fraction pieces

Reblog: A Mathematical Trauma

Feature photo (above) by Jimmie via flickr.

My 8-year-old daughter’s first encounter with improper fractions was a bit more intense than she knew how to handle.

I hope you enjoy this “Throw-back Thursday” blast from the Let’s Play Math! blog archives:


Photo (right) by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr.

Nearing the end of Miquon Blue today, my youngest daughter encountered fractions greater than one. She collapsed on the floor of my bedroom in tears.

The worksheet started innocently enough:

\frac{1}{2} \times 8=\left[ \quad \right]

[Click here to go read the original post.]


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Math Is Like Ice Cream

Math is like ice cream

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from my About page. Background courtesy of Pinstamatic.


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Math Teachers at Play #71 via Math Mama Writes

The February math education blog carnival is now posted for your browsing pleasure, featuring 71 playful ways to explore mathematics from preschool to calculus:

71 richard schwartzMath teachers at play know that math is best learned when the student is thoroughly engaged, through their body, their imagination (story-telling), or the world of games. I’ve started out this month’s post with those three categories.

Most of the submissions this month described hands-on, or feet-on, activities. It’s as if there had been a theme agreed upon without anyone mentioning it. Some of the following posts are from submissions, and others are posts that I wanted to share from my internet wanderings.

This post has 71 links. (You might need to digest it in smaller bites.) Enjoy!

Click here to go read the whole, wonderful post.


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Quotable: Math as a Second Language

Wenninger 94photo by fdecomite via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I sat in class 3 days ago and though to myself, “They need a class called ‘Math as a second language’ or MSL for short.”

It is easy to understand what a median is, or what attributes a kite has, or why is a rectangle a square but a square not a rectangle… for a minute or a day.

It is easy to temporarily memorize a fact. But without true understanding of the concept those “definitions” fade. If the foundation of truly understanding is not there to begin with then there is little hope for any true scaffolding and even less chance of any true learning.

Duncan
Comment on Christopher Danielson’s Geometry and language


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Math Teachers and Homeschool Bloggers: We Want You!

chica usando ordenador

[Photo by Olga Berrios via flickr.]

Do you have a favorite blog post about math activities, games, lessons, or hands-on fun? The Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival would love to feature your article!

We welcome math topics from preschool through the first year of calculus. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday extended to Thursday, February 13. The carnival will be posted on February 17th at Math Mama Writes.

Click here to continue reading.

640px-Clifford_att1

Alexandria Jones and the Strange Attractor

[Feature photo above: Clifford Attractor by Yami89 (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons.]

Alexandria Jones collapsed onto the couch with a dramatic sigh. Her father, the world-famous archaeologist Dr. Fibonacci Jones, glanced up from his newspaper and rolled his eyes.

“I don’t even want to hear about it,” he said.

Alex’s brother Leonhard was playing on the floor, making faces at the baby. He looked up at Alex and grinned.

“I’ll take the bait,” he said. “What happened?”

“Mom called my bedroom a Strange Attractor.”

“Oh? What does it attract?”

“I don’t know. Mostly books and model horses. But what’s so strange about that?”

The Mathematics of Chaos

Animation of a double compound pendulum showing chaotic behaviour.

Dr. Jones laughed and put down his paper. “Strange attractor is a technical term from the branch of mathematics called dynamical systems analysis — often called chaos theory.”

“So my bedroom is a math problem?”

“No. I think Mom meant your bedroom was chaos.”

“Oh.” Alex looked like she might pout, then she shrugged. “I guess she’s right, at that. So what is a strange attractor, really?”

“Well, when scientists first drew graphs of classical, non-chaotic systems — like a planet’s orbit or the flight of a football — it was surprising how often they got an ellipse or parabola or some similar curve,” Dr. Jones explained. “For some reason, nature seemed to be attracted to the shapes of classical geometry.”

Click here to continue reading.

Pinterest boards

Playing with Pinterest: New Math Boards

Do you like Pinterest? I’ve enjoyed exploring the site lately, so I set up a few boards where I can pin the goodies I find. It may take awhile before I get all the old games and posts from this blog loaded up, so save the links and come back often…

Playful Math Games & Activities

Middle-High School

As our children (and their parents!) play around with mathematical ideas and the relationships between them, we develop deep understanding that is strong enough to support future learning. Playful math links include math games, activities, and interesting lesson plans.

Math Doodling

Math Doodling

Making abstract math visual: Math doodles let us see and experiment with a wide range of mathematical structures — and even to feel them, if we include hands-on 3D doodles in clay or other media. Links include art projects, geometry constructions, and physical models to explore.

Math Teaching Tips & Resources

Math Teaching Tips

A variety of math teaching ideas for homeschool families or classroom teachers. Learning mathematics is more than just answer-getting: help your students make conceptual connections. These links are more “schooly” than on the other boards, and they include conceptual lessons that build your own understanding of mathematics as well as that of your students. And math notebooking resources, too.

MTaP Math Education Blog Carnival Archive

MTaP archive

Since early 2009, the Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) blog carnival has offered tips, tidbits, games, and activities for students and teachers of preschool through pre-college mathematics. Now published once a month, the carnival welcomes entries from parents, students, teachers, homeschoolers, and just plain folks. If you like to learn new things and play around with ideas, you are sure to find something of interest.

Math-Ed Quotes

Math-Ed Quotes

Inspiration for homeschooling parents and classroom teachers. This is where I’m posting my Wednesday Wisdom quotes.

And that’s the end of my Pinterest boards (so far).

What are some of your favorite Pinterest sites? Please share a link in the comments!


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If This Feels Hard…

TheRightThing

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Ben Orlin’s blog post Learning to rock-climb is changing how I’ll teach math. Background photo courtesy of Jason Kasper (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.


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Ohio Jones 2

The Linear Inequality Adventures of Ohio Jones

Ohio Jones 1

Last week, Kitten and I reached her textbook’s chapter on graphing linear equations, and a minor mistake with negative numbers threw her into an “I can’t do it!” funk. It’s not easy teaching a perfectionist kid.

Usually her mood improves if we switch to a slightly more advanced topic, and luckily I had saved these worksheets on my desktop, waiting for just such an opportunity. Today’s lesson:

  • Some fun(ish) worksheets
    “For tomorrow, students will be graphing systems of inequalities, so I decided to create a little Ohio Jones adventure (Indiana’s lesser known brother)…”

I offered to give her a hint, but she wanted to try it totally on her own. It took her about 40 minutes to work through the first few rooms of the Lost Templo de los Dulces and explain her solutions to me. I’m sure she’ll speed up with experience.

So far, she’s enjoying it much more than the textbook lesson. It’s fascinating to me how the mere hint of fantasy adventure can change graphing equations from boring to cool. Thanks, Dan!


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Reimann-hexagon

Math Teachers at Play #70

800px-Brauchtum_gesteck_70_1[Feature photo above by David Reimann via Bridges 2013 Gallery. Number 70 (right) from Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0).]

Do you enjoy math? I hope so! If not, browsing this post just may change your mind.

Welcome to the 70th edition of the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival — a smorgasbord of 42+ links to bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college. Let the mathematical fun begin!

By tradition, we start the carnival with a puzzle in honor of our 70th edition. But if you would like to jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.

Click here to continue reading.

Raising Independent Learners

My-long-term-goal

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Lucinda Leo at Navigating by Joy. Background photo courtesy of Peter Werkman (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.


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Calling All Math Teacher Bloggers and Homeschoolers: Carnival Time!

by Bob Jagendorf via flickr

by Bob Jagendorf via flickr

The Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) math education blog carnival is almost here. If you’ve written a blog post about math, we’d love to have you join us! Each of us can help others learn, so in a sense we are all teachers.

Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of school-level mathematics (that is, anything from preschool up to first-year calculus). Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Friday. The carnival will be posted next week right here at Let’s Play Math.

We Need More Hosts for 2014

Help! I can’t keep the carnival going on my own. Would you volunteer to host the MTaP math education blog carnival some month this year? Hosting the carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s fun to “meet” new bloggers through their submissions. And there’s a side-benefit: The carnival usually brings a nice little spike in traffic to your blog.

If you think you’d like to join in the fun, read the instructions on our Math Teachers at Play page. Then leave a comment or email me to let me know which month you’d like to take.

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2014

2014 Mathematics Game

2014-Calendar

[Feature photo above by Artis Rams (CC BY 2.0) via flickr. Title background (right) by Dan Moyle (CC BY 2.0) via flickr]

Have you made a New Year’s resolution to spend more time with your family this year, and to get more exercise? Problem-solvers of all ages can pump up their (mental) muscles with the Annual Mathematics Year Game Extravaganza!

For many years mathematicians, scientists, engineers and others interested in mathematics have played “year games” via e-mail and in newsgroups. We don’t always know whether it is possible to write expressions for all the numbers from 1 to 100 using only the digits in the current year, but it is fun to try to see how many you can find.

Math Forum Year Game Site

Rules of the Game

Use the digits in the year 2014 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100. The goal is adjustable by age: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, or 1-25.

  • You must use all four digits. You may not use any other numbers.
  • Solutions that keep the year digits in 2-0-1-4 order are preferred, but not required.
  • You may use +, -, x, ÷, sqrt (square root), ^ (raise to a power), ! (factorial), and parentheses, brackets, or other grouping symbols.
  • You may use a decimal point to create numbers such as .2, .02, etc., but you cannot write 0.02 because we only have one zero in this year’s number.
  • You may use the overhead-bar (vinculum), dots, or brackets to mark a repeating decimal.
  • You may create multi-digit numbers such as 10 or 201 or .01, but we prefer solutions that avoid them.
  • You may use a double factorial, but we prefer solutions that avoid them. n!! = the product of all integers from 1 to n that have the same parity (odd or even) as n.

[Note to students and teachers: If you want to take part in the Math Forum Year Game, be warned that they do not allow repeating decimals.]

Click here to continue reading.

Quotable: Focus on Being Silent

Children Reading Pratham Books and Akshara[Photo by Pratham Books via flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

I discovered this gem in my blog reading today. One of the secrets of great teaching:

Audrey seemed, for once, at a loss for words. She was thinking about the question.

I try to stay focused on being silent after I ask young children questions, even semi-serious accidental ones. Unlike most adults, they actually take time to think about their answers and that often means waiting for a response, at least if you want an honest answer.

If you’re only looking for the “right” answer, it’s fairly easy to gently badger a child into it, but I’m not interested in doing that.

Thomas Hobson
Thank You For Teaching Me

Learn Math by Asking Questions

The best way for children to build mathematical fluency is through conversation. For more ideas on discussion-based math, check out these posts:

And be sure to follow Christopher Danielson’s Talking Math with Your Kids blog!


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Multiplication Matching Cards

Multiplication Models Card Game

[Poster by Maria Droujkova of NaturalMath.com. This game was originally published as part of the Homeschooling with a Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics Series.]

Homeschooling parents know that one of the biggest challenges for any middle-elementary math student is to master the multiplication facts. It can seem like an unending task to memorize so many facts and be able to pull them out of mental storage in any order on demand.

Too often, we are tempted to stress the rote aspect of such memory work, which makes our children lose their focus on what multiplication really means. Before practicing the times table facts, make sure your student gets plenty of practice recognizing and using the common models for multiplication.

To help your children see what multiplication looks like in real life, explore the multitude of Multiplication Models collected at the Natural Math website. Or try some of the hands-on activities in the Family Multiplication Study.

You may want to pick up this poster and use it for ideas as you play the Tell Me a (Math) Story game. Word problems are important for children learning any new topic in math, because they give children a mental “hook” on which to hang the abstract number concepts.

And for extra practice, you can play my free card game…

Click here to continue reading.

Math Teachers at Play Blog Carnival #69 via Kids Math Teacher

mtap69wordle

The new Math Teachers at Play blog carnival is up for your browsing pleasure. Featured articles include activities and enrichment from preschool through high school:

“While my site focuses on elementary level math concepts, I strongly think that young kids can understand complex concepts that are not taught until much later (and I think most math teachers feel that way. Do you agree?). The Math Teachers at Play Blog Carnival can contain math concepts/topics from Pre-school to Calculus.

“This month for December’s carnival there were 12 days of Christmas entries! I put them in order starting from earliest math to the most advanced math…”

Click here to go read the Blog Carnival post at Kids Math Teacher.


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One Right Way

One-Right-Way

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Herb Gross, via Math as a Second Language. Background photo courtesy of kristos_b (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.


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Do You Blog About Math?

by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

It’s carnival time again. Activities, games, lessons, hands-on fun — if you’ve written a blog post about math, we’d love to have you join our math blog carnival.

Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of school-level mathematics (that is, anything from preschool up through first-year calculus). Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

To submit an entry, fill out this form:

Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is this Saturday night! The carnival will be posted next week at Kids Math Teacher blog.

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2013 Advent Math from Nrich

Click the images below to visit the Advent calendars, and your children can play with math every day until Christmas! You may also enjoy:

Primary Advent Calendar

“This Advent Calendar has a new activity for each day in the run-up to Christmas. All the activities are based on the theme of Planet Earth.”

advent1

Secondary Advent Calendar

“Behind each door of the Advent Calendar is one of our favourite activities with videos. Watch and enjoy!”

advent2


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving at the Trolls

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say this —
those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those He gathered from the lands,
frome east and west, from north and south.

Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the Lord.

— Psalm 107:1-3 and 43

[Feature photo above by Martha_chapa95 (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr. Quotation from Holy Bible, New International Version, (c)1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.]



The Mathematician and the Poet

Mathematician-and-Poet

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from William James, via the Furman University Mathematical Quotations Server. Background photo courtesy of Joe Maggie-Me (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.


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Teach Three Things

Teach-three-things

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Hollis Easter, via Twitter. Background photo courtesy of Brenda Clarke (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.


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Math Playtime With Blocks

Feature video by Stuart Jeckel via youtube.

DO Try This at Home

And ask questions!


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Math Teachers at Play #68 via Mathematical Mischief

CERDEC Math and Science Summer Camp, 2013

[Photo by U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.]

The Math Teachers at Play blog carnival is a monthly blogging round-up shared at a different blog each month, featuring posts from parents, teachers, homeschoolers, and students — anyone who is interested in playing around with school-level (preschool to pre-college) or recreational math.

This month’s edition is ready for your browsing pleasure:

Enjoy!

Good morning, everybody! This month’s edition of Math Teachers at Play is edition number 68. Also known as edition number {{2}^{2}}({{2}^{4}+1}). Or edition 31+37 or edition 7+61…. Alrighty, so… did you know that 68 is a happy number? That’s right, it’s not unhappy, it quite likes the way it is.

There’s certain numbers that exist that are ‘happy’ numbers. This is because the sum of the square of their digits is equal to 1. So, for 68, the two digits are 6 and 8. Adding the squares, we’re given {{6}^{2}}+{{8}^{2}}, which equates to 100. Adding the square of each of the digits makes 1, which is happy!

  • Can you find some more happy numbers?
    I’ll give you a hint – the first one is 1.

Anyway, back to the carnival. This carnival features 11 articles – smaller than last time, but still just as awesome and creative as ever….

Click here to go read the whole carnival: 11 great ideas for teaching math!
[By the way, did you notice? 11 is a happy number, too.]

You may also enjoy:


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The Fun in Learning

Just-like-the-games

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Erlina Ronda, The fun in learning mathematics is in the challenge. Background photo courtesy of USAG-Humphreys (CC BY 2.0) via flickr.


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Every Day Is Math Day

Happy 11-12-13

Happy 11/12/13, otherwise known as “tenty-one, tenty-two, tenty-three.”

Do your young children have trouble counting in the teens? Try making up Funny Numbers to help them! It’s a great habit to develop, because Funny Numbers will come in handy as mental math tools throughout their school math career.

If you’d like to make your own Happy Math Day post, check out the instructions here: Every Day Is Mathematics Day. And please share a link in the comments section below — I’d love to see what math holiday you invent!

Update: The numbers 11, 12, and 13 form an arithmetic progression. If that sounds too scary for your kids, check out Patrick’s bedtime math discussion Making Progress, Arithmetically.


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VisualPatterns-org

Algebra for (Almost) Any Age

VisualPatterns-org2

Fawn Nguyen’s Visual Patterns website just keeps getting better and better. Check it out:

In addition to the 115 puzzle patterns (as of this writing), the site features a Gallery page of patterns submitted by students. And under the “Teachers” tab, Fawn shares a form to guide students in thinking their way through to the algebraic formula for a pattern.

How can you use these patterns to develop algebraic thinking with younger students? Mike Lawler and sons demonstrate Pattern #1 in the YouTube video below.


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A Good Problem Requires Dreaming Time

A-good-problem

Wednesday Wisdom features a quote to inspire my fellow homeschoolers and math education peeps. Today’s quote is from Howard Eves, An Introduction to the History of Mathematics. Background photo courtesy of Brenda Clarke (CC BY 2.0) via flickr.


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Math Ed Bloggers: Share Your Post!

via The Math Plane

If you are a homeschooler or classroom teacher, student or independent learner, or anyone else who writes about math, now is the time to send in your favorite blog post for next week’s Math Teachers at Play blog carnival.

The deadline is this Friday night, and the carnival will be posted next week at Mathematical Mischief.

If you haven’t written anything about math lately, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing…

Continue reading