Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week 6 Wrap-Up

I'm posting this late and in a hurry. The week went well even thought the weather was mostly between bad and horrible. Still, we somehow managed to have lots of playdates and lots of fun. And, once the weather finally got better, we even caught up on our outdoors adventures.

Monkey started regular writing practice this week. It's an uphill battle for now, especially since he gets so ambitious. For his first ever writing journal, he decided to write a story called Spy Kids Adventures in Minecraft. So far he's got two pages done, each with a sentence and a little xkcd-style drawing.

We started reading "Приключения Алисы в стране математики" (Alice's Adventure in the Math Land). Monkey doesn't know the original Alice in Wonderland story and wasn't very interested in the audio-CD. But, from what I understand, no prior knowledge is necessary to enjoy Alice's new adventure. In the first few pages, there's a little story about a knight and a 3-headed dragon. The knight chops the dragon's head off, but three more heads grow out.

I suggested we pretend-played this part with the Zome tools. So Monkey built a sword and I built a dragon (well, the neck and the three heads) and we got the epic battle started. Every time one head got "chopped off", I replaced it with three more necks and three heads. After a few attempt to circumvent the rule of chopping off just one head at a time, he said: "Ok, I need to build a better sword. It will be a fractal sword". Which was pretty cool, I thought.

Another cool memory from last week was playing the "black box" game. I would come up with a simple function and keep it secret from Monkey. He then would give me a number, I would apply the function, and tell him the result. His mission - to guess what function was inside "the black box".

The first function was adding 2 to whatever number. He figured it out very quickly, The next one was doubling. This too was done after 3-4 trials. We briefly discussed the idea of a variable, a symbol that is not a number, but can represent any number. The third "black box" was the hidden rule of a number getting subtracted from itself so that no matter the input, the output is always 0. Monkey thought a moment, then said "I'm going to put a number "x" into the black box". Which meant, of course, that I had to reveal my rule on the very first try. He was delighted.

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