During his shower yesterday evening, Benji was playing in the warm water (like you do) and when he came out, he said, “I invented a new fun number game! I can figure out what a number is from doing complicated steps.”

I wasn’t sure what this meant, but after some discussion, it turns out he’s basically engaging in some pre-algebra thinking. He has an unknown and knows what steps were done to find it, and thus can work backward to find the unknown number.

He tried to write down what he was talking about (left) and, after explaining it, I said, “Would you like me to show you how mathematicians write that?” Yes. So I did (right).

Stumbling into Algebra

When I wrote it down like that, he said, “Mommy, you thought of this all by yourself? You’re a GENIUS.” Why, thank you!

Now he wants to play with a lot more “complicated math,” as he puts it. I suspect it won’t be much longer before his “complicated math” is actually too complicated for me.

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