Count on Pascal (Age 8)

The Activities

1. Topic: Mathematicians, Pascal’s Triangle, Geometry. Book: Mathematicians Are People, Too, by Reimer. Chapter: “Count on Pascal”.
2. Topic: Protractors, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals. We used rulers to each draw triangles. Then we measured each angle, and added them together. Next we tried out quadrilaterals and pentagons.
3. Topic: Pascal’s Triangle. The kids filled in Pascal’s Triangle as far as they could go.

How did it go?

We had only three kids this week, which is usually very easy to manage. However, this week my daughter was in a very bad mood, and had to be sent out of circle during the story. The other two kids were a bit distracted by her, but did a pretty good job overall.

Count on Pascal

This was the first time I’ve read Mathmeticians Are People, Too. David’s read several chapters in past circles. I skipped a couple pages to keep the chapter shorter, but even so, the kids attention drifted. My daughter kept banging on the table and complaining about wanting a different book…she actually had to be sent out during the story which has never happened before.

The content of the chapter was pretty good, it discussed Pascal’s triangle, and his life. Unlike the ancient mathematicians, Pascal was not murdered for learning the dark arts of mathematics. By 1650, the world was a bit more prepared for math.

Geometry and Protractors

When Pascal was 12 he worked out a proof that the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. Our first activity this week was to use a ruler to draw triangles, and then measure each angle and add them up.  I’m not sure if any kids had used a protractor before. It was a bit tricky to use because you have to orient the protractor correctly or you’ll get the inverse angle measurement.  With help from me, everyone measured and added their angles. We got between 170 and 185 for the sum.

Next we all drew quadrilaterals and measured and added the angles. This all took awhile because it required precision and help. At this point my daughter was tired of angles but the other two wanted to try pentagons.  So I let them continue and had my daughter work on Pascal’s Triangle.

Pascal’s Triangle

My daughter wrote down the first 10 rows of Pascal’s triangle pretty quickly, with no help from me. Eventually one of the other kids also started this activity, but their triangle wasn’t quite correct because they had missed a few of the numbers.