Did you know April is “Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month?” All month long, we celebrate the achievements made possible by math (like Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson, who made it possible for John Glenn to launch into orbit). April is also a springtime month that sends people outdoors! Most people probably think that math learning only happens in a textbook. Think outside of the planter box! We’re here to give you resources and ideas to bring outdoor fun to math. We’ve gathered a few math lesson plans to complement your math homeschool curriculum and get you enjoying the outdoors during springtime.
Rock sums. If there’s soil, there are bound to be rocks around. This math homeschool lesson uses pebbles from either your driveway or a nearby stream, or you can pick up rocks from a craft store if there aren’t many rocks around your house. Go outside with chalk to teach addition and subtraction. These rocks double as math manipulatives, which are a must-add to any math homeschool curriculum you’re using — and they make learning more fun!
Fire hose math practice. Using a water hose, your student can be a firefighter-in-training by “putting out” the right answer! This activity can be used with any math skill, whether it be multiplication or addition. Plus, your student will play with water — a win-win for all!
Multiplication hopscotch. Get outside and enjoy a timeless game with hopping and counting that just might bring you back to your childhood. All you’ll need is a rock, chalk, and boundless energy. Write down a set of multiples and have your student recite the equation as they skip-hop across the board. The moving and seeing ingrains the multiplication table into their heads. The best part? It’s simple enough to play alone or with friends. This fun math game is sure to bring the fun into your homeschool math curriculum and get you moving! Practice (skipping) makes perfect!
Measure nature. Get down and dirty with nature and math by measuring leaves, sticks, and tree trunks! Your student can practice measuring items using different tools, such as a ruler, measuring tape, or a scale. It’s a great way to introduce inches and centimeters, and the ways the measurements differ from one another. The usual homeschool math curriculum doesn’t have to be a bore; just step outside!
Find symmetry in nature Shapes and patterns exist everywhere in nature. Your student can look for objects with rotational symmetry, reflection symmetry, or objects that aren’t symmetrical. Take photos, and using a small mirror, determine if the nature object is symmetrical in some way. This is a great activity to do when you and your family go on a nature hike or walk.
Water balloon math As April fades into May, this math lesson plan is perfect for anyone who wants to get wet! All you’ll need is balloons, a permanent marker, and targets. Pick four numbers and write corresponding equations on the balloons. Then, stand back and watch your kids throw the water balloon at the correct target. We suggest you stand back if you don’t want to get wet! The activity will help develop motor and math skills at the same time while seamlessly fitting into your math homeschool curriculum.
Study outside. A great way to incorporate nature in math is actually doing your math homeschool curriculum and lessons outside. Using textbook curriculum you already have (like Life of Fred), your student can take in fresh air while studying outside. Taking learning outdoors doesn’t always mean ditching the textbook. Rather, studying outdoors can help improve concentration and reduce stress. So take a pencil, paper, and your trusty math homeschool curriculum, and head outdoors!
It’s waiting for you!
Math can and should be more than bookwork — it’s so much more, especially after a long winter! Nature has so much math exploration to offer! With this month being Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, you and your student can celebrate by using these unique outdoors math homeschool curriculum ideas. So go — nature’s waiting for you!