Nighttime Math Talk #3


My husband tucked the 4-year-old into bed tonight and relayed this story:

“Oh, you’re going to like this, Pam. He asked if twenty-ten was a real number.”

“Well, what  did you say?” (Do you sense the wariness in my question? No doubt Husband did.)

“I told him it was, of course. Twenty-ten is a year. 2010. Two-thousand ten.”

“Did the kid accept your answer?”

“Of course not. He said ‘NO, DADDY. I am talking about this…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 20-10.”

This conversation reminded me of our last nighttime math talk, and I thought that was so cool that it took me a minute to remember to ask the next question…

“And?? What did you say?” (Again, wariness.)

“I told him that we don’t usually say twenty-ten. We say thirty. And I couldn’t really explain why, because it certainly does make sense to say twenty-ten. But I told him someone made the decision at some point that we would call it thirty, and so we do. And then I told him that I would tell YOU he had asked, because no doubt it would make you very happy.”

“Stellar. Nice work, Husband.”

(Mathematically…what a treat to hear evidence that the 4-year-old’s mind is chugging away trying to figure out how numbers work! Even better that his father is answering these questions, too, because I really never would have thought to connect twenty-ten to 2010. And, I’m also now thinking that I’ll point out numbers from other languages that DO follow his thinking pattern, like dix-sept and dix-huit.)


2 thoughts on “Nighttime Math Talk #3

Add yours

  1. Doesn’t it seem like we should just say the number of tens and then the number for ones. For instance 32 would be ‘3 tens 2’ and 45 would be ‘4 tens 5’.


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