Friday, April 29, 2011

Rainbow Times Two

Wish I could have captured the whole thing. A magnificent, bright rainbow. Times two.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Magic Mirror Tricks: Exploring Symmetry

Two oldie-but-goodie books give children some fun exposure to symmetry. The Magic Mirror Book and Magic Mirror Tricks show incomplete illustrations--sometimes halves of objects, especially in the tricks book, hence the link to symmetry--that children can complete by holding a small mirror up next to the picture. The books, though out-of-print, can be found very cheaply.

To continue the symmetry lesson, I drew a light pencil line down the center of a piece of paper and asked my son to make a pattern block pattern on one side of the line only. He traced the blocks to make a new symmetry puzzle which he then completed by finishing the design on the other side of the line. He quickly discovered it was easier to trace blocks if he used the magnetic blocks on our new cookie sheet math board so the pieces didn't move.

I then asked him to make a riddle to give a hint as to the picture he'd made. He wrote one about a lion, the second about a hyena.

It would be fun to further extend the lesson by making his own Magic Mirror book. Sounds like a good summer project!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Giveaway: Dinah Zike's Fractions & Measurement

Here is my contribution to Homeschool Creations' "Curriculum Clean-Out!"*

I am holding a giveaway for one of Dinah Zike's books (out-of-print, I believe...used but in great condition) called Cross-Curricular Classrooms Thematic Manipulatives: Fractions & Measurement.  This is a "series of illustrated manipulatives." It mentions using them in conjunction with Zike's Big Book of Books, but if you're into lapbooking or fold-it books, you already know how. Blacklines are included in the book for publishing centers. Making a layered book with fractional parts. A trifold pizza book. Question and answer books for fractions. Pop-up book pictures...and lots more. Basically gives you all kinds of blacklines to make hands-on paper visuals (think lapbooking) while studying fractions & measurement.

Four ways to enter. You need to post a comment for each entry.

1. Please comment, sharing how you use (or want to use) paper folding, mini books, hands-on learning in math.

2. Enter a second time if you are a follower of love2learn2day.

3. Tell about my giveaway on your blog and link back to here.

4. Enter again if you contribute to this week's Math Monday Blog Hop. :) 

U.S. Shipping only. Be sure to leave contact information in case you're the winner. (jane doe at gmail dot com) I'll announce the winner at next week's Math Monday Blog Hop.

*Also, if you want to join in on the Curriculum Clean-Out, you can post something on your own blog to give away OR you can enter contests on a whole host of blogs to win items that others are giving away. Link-up at Homeschool Creations. I won a couple neat things last year! You do not have to host a giveaway to enter other contests.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Magnet Board Math: Pattern Block Puzzles

I'm beginning to doubt my intelligence.

For years I have put pattern blocks in front of my kids only to have them slide all over the place on the block puzzle sheets. I had a DUH moment and finally gave them a magnet board (this could be a cookie sheet) to STICK the puzzle on while they used MAGNETIC pattern blocks to complete the puzzle.

My son explored symmetry in the process. One page asked him to complete patterns "so that the dotted line becomes a Line of Symmetry." You'll see (right) that he made a lovely pattern WITH symmetry, but didn't pay attention to the dotted line/line of symmetry. We had a good discussion about "line of symmetry" and used a ruler to help (below.) This was a nice extension to our symmetry lessons with Magic Mirrors that I'll show you later this week.

Note on materials: I own several different pattern block books: Pattern Block Problems for Primary People, Patternables and Magnetic Pattern Blocks. (That last one should have given me a clue!) I took all the pages out of the first two books, slipped each page into a plastic sleeve, and put them all into a 3-ring binder. This allows multiple children to use materials at once; I just pull out a page or two at a time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #3

It's time for another Math Monday Blog Hop!

If you want to share this collection on your blog, just grab this link:
get the InLinkz code

Grab a Math Monday button for your own blog:

Sunday, April 24, 2011



When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

- Wendell Berry

April is poetry month. I find this poem by Wendell Berry especially moving.
A blessed Easter to those celebrating.
Peace, hope, love and joy to all!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Polygon Song & Lessons

Want to do a little polygon exploration?

1. Select a few ideas from our past polygon lessons.

2. Read Marilyn Burns' book, The Greedy Triangle.

3. Watch the following video. It's a perfect extension to The Greedy Triangle. This time, however, it's a square complaining about his life. Use the video with the book to do some "Paired Book" this case, paired book and video exploration! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is This Disturbing? (Math is Everywhere!)

Not long ago, my 8yo told me that when he can't sleep at night he watches the clock to find math problems. In the kitchen today he pointed out what he meant. "Look Mom! 10-4=6!" I wonder if I should be concerned??? :)

Do your kids find math in odd places?

On another note, he made his own lesson extension on doubling. He said he wanted to earn money and I should let him do a problem to see if 5 cents a day doubled for a week is more than $3. I laughed. He did it anyway. And proceeded to ask me for $6.35. I laughed some more.

Check out more math links at the Math Monday Blog Hop.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Children's Math Book Review: How Big is a Million? (Penguins!)

Although our penguin unit is long over, I couldn't resist picking up one more related book. Pipkin, a young penguin, wants to know How Big is a Million? He finds ten fish, 100 penguins, and 1,000 snowflakes, but he cannot find a million. Finally, his mother takes him outside to look at the starry night. In a pocket in the back of the book, the reader finds a poster depicting exactly one million stars. In contrast to some other "million" books where the quantity is distributed throughout the book, this picture allows the reader a glimpse of a million of something in one shot. Sweet book for exploring the concept of one million. 

The only thing I wasn't sure about...  Does the book actually show 1,000 snowflakes? I know it shows 10, 100, and a million, but I wasn't sure about 1,000. A friend of mine found some information from the author, explaining how the book developed. It leaves me to assume that all the illustrations are accurately counted.

Keywords: million lesson plan, penguin lesson plan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Make a Cookie Sheet Math Board (and recycle!)

Want to make a useful, fun tool for your students? How about recycling a cookie sheet? Here's how!

1. Find a cookie sheet that's ready to be discarded. You know...the kind that flakes questionable gunk onto your baked goods. Check yardsales, Goodwill, and your mom. Make sure that magnets will stick to it. Not all will work.

2. Spray paint the edge of the tray. I let mine dry about 24 hours.

3. Get some contact paper. If you want the board for math purposes, you'll want to make grid lines. I used my quilting ruler, rotary cutting mat and drew lines with a Black Sharpie in a 1" grid.

4. Cut the contact paper to fit the flat inside of the cookie sheet. Top with a decorative ribbon if you like.

My cookie sheet had a hole at the top; I attached a nylon cord through the hole so that I could hang it up. It can now be used in a hanging position or kids can take it down for lap or table use. I hung mine on the back side of a small end table since wall space is at a premium. I think the kids will enjoy the private math corner (perhaps use it more!), but we'll also take it down and use it elsewhere.

Put it to use with some fabulous math lessons:

Manipulatives pictured: magnetic tile, magnetic base ten pieces, magnetic pattern blocks
The magnet manipulatives came from The Math Learning Center. It's a non-profit. My disclaimer: I don't get any kick-back from pointing you there, but I do some contract work for them occasionally. I tried to find links to the products on Amazon, but came up empty handed. I often purchase math manipulatives from MLC because they tend to have low prices.

Tomorrow I'll be stopping at the thrift store to find a few cookie sheets that need a second wind. :) I'd like to make a decorative message center. Another idea...addition/subtraction using cookies with magnets on them.

Go recycle! ;)

And check out more great math lessons at this week's Math Monday Blog Hop!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Math Monday Blog Hop #2! And GIVEAWAY Results!

Thank you SO MUCH to all those who participated in last week's blog hop. I'd love to keep adding more participants. You all gave me a bunch of great ideas that kept my creative math moments flowing all week! :)

get the InLinkz code

The Giveaway winner of one gently used copy of Marilyn Burns' book, Math for Smarty Pants, is #6,
Mrs. Daniels First Grade said...
Would love to win...need some good Math Ideas.
Congratulations and thank you to all who entered!

Grab a Math Monday button for your own blog:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teaching Blog Addict

I've joined the new site, Teaching Blog Addict. You'll find my introductory post at Meet a Math Addict. Teachers are sharing all kinds of fun ideas. Stop by and take a peek.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

NPR: The Way You Learned Math Is So Old School (+Math Blog Carnival)

On NPR, you'll find "The Way You Learned Math Is So Old School" from Weekend Edition Saturday talking about how children learn math today as compared to the way we--their parents, the oldsters--learned math. You can listen to the podcast or read the text. Also check out the visuals showing how the teaching of multiplication has changed.

Just a little personal reflection...  While I never had trouble "doing" the math (as shown in the old way of multiplying) I had no understanding of what it meant. Now, having learned the second way--WITH manipulatives--I can now picture a problem like that (36x24) in my head and do it mentally. No paper. No calculator. That, for me, is a huge step forward.

Also, check out the new Math Teachers at Play Blog Carnival hosted at MathInsider. You're sure to find a lot of new ideas there!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetry Month: Celebrating Math in Poetry

Over at Brimful Curiosities, they are celebrating National Poetry Month. Each week, they are doing a blog link-up where children post illustrations of poems that they've read. I thought it would be fun to illustrate some math poems.

I recently purchased Marvelous Math: A Book of Poems. My 8yo chose to illustrate the title poem, "Marvelous Math." The first stanza:

"How fast does a New York taxi go?
What size is grandpa's attic?
How old is the oldest dinosaur?
The answer's in Mathematics!"

Looking for more ideas? Read the math poems that another homeschooling family wrote. You can also look through previous math poetry blog posts for additional ideas. Some of the Shel Silverstein poems would be particularly fun to illustrate.

If you'd like to read more on the topic, you can find several sections from the book Math Poetry: Linking Math and Language in a Fresh Way by Betsy Franco here. And here are Mr. R's Math Poems.  Or maybe you want to illustrate a math poem of the week or another poem from this massive list.

If you post your child's math poetry illustration in your blog, please comment with a link. I'd love to visit! Also link-up at Little Sprout Books (poetry books), Random Noodling (poetry Friday), Brimful Curiosities (poetry illustrations), and Learning All the Time (favorite resources.)

And here are some kids' poetry games and activities to try on-line!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Egg Symmetry (+ Bunny Tangrams??)

Last fall, we made symmetrical masks, modeled after some found on Mathwire. I thought it would be fun to do something similar with Easter eggs this week. We began by reading Magic Mirror Tricks, looking at the symmetry in the pictures.

My 8yo enjoyed using punches to decorate his egg. He worked really hard to make it symmetrical, agonizing over the fact that "it might be 100th of a millimeter off, Mom!"

At first, I gave my newly 5yo some cutouts and helped him with the symmetry. In time, however, I faced up to the inevitable. He was having entirely too much fun with DECORATING and could have cared less about the symmetry involved. That's okay. We're all about fun here, too! :)

Check out a few more of our symmetry lessons!

Or try making some Easter bunny tangrams. (What will people think of next???)

We're linked up over at A Mommy's Adventures: stART. And don't forget to check out all the posts linked to Math Monday! What a lot of great ideas to explore.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Double Pennies for a Week or Take a Dollar?

Here's another great extension for a paired reading of the books, One Grain of Rice and The King's Chessboard, two books that explore the concept of doubling.

I asked my son which he would rather have:

1. a penny today that would then double each day for a week.
2. one dollar.

I made a handout for him to record his thought using words, pictures and/or numbers.

Print the handout and try it with your kids. I'd love to know what methods they used to solve the problem.

P.S. After he chose "A", I gave him the $1.27. He eagerly put it in the coin box he made in Sunday School and then put it in the offering at church. His idea. Happy sigh.
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