Friday, November 23, 2012

Three Math Activities for the Christmas Season

You can spread a little holiday cheer in your winter math lessons.  There are a ton of ideas out there to enliven math class during the last few days of the semester, and get everyone in the mood for Christmas.

  • Create Christmas trees in the cute coordinate graphic activity.  This teacher had a wonderful winter bulletin board full of these decorated Christmas trees and fireplaces.  It's a good way to have them practice graphing as well as making their own artwork.
  • How acute is students' spatial intelligence?  Test it out with this Snowflake Math Activity, which challenges them to anticipate which design will result from cuts on piece of paper.  It's taking the handy old paper snowflake technique and making it much more complex.
  • Speaking of snowflakes, have you ever heard of a 6-Sided Kirigami Snowflake?  MathCraft shows you how to make one.  They are signed to reflect the hexagonal symmetry of real snowflakes.  Picture tutorial included.

Have you seen more math lessons that are great for this time of year?

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Time-Telling Games

A few websites offer practice with telling time and reading clocks:

  • Students can Stop The Clock and record the time displayed. 
  • Can they tell the difference between two times?  Test their skills by playing another game on the same website. 
  • They can also play Bang on the Clock to stop the clock at the correct time.  Adjust the clock hands' speed to make it more challenging.


Three Hands-On Geometry Activities

Turn geometry lessons into creative opportunities for students to learn while they build, manipulate and create.  I found three cool resources for hands-on geometry activities that you might like to add to workstations, your classroom project roster, or enrichment lessons. 

  • A great place to start for geometry activities is the MathCraft Wiki Page, which has dozens of projects that explore geometric principles.  Many of the suggestions there are eye-catching and complex, so this would be a good resource for gifted students.  Help students strengthen their spatial intelligence by challenging them to create icosahedral planet ornaments, these cool and colorful paper polyhedra, fractal cupcakes or any number of the ideas listed on the site.  Each project contains a step-by-step tutorial.

  • Miss Calculate posted this geometry sort on her blog, which helped her students work with triangles, bisectors, medians, etc.  I'm a big fan of sorting!  She asked her students to take their cards and sort them into piles.  Later, after they came up with a different number of piles, she explained that they should have five piles.  She then had them place their cards under the correct labels.  Geometry lesson with no paper and pencil required!

  • Construct a tetrahedral kite using little more than straws, a string and some tape.  This includes a step-by-step guide with photos.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3 Algebra Activities for Beginners

Turning algebra practice into engaging activities is sometimes a hard task.  Thankfully, a few places offer work your students can do to enhance their math skills without staring at a math textbook or worksheet.

Mrs. W's Math Connection showed her students that they can make "edible equations" by solving their equations in the form of burgers.  She displayed their yummy-looking algebra sandwiches as a classroom display. 

Her class also created their own water parks as a means of working with slope and linear equations.  Check out her class working on their ideas and their finished projects, which look awesome!  The project is available for free on a TeachersPayTeachers site!

There is also Vector Kids' Online Variable Game, which challenges students with basic algebraic questions to solve for "x."  They can choose which operation to use and how high their problems can go.  How many can they solve in one minute?