My son hates “explain your answer” on his homework assignments.
Our local public library has a summer reading incentive program. Children keep track of the amount of time they spend reading, and when they reach 20 hours they get a prize. Some of the prizes are good, including a ticket to the State Fair.
To keep track of their time, children get a chart. The chart has 20 individual hours, each represented by an icon. Half of these are circular, suggesting clocks, and half are sort of book shaped. Each icon is broken down into five minute intervals. We were driving home one June Sunday afternoon after picking up Griffin and Tabitha’s summer reading charts.
Me: Griff, each hour on your chart is broken up into 5-minute chunks, right?
Griffin (seven, nearly eight): Yup.
Me: So how many of those chunks are there in an hour?
G: (long pause) Sixteen.
Me: Why sixteen?
G: Well, I thought of 5 minutes like a nickel, and there’s 20 nickels in a dollar.
G: So I minused four, because it’s four less.
Me: Right. 60 cents is 4 tens less than 100 cents, though. So I think we need to…
G: (interrupting) Oh! RIght! So…it’s twelve. Twelve fives in an hour.
Me: That’s some really good thinking there, buddy. I wouldn’t have thought to do it that way.
Truer words were never spoken.
And if you keep at those little guys, they do come around. I won’t tell him that he just “explained his answer”.