Friday, June 28, 2013

Math Marvels: perimeter predicament

I've had so much fun teaching fourth grade math this year! I can't wait to dig in deeper this fall and really rock my Fab Fours' math world.

The past year has given me many, many opportunities to look at how I teach math and work on increasing my effectiveness. I'm going to share things I've learned, things I've stumbled upon and things that have WOWED me in a new section called Math Marvels. Here's the first one!!

The end of the year was when I taught our final geometry unit. Perimeter was nothing new for the Fab Fours, but they really struggled with irregular shaped objects. The thing that seemed to mess them up the most was when they were given most side measurements, but not all, like this:
Some of the kids struggled with finding the missing side lengths when they were given adjacent side measurements. For example, they would measure the missing side on the left as 6 in., and the missing right side 3 in. 

How could I make practicing this interesting? Bring on Math Pickle !! Oh, how I love Math Pickle! 

The objective is to find out the side lengths of all the squares. Two are already given, the 7 and the 1. The number in the middle is the side lengths, and since these are all squares it's ok to just give the measurement once and put it in the center. We know that the 7 square has 4 sides that are each 7 (cm, inch, whatever you want). the square to the right of  both of these squares must have a side measurement of 8, because 7 + 1 = 8. You can continue to solve side lengths as more and more measurements are discovered.

This will give great practice to finding those sides that require some addition or subtraction to solve!

To find out more about this activity, go to Math Pickle. There are downloadable sheets as well as a video that explains how to teach this activity! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

and the winner is.... chickens?

How long does it take you to relax into summer?

It took me over a week. One long week of not thinking school, not breathing school, not seeing school.

Apparently busy school-endings aren't what kept me offline, though. I checked to see the last time I wrote and discovered that it's been a very, very long time. I feel the same shame that a girl feels when she realizes that it's really been three years since her last dentist appointment.

Then there are the chickens. The chickens are the real reason I went MIA. I was busy helping to get chickens legalized in the beautiful small suburban town I call home. Chickens....oh how I love chickens.

I'm tearing myself away from thinking about chickens 24/7 to do what I love best, and that's rolling with my teachy friends.