Saturday, March 9, 2013

Of Buckets

We are in the mountains this weekend with Matt's mom and brother. It was a very quiet day today. Highlights were: Staying in bed until 11am while Betty tended our children, playing boardgames, inspecting a mudslide that has buried one of the mountain roads, and washing rich brown mud off of two dogs.

Mudslide or landslide? I don't know the difference.
Hank can somehow read now and that has expanded his game access.
During an afternoon hot tub with the kids, they asked Matt to give them riddles and puzzles. This is one of their favorite things. He came up with a set of questions that everyone had fun with, and I thought you might like to use them with your littler people.

He started by telling the kids that they had two buckets, a five-gallon and a three-gallon, and they were standing on the shore of a lake with unlimited access to water. They must come up with exactly two gallons. How to do it?

After some cogitation and false starts--Laura wanted to just eyeball the amounts of water in the buckets, Hank wanted to go get two gallons of milk and compare--even Hank realized that five minus three is two, and that you fill the five-gallon, pour as much as will go into the three-gallon, and you are left with a certain two-gallons of water.

One of the ground rules was that Hank was allowed to guess and think aloud, but Laura couldn't speak up until she was exactly sure of the correct answer. When she broke this rule, Matt ordered her to get out of the hot tub and run a lap around the house. Hank was then like, "Can I run a lap?" and wanted to use the physical challenge as an escape from thinking about the problems. Eventually we let him run a lap too, because why would I prevent a child from running around outside in a wet bathing suit on a winter day?

With that basic bucket puzzle theme established, with the five and the three-gallon buckets, Matt built up to asking them how to get one gallon, how to get seven gallons, etc.

I admit the seven gallons stumped me for a second. I have no ego in this area and I don't mind saying.

Play around with it, it's fun!

After the kids got out and went inside, we were like, "Yeah, those two are bright enough but I don't think they're exactly geniuses." I just have to trust that with their other strengths, they'll make their way in the world somehow.

That's the scene here today. What are y'all up to?


Star said...

Cool! Math as a *game*! That will be a really big help for them, as they work their way through school and life.

Elizabeth said...

You crack me up. Just today, my fourteen year old son Henry asked me an inane question, and when I answered it, I added, "OK, Sherlock?" He thought that was the funniest thing ever. I like to think that all the cool eighth graders will now use it in a sort of retro hipster way.

Amy said...

Um, Hank is smarter than me.

Life on The Rowland Ranch said...

Yep. Me too.

Camp Papa said...

Not geniuses??? You haven't been around enough kids. Those two will bring to bear more creative, applied, and productive intelligence in the field of human endeavor than 97.5% of their generation. And that's not just their grandfather speaking.

Veronica said...

I love hearing stories about Matt's games and challenges with the kids.

Tom Nicholas said...

Not to mention some crudely made bow and arrows...this Leprechaun sees everything....