# Math Circle Valentine’s Party (Age 6 and 8)

## The Activities

1. Topic: Addition, Subtraction, Charts: Party Plans: Math Concept Reader, by Harcourt School Publishers. Kids use math to plan a 100th day of school party. It’s a pretty dry book, but the kids were still interested in solving the simple math problems.
2. Topic: Codes. Secret Valentine’s Buddies. The two circles worked together this week. Each kid randomly picked a kid from the other circle, and made them a Valentine that contained a coded message, using a simple letter to number code. Then the kids exchange cards and if they can decode the message they get a small present chosen by their buddy.

## How did it go?

My daughter was very excited to have a Valentines party so she decorated our house. 🙂

We only had 6 kids total this week, three from each circle. They were excited to read the book together. The older kids were especially excited to show off they addition and subtraction skills.

Then we split up to work on the secret Valentines. I worked with the older kids who were quick and efficient, and decorated their cards nicely.  David worked with the younger kids, some of whom were quick, and some slow.  The older kids finished encoding their messages early, so I started teaching them an interesting math game involving factors, that we’ll follow up on in another circle.

A Valentine that contained a coded message.

Next we switched valentines. The younger kids got the key to the code, but the older kids had to decode their messages without the key. This was extra challenging because the coded messages were somewhat illegible.  It was hard to tell words apart, and also where the number breaks were: 2, 24  or 22, 4 or 2, 2, 4.  We focused on the most legible letter, and were able to decode most of it: I Love You _o _u__  Be My Valentine. We figured out the last two words as we were telling the little kids.  We saved the other two messages for next week. It should be easier now that we know some of the number – letter pairs.

A message from an older kid, decoded by a younger one.

We intentionally used two different number to letter codes this week so the older kids would have to work harder. However, it turned out that I was 12 in both codes, the older kids kept expecting to find more overlapping letters, even though I kept saying the codes were different.

We ended circle with chocolate covered strawberries that my daughter and I made.