This activity deals exclusively with mathematics. While most wouldn’t consider this a true STEM activity, I would argue that mathematics is the language of ALL things STEM and is therefore worthy of having this post dedicated to it.
Math as the language of science is a concept that links back to Galileo and is the reason why technology works, because the physical world obeys regular mathematical rules independent of any human belief system. Scientific concepts are interconnected by the rules of mathematics. Math teaches logic and order. You can expect a mathematical equation to have a predictable outcome, and precise steps must be followed in order to attain that result. The discipline of mind that children develop in math class can carry over into everyday life. Companies know this, as some businesses will hire math majors based on the presumption that students who are good at math have learned how to think.
These games are most beneficial for Daisy – Junior age groups with slight modifications for each depending on skill level.
’Round the Block
- A ball of some kind (you can even use the inflatable globe from “Global Probability”)
In this game your girls will stand in a square. Give one of them a ball and a math challenge that requires a list of responses, such as counting by twos up to a certain number, or naming shapes that have right angles, or even naming all the prime numbers up to 49. Before the student answers, she passes the ball to the person next to her. The girls will then pass the ball around the square as quickly as they can, and our contestant must give the complete answer before the ball comes back to her.
Seventy percent of Earth is covered with water. We can test this statistic by having the girls stand in a circle and toss an inflatable globe to one another. When a girl catches the globe, you will record whether her left thumb is touching land or water. That girl then tosses the ball to a troop mate and then sits down. Once everyone is seated, determine the ratio* of the number of times students’ thumbs touched water to the number of times they touched land. (Over time, the ratio should be fairly close to 7 to 3, or 70 percent.)
*Note: A percentage is a way of expressing a proportion, ratio, or a fraction as a whole number.
Divide the girls into teams of two and hand them a pencil and paper. Give them five minutes to walk around the room they’re in jot down three items in the room whose length they predict will add up to one meter. Then give them five minutes to measure the items and record their lengths and add them together. Have the teams report their results. Which group came closest to one meter?
- (2)6 sided; or (1)-9 sided Die pieces
- Number builders sheet (4-9 digits long; see example)
Give each pair of students a die with six to nine sides. Nine sided dice are kind of expensive. The way I solved the problem was to purchase normal 6 sided dice and paper reinforcers. On one of the dice I covered the numbers 4, 5, and 6 with the paper reinforcers and colored them in. These sides now represent the number zero. Now they will roll their set of dice and add the numbers together (the total equaling a number 1-9)
Before playing, decide if the highest or lowest number will win. Have them set up blanks for the digits in a number (You can do this for them ahead of time, or the girls can hand draw their boxes. Their numbers should be the same length, from four to nine digits long. )
The girls will take turns rolling the die and filling in blanks. Once a number has been written, it cannot be changed. Roll until all blanks are filled, and then compare the numbers. If time permits, have the girls subtract to find the difference between their numbers.