Monday, December 18, 2017

Math Fun for a Crazy Week

It is so close I can taste it!

Here are some of my favorite math activities for those unexpected times when you have a group in front of you that you had not planned to see, or to see for that extra 20 minutes.

1. SolveMe Mobiles from EDC:
These puzzles are set up like the mobiles hanging above your infant's crib, and they present "multiple balanced collections of objects whose weights must be determined by the puzzler." They gradually increase in difficulty, and there is the option to build your own puzzles, too. Lots of algebraic reasoning going! They also have other amazing puzzles (my other faves are Mystery Number and Who-Am-I and a paper handout of some samples.

2. Central Park by Desmos:
Students move from guesses to algebraic rules to design parking lots that place barrier in the appropriate places. This is a great tool for transitioning students from arithmetic to algebra, and fosters the "Guess-Check-Generalize" thinking that helps them make that move.

3. Open Middle Problems:
Searchable by grade level and content strand, these have been my jam this semester, and kids absolutely love them. I have found that setting up some templates for them to use for the problems I have given them helps them understand the structure at first. This support can be gradually taken away as they get used to the way these amazing problems work.

4. Graphing Practice:
Perhaps not as sexy as Desmos, but great for places with low or no tech. Put on some festive tunes and allow students to practice plotting points on the Coordinate Plane. The end result could be mittens, a present, or other holiday images.

5. Math = Love Activities:
Sarah Carter is a super creative teacher, and generously shares her activities and ideas on her blog. Head on over to see her activities and you are sure to get inspired to try something new. Three of my favorites are Four FoursRolling Dice for Point-Slope Form, and Snowball Fight.

This time of year is definitely crazy, and I know that I am certainly looking forward to the opportunity to unplug and unwind. However, for many of our students, we should remember that breaks can bring uncertainty, changes in routine, and missing teachers, friends, heat and warm meals. So, in the midst of celebrating our impending, hard-earned break, keep in mind that some may not be looking forward to it and need some reassurance that we will be back soon better than ever.

Merry everything, and happy break!

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