Bedtime Math is a Mathematics story based resource for parents and children that is aimed to foster parent/child interactions around Mathematics in the home. The resource has been developed by the Bedtime Math Foundation (a non profit making organisation funded by private donations) founded by Laura Bilodeau Overdeck. Laura aims to make Maths as playful for today’s children as it was for her when she was a child. In her own childhood, Laura’s mam had her baking while still in nappies and her dad had her using power tools measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process.
The Bedtime Math website publishes a nightly math five minute story for parents to read to their children at home. The story is followed by some mathematics riddles based around the story at different levels. Last night’s story was based around counting the stars and included interesting facts about 14 year old Caroline Moore finding an exploding star that had never been spotted before. Each story is followed by some Mathematics riddles or problems at different levels –
wee ones – preschool children
little kids – infants to first or second class,
big kids – second or third class up
the sky’s the limit – older children, adults etc.
Parents can sign up to have a Math Story and problem e-mailed to them daily
using the “Sign Up” link on http://www.bedtimemath.org or by e-mailing email@example.com. Alternatively, if you have an Apple IOS or Google Android smartphone or tablet one can download the Bedtime Math free app to your device from the relevant store. Minimum device specifications are IOS Version 7 and Android Version 2.3.3
Bedtime Maths have very specific guidelines for teachers, educators and schools. Schools, teachers and educators are invited to join their movement and show kids that math can be fun outside of school. They are also specifically asked not to use Bedtime Math in class or to assign it for homework. Instead teachers are asked to bring Bedtime Math to parents’ attention as a fun way of promoting Maths at home and are encouraged to use the Bedtime Math flyer to do so.
Researchers in UChicago, Talia Berkowitz, Marjorie Schaeffer, Sian Bellock and Susan Levine conducted a research study whereby 587 first grade students and their parents used the Bedtime Math app on an iPad. A control group were given a reading app with similar stories but without the math content and questions. The children who frequently used the Bedtime Math app with their parents outperformed similar students in the reading group by almost three months in their maths achievement at the end of the year. You can read further details of this study here.