Math Teachers at Play #1

[Photo by StuSeeger.]

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Math Teachers At Play blog carnival! I hope you enjoy this collection of tips, tidbits, games, and activities for students and teachers of preschool-12th grade mathematics.

For this first carnival, I’ve drawn several recent posts from my blog reader as examples of the types of posts I’d love to include in future editions of Math Teachers at Play. I tried to find something for everyone, from multiplication drill for elementary students to advice for understanding high school math equations.

Let the mathematical fun begin…


our-school-by-wwworks2[Photo by woodleywonderworks.]

As Liping Ma showed, there is more to understanding and teaching elementary mathematics than we often realize. Do you have a game, activity, or anecdote about teaching math to young students? Please share!

  • Or you may want to challenge your students’ mental math muscles and help set a world record with World Math Day. Students from 150 countries participated in last year’s event. It’s open to ages 5-18, and it’s free!


math-in-politics-by-newbluecat1[Photo by newbluecat.]

This section is for arithmetic lessons and number theory puzzles at the middle-school-and-beyond level. We would love to hear your favorite math club games, numerical investigations, or contest-preparation tips.


the-never-ending-math-problem-by-d3-dan1[Photo by d3 Dan.]

Can you explain why we never divide by zero, or what is wrong with distributing the square in the expression \left(a + b \right)^2 ? Struggling students need your help! Share your wisdom about basic algebra and geometry topics here.

  • Dan Greene at The Exponential Curve offers his students a chance to earn a sweet prize when they review Factoring Trinomials (Part 1). I love the idea of this worksheet/puzzle — I think we’ll use it as a treat for our last day of co-op classes.
  • Mr. K at Math Stories blog is feeling Clueless. What do you think — would your students get this geometry warm-up puzzle, or not?
  • My students love fractal activities — do yours? Xi at 360 blog offers step-by-step instructions for constructing A Pop-Up Sierpinski Valentine Card. I’ll have to bookmark that for next year!


trigonomtry-notes-by-clf1[Photo by CLF.]

Like most adults, I have forgotten enough math to fill several textbooks. I’m eager to learn again — but math books can be so-o-o tedious. Can you make upper-level math topics come alive, so they will stick in my (or a student’s) mind?

  • Okay, so perhaps I haven’t forgotten as much as I think. I do remember enough to find the sad humor in Alive but Grading, Rudbeckia Hirta’s most recent Learning Curve.


puzzle-cubed-by-dps[Photo by dps.]

What kind of math do you do, just for the fun of it?

  • Tanya Khovanova offers a treat at her Math Blog: Five Linguistics Puzzles translated from the Russian book 200 Problems in Linguistics and Mathematics.


Photo by foundphotoslj.
[Photo by foundphotoslj.]

Other teachers’ blogs are an important factor in my continuing education. The more I read about the theory and practice of teaching math, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. So please, fellow teachers, don’t be shy — share your insights!

And that rounds up our first Math Teachers at Play carnival. I hope you enjoyed the ride!

[Photo by SMercury98.]

Why a New Carnival?

I really do enjoy the Carnival of Mathematics, most of the time, but I must admit that many of the posts go right over my head. And my middle-school level contributions often feel out of place (to me, at least), like toddlers at a high society cocktail party. On the other hand, the more general edu-blog carnivals (see sidebar) have grown so large that it’s nearly impossible to browse all their posts. I wanted something smaller and more “relevant” — more tightly targeted to my interests. And so, not finding the type of blog carnival I wanted, I selfishly decided to create one.

I plan to post these round-ups biweekly — if I can keep up with that pace amidst the hurly-burly of our homeschool lifestyle — alternating with the Carnival of Mathematics. More information may be found on the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival index page.

The next edition of the carnival is scheduled for March 6. If you would like to contribute, email me or use this handy submission form. Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of preschool-high school mathematics. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

Oh, and if you’d like to take a turn hosting the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival, please speak up!

27 thoughts on “Math Teachers at Play #1

  1. Your contributions were never out of place in the Carnival of Mathematics, at least not in my mind.

    I liked that there was a broad mix of levels.

    That said, this looks interesting, too.

  2. Great idea, Denise! Your 1st Carnival is A-1!I will also promote it in my blog.

    I suggested a similar split some time ago but now its time may have come. Best of luck with this ambitious venture and, if I can find a moment to breathe, I will volunteer to help out!
    Dave Marain

  3. This is a neat carnival! I enjoyed the posts I checked, right down “my alley”…

    Thanks for posting a link to my video… I’ll try to get my next video up before your next carnival (about equivalent fractions).

  4. Hi Denise. I agree with the other comments – this is a really good idea.

    You’ve found a good collection of articles. Thanks also for the link – glad you feel the article could be useful for others.

  5. I just found your new carnival and have submitted an article for your next one. What a great idea! As a homeschool mom of 5, ages 9 and under, I’m always looking for ideas to make math fun, interesting, and ‘play’ instead of work. I’d be happy to host the carnival on my if you’d like. Thank you for all the work!

  6. It’s exciting to see a focus on lower math. My daughter is K level and I’m always happy to see things that we can do at home to supplement her learning.
    Thanks for all your effort.

  7. Wow! I didn’t expect this much response (or so many link-backs). You guys are great — thank you all for the encouragement!!!

    I’m hosting the next edition of Math Teachers at Play here on 3/6, and then the carnival starts traveling to other blogs. Our schedule is here, and if you’d like to sign up as host for any open date, send me an email: letsplaymath [at] gmail [dot] com.

  8. First of all – love the first picture. It is great to see people making maths interesting. All of our Melbourne Maths VCE tutor find that the most effective method to get students to understand maths is by making it fun.

  9. hehe i’m a high school maths teacher
    and i love maths
    i am so good at it if you guys want help with your maths just ask me!!!!

  10. There is a new site that just launched called which has developed the most sophisticated math games yet seen on the Internet, and both students and teachers are likely to enjoy playing Pyramid Panic (geometry) and Flower Power (fractions ordering). This site is even endorsed by well-known UK mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

    I hope you all check it out and let me know what you think of it


  11. Here is a great small company that you should check out. They sell math card games that my students love! Lots to choose from and they are easy to use and to differentiate for centers and small groups!

  12. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to pass along your blog to my math tutors in Coral Springs Florida. All of us are always looking for new approaches/ideas for our math students.

    Thank you in advance. EB

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