Math = Love: August 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

More Perfect Squares Poster

Last year, I put up posters of the first ten perfect squares and perfect cubes in my room. They looked awesome, and students referenced them throughout the year. However, I found that my students often needed to know if a number that was higher than 100 was a perfect square.

I don't have the wall space necessary to go farther (or the patience necessary to tape that many more posters on the wall!), so I made a "More Perfect Squares" poster to hang next to my existing posters.

Here's what I came up with:

I printed this poster on 11 x 17 cardstock (affiliate link). I was given a package of this cardstock a few years ago, and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it for the longest time. Then, I started making posters with it. Later, I began using it to make group-sized reusable activities with my 11 x 17 dry erase pockets (affiliate link). I've used so much of it lately, that I just had to order a new package from Amazon!

You can download the file to print your own poster here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What is Chemistry?

After doing first week activities and discussing lab safety, it's time to start our formal study of chemistry. Yesterday, I decided to have my students complete a frayer model with the definition of chemistry. But, first, I had students create a mind map/concept map/bubble map/whatever you want to call it map of what they thought chemistry was.

I used my group sized dry erase boards that I got last year with a grant. Each group got five minutes to complete the task. 

Here's what my students came up with:

I would like to have students do this activity again at the end of the year to show them just how much they learned about chemistry.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Australian Adventures: Wildlife Sanctuary

This is the second post in a series where I share photos from the two months that my husband and I spent in Australia this summer. One of the highlights of the summer was visiting a wildlife rescue sanctuary in South Australia. My mother-in-law arranged for us to go for a visit because she knows that I've been obsessed with kangaroos since my first trip to Australia two summers ago.

When we arrived, I was just super-excited to see a kangaroo up close. I've seen a few tame-ish ones in the wild before, but these kangaroos would actually let us touch them since they've spent almost their entire lives in captivity.


Then, the lady who runs the sanctuary asked if any of us would like to bottle feed a kangaroo. Of course!

Here's the kangaroo I had the privilege of feeding. Isn't this face adorable?!?

Next, we got to meet some baby wombats. They were super adorable as they ran everywhere.  

Of course, when I tried to take a picture of one of the wombats, it proceeded to do this:

I thought when the wombat went to Shaun that I would finally be able to get a good photo. Nope!

I finally got a good picture when my mother-in-law picked one of the wombats up, though.

As we walked through the sanctuary, we got a chance to see some birds that had been rescued.

After walking past the birds, we reached the part of the sanctuary that held the older kangaroos.

We were given food to feed the kangaroos. You will never guess what we fed them. Make a guess before you scroll any farther!

Made your guess yet?

Almonds! I never would have guessed in a million years that a kangaroo would eat an almond out of my hand!

These kangaroos are just so cute. I can't stop adding pictures!

Here's a video of one of the kangaroos:

I've still got more pictures to share of other adventures from our summer in Australia, but those will have to wait for another day!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Must Reads: Volume 7

Life has been busy with the start of a new school year. I'm still working on achieving that thing called work/life balance, so today's Monday Must Reads post will be shorter than normal. I'd love to feature more great ideas (I have a list!), but I'm giving myself grace. I'll get another chance next week and the week after that and the week after that! :) 

This week's edition is 100% inspiring tweets!

I loved introducing my students to Skyscraper Logic Puzzles last year using linking cubes. So, I was super-intrigued when I saw that Amie Albrecht had created a version using paper cylinders. You can download a template to create the cylinders here.

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Meghan Lang got her physics students off to a fun start with a cup stacking challenge. Each group was given a rubberband with one string for every person in the group. Students had to stack the cups while only touching their own string. This looks like great cooperative fun. I used this with my chemistry students during the first week, and it went fabulously!

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I love decorating my math classroom. Each summer, I try and think of new math-y decorations I can make. David Chalk has inspired me to up my science decor game this year, though. Just take a look at these amazing classroom displays! To see even more of his work, check out this short video!

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Ilona Vashchyshyn posted an interesting task on twitter recently that I look forward to using with my math concepts students. Write your name using exactly 100 square units.

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If you're not following Jo Morgan on twitter and her Resourceaholic blog, you need to do so ASAP. Don't be scared off by the fact that she teaches in the UK and refers to math as "maths." She is always finding the most creative resources!  Check out this exponent rules puzzle (page 36 of this PDF) that she recently featured on her blog!

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Becky Strand issued the Paper Chain Challenge to her students. The task: make the largest chain possible using only a single sheet of paper, scissors, and a glue stick! I decided I was going to do this with my chemistry class during the first week, but we ran out of time. :(

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Ms. Mayner poses an interesting problem to her students in regards to solving equations. I love how she gets them thinking about solving without actually having them solve!

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Elizabeth Raskin engaged her students in a very visual discovery of pi. I've seen a lot of pi-related activities, but this one was completely new to me. Is it too early to start planning for Pi Day?

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Are you doing Sara VanDerWerf's 100 Number Activity? Diana McClean shares a great idea to save paper!

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Until next week, keep up the awesome tweets and blog posts!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Getting Organized: Project Trays

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had to drive to a nearby town to visit our credit union. This town happens to have a Dollar Tree, so we decided to stop in. We weren't looking for anything in particular, but that's never stopped us before! :)

I was hoping that there might be some sort of organizer that would hold letter sized paper. After walking down the aisle full of organizing baskets, I thought I was out of luck. Then, Shaun spotted some paper-sized baskets in a totally unrelated section. I decided these would be PERFECT for putting supplies together for various activities.

I ended up buying eight of these baskets. Here are six of them on my back counter waiting for me to pull out the needed materials for future activities.

One of the baskets is currently sitting on my desk, and the eighth basket is sitting in my husband's room. 

I feel so much better about having supplies out on the counter when they are in one of these baskets instead of just sitting out. These were super useful for the first week of classes since I had so many different activities going on with different supplies!

Here are our supplies for the marshmallow challenge

These two baskets have cups, rubberbands, and string for the cup stacking challenge and paper growth mindset challenges

These are definitely worth the $8 investment!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Always Sometimes Never for Absolute Value, Opposite, Reciprocal, and Opposite Reciprocal

Monday, we are starting our first unit of Algebra 1 by looking at the definitions of absolute value, opposite, reciprocal, and opposite reciprocal. Last year, I made the mistaken assumption that my 9th graders would be proficient at finding the absolute value of a number/expression when they came in. In addition to absolute value, I've decided to address opposites, reciprocals, and opposite reciprocals at the same time. This should save us some time when we get to discussing perpendicular lines!

I decided to create an Always/Sometimes/Never activity to get my students thinking about these terms at a deeper level. Here's what I came up with:

I've currently got a set of tents in the works for a clothesline activity to go with this lesson.

 I've uploaded the file for this activity here.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Make a Million Dry Erase Template

Last year, I learned about an activity called "Make a Million" from Julie Morgan who blogs at Fraction Fanatic. I tried this out with students several times throughout the year. It's perfect for those awkward five minutes when you get through your lesson plan way faster than you expected. Kids LOVED it, but every time we did it I would feel like the activity could run more smoothly. I loved the activity so much it made an appearance in my 21 Ideas for the First Week of School post. 

I'll let Julie explain the game! 

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This summer, I decided that I would make a dry erase template for my students to use as we played. Drawing the 12 boxes to place numbers in always took my students FOREVER.

My students' work was just a little too messy for my liking.

Plus, some kids would want to redraw the boxes EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Here's the template I came up with:

 I printed off a class set and slid them into our dry erase pockets (affiliate link).

We tried them out Wednesday in both Algebra 1 and Math Concepts. This activity went smoother than it ever has before. And, I give the credit to the template. We were able to start playing right away!  My kids were super competitive, and I gave a tootsie roll to the student whose sum was closest to one million each turn. 

 Want the template to use with your own students? You can download a copy here.