Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making Math More Fun!

A colleague of mine attending a math conference a few weeks back shared with us lots of new math games that I thought I would pass on to you all. I feel bad I haven't been posting much lately, but this school year has been really stressful.

One game she taught us was called "Gobble, Gobble." This can be adapted for other holidays as well. Collect several empty, half-sized Pringles cans. Wash out and dry. Cover the outside with brown construction paper.Glue a turkey's head (any kind of turkey clipart). Glue to the front of the can and add feathers to the back side of the can. (Either use fake feathers from the craft store or just cut out of construction paper.) Now your game canister is complete!

Cut out small strips of paper with math equations on them. If you are studying addition, make addition cards; if you are working with your multiplication facts, make multiplication cards! On at least 10 of your cards, write the words, "Gobble! Gobble!" Place all of your cards in each canister.

How to Play: Pass out a turkey canister to small groups of students. Set your timer for 3 minutes. Instruct students that they are to pass the canister around the circle one at a time. When the turkey gets to them, they are to pull out one equation card. Next, they are to read the equation out loud to the group and answer the equation. If the group agrees that it is the correct answer, that person gets to keep their card. If the answer is not correct, that student may still keep their card, but the group must help them answer it correctly. Each group wants to continue passing around the turkey as many times as they can, collecting cards, before the timer runs out. But watch out! As soon as someone pulls out a "Gobble! Gobble!" card, EVERYONE must give their cards to that person! Continue play until the timer goes off. The person with the most amount of cards in each group is the winner! Play several 3 minute rounds for added enjoyment and learning.

Another fun idea is called, "Math Menus." I love this idea because of it's real world application to addition and subtraction of money. Go to your local restaurant and ask the manager if they have any food menus that they will be discontinuing or want to get rid of. (If not at the time, leave your name and number so they can call you when the time does come!) Take these menus back to your classroom and have a lot of real-world fun with your math lessons! For example, pass out the menus to your students and give them a math word problem such as, "You have $20.00. You need to choose something to eat for dinner and a drink. If you still have some left, you can order dessert. What items will you choose, and what will your change be?" They can even make up their own word problems! This works also really well as a great time-filler when you need something quick, but still have them learning! You could also use menus when doing an English lesson on adjectives and adverbs. What would a menu be like without them? They sure wouldn't be as appetizing!

I feel it's very important to teach math with games and interactive real world activities. You want students to be excited about math and games are a great way to help ignite the fire of learning! If anyone knows any fun games for teaching math, please share!

I hope you all have had a great Thanksgiving break! I know I have!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's goin' on...

I know have I started that last 4 or 5 posts with, "I'm sorry it's been so long...," but I have just not had time to even dig a wedgie with all the work I have been up to my nose hairs in. This class has really been tough on me mentally with all the extra planning I've had to do to help cultivate this new crop. They are sweet as can be, but I have had and STILL have my work cut out for me!

We just started a fun little writing piece on "How to Make a Coke Float," since the kids have to know how to write a set of directions and use narrative transitions. I've modeled the steps of the writing process as we have progressed through and they have really enjoyed writing their pieces. We are in the revising and editing stages and they are so jazzed up to actually use their set of directions to make the coke floats!

We have been learning all about heat and matter in science. The day we talk about the three states of matter and how they change, we learn the Matter song to the tune of Three Blind Mice:

What is Matter? What is Matter?
Solid, liquid, or gas?
Solid, liquid, or gas?
It takes up space, it weighs something too!
It's everwhere that includes me and you!
Did you ever think such a thing could be true?
That is matter. That is matter.

Then we simulate what happens to matter when it changes from solid to liquid to gas. When particles heat up, they get faster and and spread out. When they get colder, they slow down and eventually can freeze if the temperature is cold enough. I have the students be the particles and we play a game. I call out a state of matter, and they have to do what the particles would do in that state. If they do the wrong thing, they are out and have to sit down.

We end the lesson with "The Particle Dance," which they love!

Hey, hey it’s the particle dance
Hey, hey it’s the particle dance

(Snap fingers)

I am solid I quiver and shake
Quiver and shake, quiver and shake
(put arms straight down by side and wiggle, a bit)

Hey, hey it’s the particle dance
Hey, hey it’s the particle dance

I am liquid I pour and flow
Pour and flow, pour and flow
(use hands and arm to make a flowing motion)

Hey, hey it’s the particle dance
Hey, hey it’s the particle dance

I am gas I pop and fly
Pop and fly, pop and fly
(tap shoulder and “fly” hands into the air)

Hey, hey it’s the particle dance
Hey, hey it’s the particle dance

I will be posting some math multiplication activities soon! Stay tuned...