Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scholastic E-Book Sale

Scholastic is have a three day sale on e-books. Check out their dollar deals at:

Yes, you read that correctly. More than 1600 Scholastic e-books are just $1!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Math Games With Dice - The Familiar

I use a lot of dice in my classroom teaching. They're great for activities related to subitizing, basic fact practice, place value, probability, and so much more.

I'm always surprised when my students tell me they've never played some fairly popular dice games. If they have played them, it's often been an online version. However, there's a lot to be said for shaking and spilling real dice and recording the outcomes on your own score sheet. 

Two games I like are Yahtzee and Farkle. One requires five dice, the other six. The rules are different, but they both lead to practicing a number of skills in computation. You can find resources and rules for both these games online.
You can find complete directions for Yahtzee at the Hasbro site.
You can also download Yahtzee score sheets.
You can download the directions for Farkle at the Elverson Puzzle site.
You can also download Farkle score sheets.

If you are interested in some other dice games for math, check out Dice Games for Kids (directions and score sheets included) and Family Dice Games.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Math Freebies - Domino Problem Solving

This week's freebie is a domino problem solving activity. Here's the introduction.
Nine dominoes from a set were placed on a table, some horizontally, some vertically. When the pattern was drawn on paper, the lines showing the individual dominoes were not recorded. Can you determine the arrangement of the dominoes? 
The file includes a set of dominoes so that students can work with them to determine the final arrangement.
Download Domino Dance. If you like this activity, leave me a note and let me know. I might be inclined to make some more!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Today is Pi Day!

PiToday, March 14th, is Pi Day. No, that's not a typo. It is Pi day, as in 3.14159... you get the idea. The first Pi Day celebration was held at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988.

What is pi anyway? I'm sure you remember it from math in some formula you memorized, but do you really know what it is? Pi represents the relationship between a circle’s diameter (its width) and its circumference (the distance around the circle). Pi is always the same number, no matter the circle you use to compute it. In school we generally approximate pi to 3.14 in school, but professionals often use more decimal places and extend the number to 3.14159.

One activity I loved doing with students was to ask them to bring in a can and lid that would soon be recycled. I always brought in a few extras so that there would be a variety of sizes. Each student was given  a lid and directed to measure the diameter and circumference. Students then divided the circumference by the diameter. We recorded the results on the overhead and discussed them. Most were amazed to find that the results were nearly the same, allowing for some margin of error in measurement. This is a quick and fun and provides a meaningful way to introduce the concept of pi.

Are you doing anything special for Pi Day? I hope you'll be celebrating in some small way. Perhaps you could make a pi necklace. Since any day is a good day for poetry, you could try reading some pi poems. If you're looking for more ideas, visit the Exploratorium pi site or try this middle school math newsletter.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Math Freebies - Add-it Bingo

This week's freebie includes two different versions of a bingo game. Add-it Bingo is a simple, quick game where students practice basic facts in addition while using their knowledge of the associative property. The first player rolls three dice and finds the sum of the numbers. Then he/she finds that sum on the board (there may be more than one!) and covers it in ONE spot only. The winner is the first person with 5 in a row, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Of course, you can always play bingo variants like the letter T, H, X, and more.
Each file includes 8 unique boards. A blank page has also been included for students to make their own bingo board, along with a list of the set of numbers that should be used to fill the squares. Version one is the "simple version," as it does not contain the numbers 3 or 18, which are harder to roll. Version two is the more "challenging version" and does contain the numbers 3 and 18.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Women in Science - Part 2

Visit me at The Miss Rumphius Effect for the second post in my women in science series. Women in Science - Trailblazers of the 20th Century focuses on modern women and their contributions to science. Here are a few of the books you'll read about. Do you know these women?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Math Freebies - Fishing for Numbers and Monkey Madness

In recent weeks I have been developing resources for both my perservice teachers and the classroom teachers I work with. I will be sharing these resources with you each week in the new feature called Monday Math Freebies. This week I'm sharing two games that require nothing more than a game board, markers/chips for each player, and two dice. 

Fishing for Numbers is a simple, quick game where students practice basic facts in addition and subtraction while using problem solving strategies. The first player rolls two dice and says the numbers. Then he/she looks at the empty spaces on the board and decides whether to ADD the numbers or SUBTRACT the numbers. Once a choice is made, the player says the number sentence aloud and places his/her marker over the answer. Play alternates in this fashion until one player covers all the spaces on his/her board.
Download your own copy of Fishing for Numbers.

Monkey Madness: Three to Win! is a simple, quick game where students practice basic facts in addition, subtraction and multiplication while using problem solving strategies. The first player rolls two dice and says the numbers. Then he/she looks at the empty spaces on the board and decides whether to ADD the numbers, SUBTRACT the numbers, or MULTIPLY the numbers. Once a choice is made, the player says the number sentence aloud and places his/her marker over the answer. If a player rolls doubles, he/she must cover one of the monkey on the board. Play alternates until one player gets three markers in a row, vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
Download your own copy of Monkey Madness: Three to Win!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pinterest for Teachers - Points to Consider

What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a site where you can “pin” images you find on the internet. Think of it as one giant, virtual corkboard. The images you pin link directly to site where the image is located (or should), so you can learn more about it.

I wandered around the fringes of Pinterest for a few months during the fall semester, but didn't request an invitation. Finally, a post by Loreen Leedy entitled Pinterest for nonfiction (and everything else)!, convinced me to take the plunge. I set up a site, played around a bit, and suddenly realized how very useful these boards could be in my teaching. Here is a screenshot of a few of my boards.
My Pinterest boards for math are in many ways more powerful than my web site for math, precisely because they are visual. Now instead of merely linking to a site with ideas for teaching about fractions, I can link to specific posts that SHOW these ideas in action.

Searching for and finding images for my boards has brought home two very important points. First, there are many very creative and talented teachers out their working very hard to give their students exactly what they need and then some. Second, despite all the negative things I see and hear about teachers and the state of public education, there are really good things happening on the ground and in the trenches where it matters most.

Suffice it to say that I've been enjoying my time finding resources for instruction and pinning them to my boards. So, I was a bit surprised and more than a little concerned when I started to read articles about Pinterest and copyright concerns. Here are a few.

This reading and a bit more searching led me to Laura Candler's post entitled Do You Have Permission to Pin?. In this post she outlines the copyright concerns and encourages bloggers and others to join a "Permission to Pin" movement. Basically, displaying the "Permission to Pin" image on your site will serve as notice to visitors that you grant permission to pin your work. 

Since I'm about to embark on a new series called Monday Math Freebies (check back tomorrow!) which will include images of resources I am creating, I want folks to know without a doubt that they can pin my work. If you are making images of your work available for others, I hope you'll think about joining.

And if you're interested in checking out my boards for math and science, visit my Pinterest site!