Wall Ball is currently THE game to play at recess if you are a 2nd grade boy. Or maybe just if you’re my 2nd grade boy. It is a welcome change from the Pokemon card trading that was popular at the beginning of the school year. Surprisingly, both wall ball and Pokemon trading can connect to math. Today, though, I will only focus on wall ball. I’m still trying to figure out Pokemon!
I have to be sneaky when I ask my son about school. General questions fall flat.
“How was school today?”
I learned early on to ask random yet strategic questions.
“Did you enjoy the frog legs I packed for snack?”
“I thought what Bobby did in music class today was so weird. What did you think?”
I usually get a response that has some meat to it, some information I can use. At the very least, I get a giggle. And I’ll take a giggle over “eh” any day.
It also helps that I have spies at school. The recess monitor is my neighbor. She told me that the 8-year-old is really good at wall ball. So, to spur a conversation related to school, I recently asked the kid, “Word is out that you rock wall ball at recess. What makes you so good?”
First, the kid beams. A big goofy grin. A precious unguarded moment.
Next, the kids responds.
“Oh, yeah, I’m good because I know the ball will come off the wall at the same angle that I throw it.”
What?!?! (This word, with it’s following punctuation marks, appears so frequently in my posts about my kids, I need a special key stroke that automatically inserts it.)
“How do you KNOW that????”
“C’mon, Mom. You know. That Donald Duck thing you make me watch.”
Yes. Donald in Mathmagic Land. (The particular piece of info that the kid retained starts at about 16:50 in the video.) Thank you, Disney. So, once again, I will tell you…the kids are soaking up information and even USING it. You can strategically choose screen time options that download quality information. Sprinkle it in amongst the options they think they prefer (in my house they currently beg for Pink Panther, which is cool, and LEGO Nextera Knights, which is not.)
(Mathematically…what the kid learned is the same concept that may make him a pool shark someday. Given a smooth wall, the angle at which the ball hits the wall will be the same angle at which the ball leaves the wall. This information is going to stick with him not because he watched the video, but because he has experienced the truth of it firsthand in wall ball. No doubt he had plenty of experience rolling balls against walls as a toddler, and he has knocked around on a pool table before. The information he heard in the video had relevance and so it sticks with him. And, frankly, the video is just the icing on top…the learning is really in the experience of the game and the observations the kid makes about what works and what doesn’t.)