Out of the mouths of babes

It’s time to measure angles in Singapore math, and Andrew needed a protractor.  I though one would find such things in the pencils and rulers area at Wal-Mart, but not so.  Protractors are located with the crayons and art supplies.

Singaporean students must use mini protractors (4″ long at the base and solid, as opposed to the 6″ cutout American version) because the lines of all the angles in the book that Andrew needed to measure were way too short to reach the markings on the protractors we had around here.  I’m handing down our used math textbooks to another mom, so I really didn’t want to write in the book and extend all the lines.  At Wal-Mart, the only protractor I could find with degree markings on the inside edge of the cut out (which the book lines were long enough to reach as printed) came in a pouch with a matching compass.  That was okay.  He’d need a compass someday, too.

I put the packet on his desk and the next day he attacked angle measurements with a gusto.  That evening, out of the blue, he asked me a funny question.  Almost all of Andrew’s comments and questions have nothing to do with whatever is occuring at the time.  He’s very “stream of consciousness.”

“Mom, what’s that thing with the pencil and the dead pen that won’t write for?”

“Huh?  Do what?”

“You know, that orange thing that matches my protractor.  It has a little bitty pencil in it, but the pen won’t write at all.  I think it needs to be thrown out.”

“Ohhhhh!  THAT thing.  It’s called a compass, and it’s used to draw circles of various sizes.”

“Well, the pencil will work, but they gave us a dead pen.”

“That’s not a pen.  It’s a point that marks the middle of a circle.  When you need to use it for math, I’ll show you how it works.”

I thought the “dead pen” description was pretty unique.


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