Friday, April 20, 2018

Design a Cube City...a Study in Volume!

Some of my fifth grade friends have been hard at work, designing cube cities as a culminating activity to their study on volume. In some cases, they worked together to create entire towns! Take a peek...

Nice perspective!

A true metropolis!

Great use of color!

Love seeing Lady Liberty in the background!

3-D trees and bushes!

It's always more fun when you work together!

Want to read more about the process behind this lesson? Learn more here. Or,  purchase the complete lesson here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Math Manip Tip: Fractions on a Geoboard

A geoboard provides endless opportunities for fraction exploration. To increase your options, flip the tool over and use a dry erase marker on the back. Students can label, outline, write equations, and more!

Yesterday, I worked with a third grader who was struggling with fractions. Initially, it appeared that her greatest struggle was to understand the meaning of the numerator and denominator in relation to the parts. On a geoboard, she agreed that that this portion represented 1/2.

She then created the other half with another rubberband. I asked her if she knew what the 1 and the 2 represented in 1/2. She did not. So, on the geoboard, together we noticed the whole was divided into two parts and that each side represented 1 of those two equal parts. With a dry erase marker, she labeled each part.

I asked her if she could show 4 equal parts. She quickly did, and could tell me that each part was 1/4 of the whole.

Next, she made 8 parts and said that each portion was 1/8, labeling them. I asked how she knew that they were eighths. She said it was because there were 8 (equal) parts. We checked. With the dry erase marker! She then drew lines to represent sixteenths. We decided this was much easier than adding a lot more rubberbands.

After she noticed 8 equal parts make eighths, I asked her how many equal parts there are when there are fourths (4!), halves (2!! at this point she started grinning), thirds (3!! and grins harder, since we hadn't even attempted this one.)

It was time to wrap it up. I left her thinking about addition. For instance, if you have 1/4, how many more fourths do you need to equal 1 whole?

Using only a geoboard and a dry erase marker, we could repeatedly draw fractional parts, label fractions, count, erase, think again,...and more! If you haven't used a geoboard for fraction exploration--and written on it with a dry erase marker--you are going to love this!

Don't have a geoboard? Try the free online app from The Math Learning Center.

And for more fraction ideas, visit past blog entries.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Multiples Practice with Puzzles...and Mythology!

Multiples can prove to be a challenge for students in grades 3-5. In fourth grade, we expect students to be able to determine whether a given whole number between 1-100 is a multiple of a one-digit number. Makes total sense, right? I mean, how hard could it be? Enter classroom...

Teacher: Morning, Johnny!

(Johnny wipes sleep out of eyes.)

Teacher: Think about the number 36. Is it a multiple of 6?

(Johnny blinks. Wipes his eyes.)

Teacher: Multiple, Johnny. Remember? We talked about this yesterday.

Johnny: Seven?

Ever experience anything similar?  To that end, I like to offer extra opportunities for practice. I want something that is...

Visually appealing
Practical for a variety of levels
Perfect for math centers

This new set of Multiples Puzzles gives students ongoing practice with identifying and ordering multiples. Always on the lookout for ways to integrate math and literature, I selected Greek Mythology as a theme. Here's how they work...

1. Copy the puzzles on cardstock, choosing from black/white or color versions. Laminate, as desired.

2. Cut puzzles on horizontal lines into strips.

3. Place each puzzle in an envelope and label with the correct multiple.

4. Place in a math center, assign as homework, or use during a lesson on multiples.

5. As an additional option, as students complete each puzzle, they can note patterns they observe on 100s grids in their own Book of Multiples.

Teachers can differentiate by offering students puzzles that correspond with the practice most needed. Two blank puzzles are included for the creation of challenge puzzles.

Take a closer look at Multiples Puzzles for Greek Myths.

Looking for more multiples practice? My students have enjoyed making flap books & folds (see here and here), and used them as ongoing reference tools in their math journals.
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