## Tuesday, January 1, 2013

### Holiday Math—Learning Over the Break

Happy New Year from Excel Math!

Welcome to the year 2013. Excel Math can help students stay on top of their math skills, even during the winter break. Some parents purchase the Excel Math Summer School Edition (at just \$6.95 per student) for review and practice over the break from school and to help students prepare for spring testing. (We start shipping again on January 2, 2013.)

Encourage your students to keep math going during the school break with everyday activities, too. Bake cookies as a family, but double the recipe. Plan a shopping list for the ingredients and set a budget. Now see how many supplies you already have on hand and subtract those items from the shopping list. Revise your budget and go shopping. Compare the actual amount spent to the budgeted amount.

Make a deposit at your bank but go inside and talk with the teller instead of using the ATM. Ask how much interest they offer for various accounts and certificates. Have the teller explain what it means when interest is compounded daily. Take home a list of available account options and as a family, calculate how much interest your deposit would make over the next year in each type of account.

If you have a car loan or a mortgage, explain how interest accrues and is paid on those accounts. Show how you have paid down the loan over the past year and how that reduction of principle also reduces the interest you are now paying.

Show your student a credit card bill and calculate how long it would take to pay it off if you paid just the minimum amount due each month (even if you didn't have to add interest).

Let your student calculate the tip after your next dinner out. Explain that doubling the tax can be an easy way to give a 12% - 15% tip. Multiplying 10% of the bill by two will give you the amount for a 20% tip. If you leave a larger amount when the check comes, calculate what your change should be.

When  you purchase an item, compare it to an equal item of a larger or smaller size. What is the cost per unit? Is it cheaper to purchase the larger size if you look at the per unit cost?

See how much you paid in taxes for the item. Have your student look up tax rates in different states or cities and calculate the taxes you would pay on that purchase if you lived in each of those places.

Divide a pie or a dozen cookies evenly to serve the number of people in your household. Then figure out how to divide them if five more people joined you (or ten more).

Here are a few more suggestions from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM):
http://www.nctm.org/resources/content.aspx?id=24049

Enjoy the new year and take this opportunity to brush up on your math skills.