Race Car Math

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Toby has been enthralled with race cars lately.  It may be partly because he got a number of them as gifts.   Whatever the reason, I thought we could take advantage of his enthusiasm and work on his math skills.  Especially since he was having difficulty differentiating between pairs and single items when counting the number of matches in our photo memory game.

So, I told Toby to gather up some race cars so we could do an activity. He was thrilled.

There was no set lesson plan, but I knew I wanted to work on addition and subtraction with the cars as a visual.  So I’ll tekk you what we ended up doing, and then share some pictures to show you what our race car math activity actually looked like.

Race Car Math
We used race cars for a visual aid with simple addition and subtraction.

Race Car Math Activities

So, what did we do? A lot of things! These mini activities were spur of the moment, prompted by the questions Toby asked, as well as the opportunities that I saw arise.

  • We Weighed Race Cars – Toby practiced reading and writing numbers.  We spent quite a bit of time talking about which cars were heavier and might therefore go faster.
  • We Grouped Race Cars – Next, we made piles and groups of cars so that we could examine which piles were bigger.  We made three piles and used words to describe them (big, bigger, biggest …small, smaller, smallest).  Toby also counted the cars in each group so we could learn which numbers were highest and lowest.
  • We Added and Subtracted Race Cars – To familiarize Toby with the concepts of addition and subtraction, I changed up the number of cars in the pile; we recounted and he discovered the difference.  He had fun with this!
  • We Paired Race Cars – As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to reinforce how to count pairs.  So, we spent time pairing up cars and then counting both the number of pairs …and the total number of cars.
  • We Raced Cars Down Ramps – Finally, it was time to see which of those cars were actually the fastest.  We raced the race cars on a small ramp, then on a big ramp.  Toby had the most fun with this activity. We experimented with different angled slopes, and at what point the cars couldn’t actually roll down the ramp.

Race Cars + Math = Fun!

I love turning everyday play into teachable moments like these.  It doesn’t take any prep work or planning.  Now, take a peek at the images below to see what our race car math morning looked like!

Click on any image below to enter gallery view mode.

A-Z STEM SeriesThis post is part of the A-Z STEM Series (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for Kids.

Throughout January, many wonderful bloggers are working their way through the alphabet of great kids STEM activities perfect for home or school.

These kids STEM activities will be specifically geared for preschool through early elementary ages. Each letter of the alphabet will be represented with a different STEM activity for science, technology, engineering, and math.

By the end of the month, you will have an amazing resource to use with your students and/or children!

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