Using Bowling for Math

Regrouping is instrumental in children’s development of number sense.  It is the heart of understand numbers and how they work for all four operations.  Doing any kind of mental math requires one to have a good understanding of regrouping numbers as well, especially the number 10.  Always looking for different ways to approach and practice that skill, I jumped at the opportunity today when my six-year-old pulled out our bowling game.  As we set up pins, and she rolled the little balls across our carpet, I asked, “How many did you knock down? So how many does that leave on the ground? “On the next roll, I’d ask, “How many are left standing?  How many does that mean are knocked over? Yes, 10 is eight and two.”  Bowling doesn’t just have to be  for the number “10.” For a younger child one could start with three or six pins. In fact, it may be a better way to start with a smaller number and work your way up.

using bowling to practice regrouping 10 for homeschool math

Bowling is also a great opportunity to discuss triangle numbers, because, to state the obvious, the pins are lined up in a triangle.  These are fun patterns to look at 3, 6, and of course 10.  If you have more pins, you can grow your triangle and work on larger triangle numbers.  You can also point out the pattern of the triangle numbers: 1+2+3+4+5…

We used a bowling set today that someone gifted us, but it’s not necessary to go out and buy a toy bowling set.  You can use soda bottles and a ball for the same effect.  It might even be a better option as you can increase the number of pins you use.  Let me know in the comments if you decide to use bowling with your little one for math and how it turned out for you.

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