There are Math Lessons Tucked Inside Your Baseball

"Real-life applications," the teacher said. "When you're in the supermarket and something costs $9.95 and you have $20, ask your daughter how much change you'll get. Things like this. She'll catch on."

This in answer to my question of how to help my daughter beef up her math skills. Though she's in fourth grade, many of the basic math facts elude her.

But my reality eludes the prospect of ever taking this advice, sadly. I could see us slurping milk off the floor instead of eating ice cream by the time I would be able to rustle out any kind of hard cash rather than the debit card and then my daughter would be able to do the subtraction. Nope. Not happening.

What to do? I went down cellar, where I do all my big thinking, and came up with the balm for our math pain: a Little League baseball. We had rescued it from the woods because we wanted to know what was inside.

Out came the knives. Out came the ruler. Out came the scale. It was curtains for the ball.

We found out that this baseball was held together with 216 stitches, all of which we cut open. Each of the two pieces of leather were 7 inches long. There were 53 yards of yarn. We found out this latter detail by first measuring ten yards and weighing it. Then we weighed all of it and divided that number by 10. Then we multiplied that dividend by the weight of 10 yards and got to 53. We were right; my husband checked our facts by measuring the lot a few days later.

We peeled the orange rubber from the small ball on the inside to find a black one. We opened that and found its cork core, which had a diameter of 7/8 of an inch.
That's real life for us.

I hope the concepts of measuring length and weight, adding, multiplying, and dividing stick because I don't know what we might have to cut open next.

Adella narrates the video here.


  1. Anonymous10:16 PM

    That's one way to be creative about real-life applications! Cool.

  2. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Now comes the fun part: put it all back together so it fits within the two leather covers.

    Stop when completed, or when the Thanksgiving turkey is done, whichever comes first.

  3. We were thinking a decent burial in the backyard!

  4. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Now that's being inventive.

    I would've started counting paper clips or some such boring nonsense.


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