Travels with Surly

Mick Dolan, my uncle, published his book Travels with Surly - Cycling across the USA recently.  This is not a math book. 

It's a first person account of an amazing journey.  Where a person 'somewhat' prepared for an amazing journey, just decides to accept the calling and make the journey, much of the time relying on sheer perseverance. (Well done uncle Mick!)

Math site + Travels with Surly = confusion!

So what's the deal.  Why am I telling you this? Am I simply using this site as a promotion platform for a family member? - Yes, I am making this a family affair, however there are so many other reasons, so read on!

The Summer Slump is looming, just around the corner!

Travels with Surly will be our family summer project to avoid the summer slump!

So many parents feel that for their kids to keep on top of their basic mathematics skills gained throughout the school year, workbooks, worksheets, tutoring or camp are the options.

Summer Camps are definitely a great idea, interactive, interesting, meeting friends, and practicing math in a fun setting!  What more could you ask for?  Well more than one week and less than $500 would be two things!  The price for these camps, especially if the pneumonic S.T.E.M. is used, are just a little crazy and beyond so many peoples reach!  So what is a parent to do?

Explore the FUN and IMMERSIVE math area!

We all know what our own kids will consider fun, and math immersion projects, are simply any activities that your kids will be interested in, that includes the practicing of math skills.  [Think about The Sneaky Chef book here!]

In school kids are learning how to 'operate' math tools.

I like to think of math as simply a tool.  So let's think of another basic tool and use it as an analogy for addition. 

The screw driver. 

Your kid learns ....

  • the situations when it should be used.
  • how to hold it.
  • how to apply pressure to keep driving that screw into the timber.
  • the different size screw drivers to use with different size screws.
  • they practice, and practice and become competent at using this tool.

What typically happens next?

Your kid moves on to using an electric screwdriver ..... multiplication!

Is there something wrong with this?

No.  But don't you think, before moving on to the electric screwdriver, if your kid got to make something fun, using their new found skills would be memorable and enjoyable?  That's immersion math.  Finding a project your kid will enjoy completing that will show them exactly why they have gone to all the effort and perseverance to become competent at this new skill.

That is how Travels with Surly will be used by us this summer!

So what are the math connections?

There are so many.  Let's start with some of the basics.

  • How many miles did Mick and Surly travel today?
  • How long did it take?
  • What is his average speed for today.
  • What is his average speed for the first week?
  • How did taking a rest day affect the journeys average speed to date?
  • Mick started his journey in San Francisco - what are the coordinates of San Francisco.
  • What are the coordinates at each days/weeks end?
  • Using information from a map, draw a 'cross section' of the altitude changes in Mick and Surly's journey on a time line.

These are just a few, but if you want to create immersion projects you need to practice coming up with your own ideas!

I have posted this www.facebook/k6math - if you would like help with more ideas, or have ideas to share, I would love to see you come join all of us over there!

This of course does not have to stop at math!

Obviously there is reading involved.  Even if the book is above your child's reading level, have them do some read aloud from it.

Many historic locations are visited - delve deeper into that.

What climate changes does Mick encounter cycling West to East?

Beware - this project could be a rabbit hole!  But in my humble opinion, that is what makes it such an exciting one!

Do you have to use Travels with Surly?  Of course not.  Choose any book that will spark yours and your child's interest and passion!

Keep In Touch!

You can send me a quick message, follow me on Facebook  or why not join our community of like minded parents? Choose all the options so you don't miss any of the new material added to this site.