Welcome To A Teacher In Your Corner

Before I began teaching,I spent my evenings tutoring my son who had a learning disability. I had no teaching material and so learned to use things out of my kitchen to teach the concept. When I began teaching,I continued to use household items to illustrate the lesson. This site will give you ideas on how to use everyday items to help your child master a difficult concept.

Whether you are home-schooling or just helping your child complete homework, this site will be helpful.

Liquid Measurement

 A concept that is really simple, yet made difficult by the way we teach it is Liquid Measurement.  We usually teach it by requiring students to memorize a chart similar to this:
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
2 quarts = 1 gallon

What's wrong with that?  We learned it that way didn't we?  It worked for us, why shouldn't our students or children learn it the same way?  Because there is a much easier way.

Buy milk in different size cartons.  Once milk (or juice) is consumed, wash and save carton.  When introducing the concept of liquid measurement, show and identify the different size cartons to students.  Allow students to fill the smallest carton with water.  Pour the water into the next size carton.  Repeat until the larger carton is filled.  Allow the students to complete the following chart:
? cups = 1 pint
? cups = 1 quart
? cups = 1 gallon
? pints = 1 quart
? pints = 1 gallon
? quarts = 1 gallon

Allowing students to discover the amount rather than memorize a chart is much more meaningful to them.  Other useful objects are measuring cups which are sold in sets.  Again using these objects to complete the chart.


One of the scariest things you can hit a kid with--as well as a large number of adults--is fractions.  Almost nobody likes fractions.  I once knew a carpenter who hated fractions, so when he told his helper a measurement, he said, "22 inches and 2 marks."  I have a friend who is an LVN and refused to try for her RN because she would have to use fractions in dispensing medication.

Take the fear out of fractions for your child by using objects familiar to him or her.  First teach your child the definition of 'fraction'. A fraction represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts.  

Order a pizza, allowing your child to determine the number of pieces.  When you open the pizza, insist that your child count the pieces before any are removed from the box.  Then teach that each piece is one of eight (or however many) pieces. Two pieces are two of eight pieces.  Separate the pieces as you teach.  After your child is comfortable with this concept, you can move into the concept of 4/8 is the same as 1/2.  Tread carefully here.  This is likely to start the tears flowing.  Be sure that your child can literally see that 4/8 looks just like 1/2.

A chocolate bar is a wonderful way to teach fractions.  Remember the first rule is 'no eating until the lesson is learned.'  Use the same methods as with the pizza.

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An orange is a  useful teaching tool.  Peel the orange and separate into sections.  Have the child count the sections.  Again use the same methods as the pizza.  With an orange have the child 'put it back together' in his hand to see that each fraction is needed to make a whole.

Layers of the Earth

Seismic waves help scientists study the Earth's interior.Teaching science can be difficult, especially to small children.  How do you teach something as untouchable as the earth's layers?  Here is a fun way to create a visual model for any age.  It is a five day process, but well worth the time.

You will need:
A large clear bowl (size will be determined by number of students)
Plastic wrap
Lime sherbet
Strawberry ice cream
Lemon sherbet
                                                      Chocolate ice cream

These flavors were chosen to represent the temperatures of the different layers, however, can be changed if desired.  The width of ice cream represents the thickness of each layer of the earth.  If you need to change the measurement, just keep the proportion for teaching purposes.

Day 1.  Place plastic wrap on inside of bowl to help with removal of ice cream later.  Soften lime sherbet.  Using the back of a large spoon, spread softened lime sherbet around the inside of the clear bowl.  Make sure layer is at least 1/2 inch thick and entire bowl is coated.  As you are spreading sherbet, discuss with students that the sherbet represents the earth's crust.  Place bowl back in freezer to harden sherbet.

Day 2.  Soften strawberry ice cream.  Using the back of a large spoon, spread softened strawberry ice cream around the inside of the lime sherbet.  Make sure layer is at least 1 inch thick.  This layer represents the mantle, the hottest layer of the earth.  Place bowl back in freezer to harden ice cream.

Day 3.  Soften lemon sherbet.  Spread around strawberry ice cream.  Make sure layer is at least 2 inches thick.  This layer represents the outer core of the earth.  Place bowl back in freezer to harden ice cream.

Day 4. Soften chocolate ice cream.  Completely fill remainder of bowl with chocolate ice cream.  This layer represents the inner core of the earth.  Return bowl to freezer.

Day 5.  Allow ice cream to soften for easy removal from the bowl.  Remove it by turning bowl upside down on plate and pulling the plastic wrap.  Discard plastic wrap.  Slice through 'earth' allowing each layer to be visible.  Review layers of earth before allowing students to eat the earth.