Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tangram Giveaway from Monkey Pod Games!--and the winner is...Laks

And the winner is...#21..."Laks"...I'll be contacting you today!

Congratulations! And thank you to all who entered!!

Voting is now closed....

Monkey Pod Games has graciously donated a Tangram Set for a giveaway. This beautiful, high-quality, wooden set would make a great homeschool math activity as well as a fabulous gift! See my review here.

Enter to Win:

Prize (1): one Tangram Set from Monkey Pod Games. **Sorry, but U.S. shipping only.**

Contest Details:
Continues through November 30th. Contest ends at midnight on the 30th and a winner will be announced on December 1st after I've had coffee. I will choose a winner at random using Random.org.

How to enter:
Lots of ways! You may choose as many as you like from the following...up to 5 times! Leave a comment for EACH ENTRY with contact information

#1: Go to the Monkey Pod Facebook page, push "like," then post a comment here saying that you did it.

#2: Become a follower of my blog. Leave me a comment telling me that you are already a follower or that you've just joined. It'll make me grin.

#3: Go to Monkey Pod Games. Check out their products and comment here with the one that you'd most like to own and why.

#4: Tell your friends about the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or a listserve/forum. Leave a comment saying what you did, with a link if possible.

#5: Blog about this giveaway and link back to this page. Post a link to your blog entry.

Please make sure that I have a way to contact you...such as janedoe at gmail dot com. If I don't hear back from a real person within 24 hours, I'll draw again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Math DVDs

In addition to the Math Toys, Gifts, and Games and Math Books for Kids, here are some fun Math DVDs to consider for Christmas.

Math DVDs

* The Story of One
* Donald in Mathmagic Land
* Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication Classroom Edition [Interactive DVD]
* Flatland, the Movie

* Mathtacular by Justin Holzmann of Sonlight (I've not seen but has great reviews.)
* The Story of Math (I've not seen but has great reviews.)

[Note: If you're interested in purchasing any of these movies through Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU! Also, I have no affiliation with any of the products above.]

365 Penguins...and Problem Solving

I first read 365 Penguins while preparing for my math and literature class. (*See note at bottom of post about the related Advent Calendar.)

I love it for it's problem solving possibilities. Since it also starts on New Year's Day, it's timely...

Summary: When a box containing a penguin arrives anonymously on New Year's Day, a family of four is puzzled, but as they continue to receive one penguin each day their problems--and food budget, and storage issues--are multiplied.

While I do not think problem solving should be exploited every time you see a number in a book (an inherent danger with linking lit and math) the scenarios in this book are too good to pass up. Here are just a few of the possibilities. Quotes are from the book. The ensuing problems are mine.

  • “At the end of January, there were thirty-one penguins in the house.”
Problem Solve: If penguins continue arriving at this rate, how many penguins will there be in another week? Two weeks? At the end of February?

  • The family organizes the penguins in triangular stacks to discover that “Four times fifteen equals sixty!”
Problem Solve: What other equal groups could you put the penguins in? (Exploring factors of 60.)

  • On the following page, yet another penguin arrives, making it sixty “Plus one!"
Problem Solve: Can you put the 61 penguins into equal groups? Why or why not? (Exploring prime and odd/even numbers)

  • The penguins must be fed. "Each penguin ate 2.5 pounds of fish per day. A pound costs 3 dollars..."
Problem Solve: By this time, there are 100 penguins. How much does it cost to feed them? How much more will it cost in a month if they continue arriving at this rate? How much will food cost for a year? 

  • Penguins must be organized. Again! The family makes space for 12 boxes of 12 penguins. 
Problem Solve: How many total penguins will fit?

  • Penguins are organized into a cube of 6 x 6 x 6 penguins for storage.

Problem Solve: Now how many penguins?

On December 31st, the 365 guests gather. Uncle Victor arrives to take them away. Life begins to return to normal. Until the doorbell rings with ANOTHER DELIVERY! (I'll let you read the book to find out what happens! It's funny.)

This would make a great living book for math workboxes! It's also going to solve one of my Christmas problems...what to give my 8yo? Shhhhh...he's getting one for Christmas. ;)

*Also consider the 24 Penguins Before Christmas: A 365 Penguins Advent Calendar.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Math Toys, Gifts and Games

In anticipation of the holidays (and CyberMonday!), I'll be posting gift ideas this weekend...math games and activities that feel like way too much fun to contain real learning! If you use workboxes, these would be great additions!

If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope (who sponsored my son's foster care in China...making a HUGE difference in his life!!!) at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!
Question in Comments: What if I want something from Amazon that is NOT on the list? 

Answer: If you click on any of the links below or enter through the Amazon link on the right side of my home page, everything you do is credited toward Grace and Hope even if you don't order what I recommend. As long as you enter through this site, everything you do in that transaction is covered. All toward Grace and Hope! I'm hoping to earn them enough to put one additional child in foster care for one year!
Tune in! (and feel free to submit ideas by emailing love 2 learn 2 day @ gmail dot com)

Pop Quiz Math Clock :)
Look at the list of math-related children's books!

* Blokus (great geometric/spatial game!)
* Blink
* Mythmatical Battles
* Othello Game
* Think and Jump
* Tri-Ominoes
* Sleeping Queens Game (Got this in August and played it DAILY til we lost too many cards. Am getting another copy for Christmas!)
* Zeus on the Loose (Review to come! Great math game my son got for his birthday!)
* Frog Juice (with a "smidgen of math and a pinch of probability," our kids are getting this for Christmas!)
* Rat-a-Tat-Cat (we bought for Christmas)
* Rush Hour
* Rush Hour Jr.
* Chocolate Fix
* Math Dice
* Math Dice Jr.
* Clever Castle
* Qwirkle

* Metaforms (on my wish list)
* Zoologic

* Inchimals

* Monkey Pod Tangrams 
* Sudoku Jr. (magnetic w/ movable numbers)
* ThinkFun Sudoku 5x5 (magnetic w/ movable tokens)

Toys and Construction:
* Frigits Deluxe Marble Roll(most played with game from last Xmas)
* Equilibrio, Architecto, Clicko (geometry building activities-very popular at our house!)
* Polydrons
* Quadrilla Marble Railway (granddaddy of marble rolls-wooden to construct)
* Tegu Blocks (wooden blocks with magnetic components)
* Citi Blocks (on our Christmas list after seeing our friend's set!)
* Reptangles

Math DVDs:
* The Story of One
* Donald in Mathmagic Land
* Multiplication Rock
* Flatland, the Movie

* Mathtacular by Justin Holzmann of Sonlight (I've not seen but has great reviews.)
* The Story of Math (I've not seen but has great reviews.)

Stocking Stuffer Gift Sets! (Mostly homemade!)
* Make Milk Cap Magic Square Game and pair w/ Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares book

Disclaimer: to date, I have no affiliation with anything listed on this page. If I receive a review copy, I will state it in the original post. In most cases I just like the product and want to share things I've found and enjoyed. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mennonite Musings

[Note: A little off my usual content, feel free to read or skip...   :)  Just in the mood to share something different.]

On Sunday, our church hosted a hymn sing. My daughter invited several friends from school. Just before we arrived to pick them up, one girl's father asked her why she wasn't wearing a dress. "You have to wear a skirt if you're going to a Mennonite church," a comment I found humorous as I'd donned jeans for the same event, anticipating a chilly evening in the church gym. When the girl mentioned that my daughter doesn't have a cell phone he said, 'Well, that's because she's Mennonite. They can't." While my daughter is one of the only teens without a cellphone in our high school (a fact which she reflects upon daily lest I forget), she is also one of the only cell-deprived adolescents (the only?) left in our church.

With all the cell-less time, she had time to go to the hymn sing. Ever heard Mennonites sing? We're not supposed to be proud. But we are. I am. I didn't record the singing, but this video (not our church) or this one gives you a glimpse of what we experience each week. Although I'm Mennonite for many reasons, the singing is one of the things I would most miss were I to leave the denomination.

Four-part acappella harmony causes people to feel many things. Joy. Sorrow. Hope. Peace. An urge to boogie.

In my parents' youth, dancing was disallowed, believing it could lead to all kinds of sordid behavior.  But things have changed. At the hymn sing my 4yo son and his little 3yo friend from Sunday School entertained themselves by coloring pictures, holding the hymnal and pretending to sing at the top of their lungs, pushing toy trains around the gym floor and by--gasp--dancing. The 3yo girl took off her shoes and socks and started bouncing to the music (again...HYMNS!) while my little guy swung his hips and laughed. [Please note that this was pure child joy! No disrespect intended!] After a while, my son came to ask if he could take off his shoes and socks as well. I said no, that we only had a few minutes left.

Moments later, I watched the 3yo's dad sprint to the back of the room. I looked. Blinked. Looked again. His little daughter stood there, sans pants (but thankfully still clad in shirt and underwear), obviously enjoying the music and slightly amused by all the attention she suddenly received.

Quite thankful that I hadn't allowed the removal of shoes and socks (for once the foot garments were off, it would have only been too easy to imitate the rest!), I reflected on my ancestors and their feelings about dancing. Maybe they should have reconsidered the 4-part acappella harmony. Never know what it might lead to. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lego Math: Symmetry

After studying line of symmetry and rotational symmetry I thought it'd be fun to do a little hands-on practice. With LEGOS!


1. Create a Lego masterpiece with line symmetry.
  • Basic level: build a Lego creation with at least one line of symmetry. When you're done, show the lines of symmetry.
  • Advanced: decide on how many lines of symmetry the creation will have. One? Two? More? Build a structure to those specifications.
Give kids a building plate and tell them to begin with a relatively flat structure...more picture-like than building-like.

[Teacher note: visit this site for more information on reflective symmetry.]

2. Create a Lego masterpiece with rotational symmetry.
  • Basic: build a Lego creation with rotational symmetry. You choose the order of rotation.
  • Advanced: decide on an order of rotation and build a project to match. 
[Teacher note: learn more about rotational symmetry and order of rotation. It's probably worth mentioning that while I don't remember being taught this in elementary school it's now a standard part of elementary math. I'm thrilled that my son will enter high school geometry at a higher level of understanding than I did! I knew squat.]
    See the video for our examples. I had my 8yo demonstrate the position of his lines of symmetry with yarn. As you'll see, it's difficult to keep the yarn straight to perfectly identify the lines, but it works. It'd be best to use some sort of frame to make it easier for kids to see the order of rotation. I'll work on that for my next rendition. ;)

    I didn't see this idea anywhere else and can't find it on the internet. Perhaps an original idea strikes once a decade. If so, I'm happy to share mine with you!!

    Please visit our other lessons on symmetry. Also, check out these art lessons using symmetry.

    And take a little peek at this "Symmetry Song." Love the way she filmed it in a mirror!

    Doing workboxes? Pop a handful of Legos in the box and challenge your kiddos!

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Review: Inspiration Software

    My 8yo son loves dinosaurs. But report writing? Uh, not so much. Until he gets a chance to do it with some rather cool software.

    Inspiration Software allows you to enter information in a web diagram, traditional outline, map, or any number of other organizational mediums. Big deal you say? Ah, but there's more. Let's say you enter your info in a web diagram. With a single click you can see the same information in the form of a traditional outline. Or a chart.

    As an example, my son made the traditional outline as shown at left. He was then able to click to see the same info on the web, above. He could then go in and personalize his web with illustrations. (Loved that!) As someone who has taught students outlining and webbing, let me say that this makes learning SO. MUCH. EASIER. Some kids are adept at webs. Some at outlines. Some at other forms of organization. But this makes it so that they can understand--in a click!--the connection between them.

    Another bonus for my son? He loves typing. Doesn't love the physical act of writing. So he sat in front of the computer and read through book after book while taking notes directly onto the software program.

    We've been **inspired**!

    Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation from this company. If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

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