Three Small Bowls, Ten Beans, and a Little Curiosity

This week I’ve got a simple challenge for any of you with kids in about first to fifth grade.

Gather three small bowls and ten dry beans (or similar small round objects). And also a piece of paper and pencil.

Sit down nearby your child and begin to work on this problem:

“How many ways are there to arrange 10 beans among 3 bowls?”

After you’ve moved some beans around and thought a little bit about the problem, invite your child to join you. Share the problem with them and see if you can get them involved.

If you can, great, you can work together on the problem. If they don’t want to get involved, just keep working on the problem yourself, occasionally talking aloud about what you’re doing. 

Work on the problem when you are nearby your child and they can see and hear you. Don’t force them to participate. If they don’t want to join now, maybe they’ll join later. 

See if you can figure it out playing with the beans and bowls. Then see if you can figure it out with pencil and paper. Email me if you’d like to check your answer.

If your child joined you and helped out during the process, congratulations! It’s fun to work on problems like this with your kid. If your child never joined you, congratulations! They saw you working to solve an interesting problem. You planted some seeds.

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Three Small Bowls, Ten Beans, and a Little Curiosity