? (Then type in grandma’s zip code in Florida to see what the weather is like for her today.)

An experiment with the thermometer

Try some experiments with a kitchen thermometer and water. Fill three different cups with water. In one, just have lukewarm water. In the second, add ice. Heat the third cup up on in the microwave (watch that it doesn’t get too hot for little hands!). Under your supervision, have your child find the temperature of each cup of water and record it. Show them how to write the temperature correctly.

The more you use the thermometer, the more the numbers on it will mean something to your child.

What other ideas do you have for math-related presents that the whole family can enjoy? We’d love to hear about them!