Do you enjoy math? I hope so! If not, the links in this post just may change your mind.
Welcome to the 114th edition of the Math Teachers At Play math education blog carnival — a smorgasbord of articles by bloggers all around the internet who have great ideas for learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to pre-college.
If you would like to jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.
By the way, I found a cool, semi-self-referential trivia tidbit about our carnival number: 27 − 14 = 114. And if you put 114 dots into a 1←7 Exploding Dots machine, you’ll get the code 222. Pretty neat!
As you scroll through the links below, you find several puzzle graphics from the wonderful Visual Patterns website. Use them as conversation-starters with your kids: What do you notice? How does each pattern grow? For older students: Can you write a formula to describe how each pattern? What will it look at stage 43?
A BIT OF FUN
Setting the mood: Enjoy this bit of seasonal fidgeting from Vi Hart (@vihartvihart).
If you don’t understand some of the references, that’s normal! Pick a phrase, Google it, and enjoy the fun of learning something new.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
And now, on to the main attraction: the blog posts. Some articles were submitted by their authors; others were drawn from the immense backlog in my rss reader. If you’d like to skip directly to your area of interest, click one of these links.
- Seasonal Math Activities
- Talking Math with Kids
- Elementary Exploration and Middle School Mastery
- Adventures in Basic Algebra and Geometry
- Advanced Mathematical Endeavors
- Puzzling Recreations
- Teaching Tips
Let the mathematical fun begin!
SEASONAL MATH ACTIVITIES
You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to enjoy many of these activities — but really, I couldn’t find much for the other winter holidays. A few calculation worksheets with clip art, which is not my idea of playful math.
Do you know of any great math-related seasonal games, crafts, or activities I missed? Please add them to the comments section below!
- Play with a new math project every day with one of these mathematical Advent calendars for all ages. Or try your hand at the first post in the Chalkdust Christmas Conundrum series.
- Have a big bag of colorful bows? Dyan (@andnextcomesl) suggests letting your kids try Graphing with Gift Bows. And be sure to save your wrapping paper tubes to make her Christmas Boredom Buster: Jingle Bell Run.
- Karyn (@TeachBesideMe) demonstrates a Hanukkah STEM activity: Paper Circuit Menorah. Or try making her Gingerbread House Paper Circuits.
- Chelsey (@buggyandbuddy) shares two fun craft activities for kids: Symmetrical Snowflakes, and Symmetry Christmas Tree. Not to mention a simple and surprisingly graceful Paper Strip Angel Ornament.
- Bethany (@mathgeekmama) offers a free printable game for addition and subtraction: Grow a Christmas Tree Farm. For older kids, check out her series of Christmas Algebra Riddles.
- Check out Sarah’s (@FrugalFun4Boys) Pattern Block Snowflakes. I think I’ll use them to wrap up my elementary Math Art class on Friday. You may also enjoy 25 Awesome Stem Challenges for Kids (With Inexpensive or Recycled Materials!)
- Paula (@PaulaKrieg) celebrates paper-snowflake time and shares a new discovery: Spiraling Paper Ornament. I think those triskele globes will be the perfect final project for my middle school Math Art class this week.
- Iva (@findthefactors) brings us A Gift-Wrapped Puzzle for the holidays. Or play with her Oh Christmas Tree multiplication puzzle collection.
- On this blog, my fictional math adventurer Alexandria Jones shares a few holiday stories, including How to Make a Flexagon Christmas Card.
- I adore Svenja’s (meine.svenja) beautiful stained-glass Tracing-Paper Poinsettias. And I love the fun of Matthew’s (@mscroggs) Christmas Flexagons (and more).
- Challenge your students with the real-world problems in Brian’s (@Yummymath) Pre-Winter Holiday Activities. Or check out the newest Annual Holiday Puzzles.
- Alex (@alexbellos) shows how to make geometric holiday cards: Solving for Xmas. Can you solve his holiday puzzles about Christmas wish lists, Victorian mince pies, and present-sorting machines?
- Clarissa (@c0mplexnumber) demonstrates how to make beautiful, challenging origami snowflakes. She recommends beginners try the first few folds — which create a pretty cool design on their own. Let it Snow… You may also enjoy her other Christmas projects.
- And finally, try your hand at a few assorted Christmas math problems and puzzles from Transum. Or these challenge worksheets from Oxford University Press: Foundation Questions, and Shapes and Space.
TALKING MATH WITH KIDS
- Chris (@ChrisHunter36) refuses to teach his daughter a math trick, pushing instead for conceptual understanding. She remains unrepentant: I’m Not The Finger Man. You may also enjoy Keira.
- Counting is harder than you think! Sasha (@aofradkin) and daughter explore the mysteries in Counting crocodile legs. And check out her new math chapter book Funville Adventures.
- Next semester, my homeschool co-op class will be “Math Storytime,” and I’m finding lots of great books to read at Kelly’s (@KellyDarkeMath) blog. I love how her kids jump into doing the math in Life is No Fun When You’re a Remainder of One. And look at what happens when Magic Emerges from a Cookie Fiasco.
- Graham’s (@gfletchy) daughter doesn’t like to work with fractions. Follow her creative thinking in Reasoning with Fractions Through the Lens of a 10 Yr Old. For older students talking about fractions, see 3-Act Task: A 5th-grade lesson captured.
- Talking math isn’t just for elementary kids. Sarah (@csarahj) draws out students’ understanding — and misunderstandings — in Making A Hodgepodge of High School Number Talks Matter. And be sure to read her moving post I am Those Kids. So much food for thought!
ELEMENTARY EXPLORATION AND MIDDLE SCHOOL MASTERY
- Christina (@BuildMathMinds) discusses The Best Way To Teach Subtraction so that it reinforces a child’s current understanding. And explains how looking at relationships can build Number Sense for Upper Elementary.
- Greg (learn-with-math-games) modifies the traditional 24 Game to explicitly practice multiplication: Combine 4 Numbers. You may also enjoy his Fraction Number Line Concentration game.
- Michelle (@ResearchParent) launches a mixed-grade-level co-op math class using Low Floor High Ceiling Math Problems. And if your child is struggling with the times tables, check out her Interactive Multiplication Cards.
- Iva (@findthefactors) plays around with perfect squares in 961 is a Perfect Square in More Ways Than One. And be sure to explore her daily multiplication logic puzzles.
- If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know I like to play with dot grid paper. So of course, I was delighted to find Spatial Learning’s Isometric Dot Paper Activities, and the follow-up Cube Stack Activity. What a great way to build geometric intuition!
ADVENTURES IN BASIC ALGEBRA & GEOMETRY
- Kate (@k8nowak) takes a look at sense-making in early algebra: Respecting the Intellectual Work of the Grade. And discusses how teachers should approach a new curriculum in FAQ: What Can We Change?
- Mike (@mikeandallie) wonders about the best way to help when his son is Struggling through an AMC 8 problem. You may also enjoy the challenge of Counting paths in a lattice.
- Paula (@PaulaKrieg) explores some beautiful angle relationships in Pentagons, Paper Folding, Stars & Origami. And did you see her amazing crowd-sourced math art? Ta- Dah! I wish I’d remembered this post sooner, so I could try something similar with my co-op classes.
- Michael (@mpershan) and his students struggle with geometry proofs in Study an example, see the world. And he shares his thoughts on Teaching, in General.
- Rupesh’s (rupesh.s.gesota) students reason their way through a Geometry problem, finding several ways to solve it. The next day, they tackle an Extension of the problem and prove the general case.
ADVANCED MATHEMATICAL ENDEAVORS
- Shaun (@theshauncarter) focuses on parent functions to give students a solid understanding: My most used notebook template this year. And check out his wife Sarah’s (@mathequalslove) Two Truths and a Lie: Parent Functions game.
- I like David’s (@DavidKButlerUoA) common-sense approach to Finding an inverse function. But his series of posts exploring Where the complex points are really blew my mind.
- Gary (~antonick) celebrates the U.S. Team Wins First Place at International Math Olympiad with sample problems and an interview. And explores the different ways people approach problem-solving in A Numberplay Farewell.
- Keith (@profkeithdevlin) examines the problem of Mathematics and the Supreme Court. And takes on a classic — and surprisingly difficult — puzzle in Monty Hall may now rest in peace, but his problem will continue to frustrate.
- And don’t miss the fun at our sister blog carnival: 151st Carnival of Mathematics. Update: the 152nd Carnival of Mathematics is now up, too.
- Play is the heart of recreational math, leading to connections between deep ideas. See Simon’s (@Simon_Gregg) post about Arranging things, and about the relationship between Play and Manipulatives.
- Which reminds me of Sara’s (@saravdwerf) post You need a play table in your math classroom! — recently updated with printable play posters. You may also enjoy Even if they say they don’t like doing math, they secretly do. An Experiment you should try.
- Sasha (@aofradkin) shares a delightful math-inspired love story in verse. And check out the fun her students have exploring pentacubes.
- Dan (@MathforLove) collects a series of symmetrical investigations to show how interaction between teachers Makes Teachers Better. And explores how recreational math puzzles can help students learn to think in Overcoming Confirmation Bias with the 2, 4, 6 Puzzle.
- David (@DavidKButlerUoA) demonstrates a cool topology game called Home in One Piece with printable game board and dice. And a giant, printable version of Body-Scale Prime Climb.
- Christy (@housefulofchaos) invents an even-more-ultimate variation on Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe. And explores graph theory relationships in her Logical Graph Game, too. So creative!
- James (@JimPropp) examines a classic brain-teaser with many implications: Impaled on a Fencepost. And have you ever wondered How Do You Write One Hundred in Base 3/2?
- If I end up with Christmas money to spend, I think I’ll buy myself a gift from Shecky’s (@SheckyR) list of Math Books… Year-end Review. Oh, and be sure to check out his Math Frolic Interviews. What a treat!
- Mark (@MarkChubb3) investigates the different ways we might look at an elementary geometry worksheet and discusses how to encourage student thinking. How Many Do You See? (Part 2 of 2) You may also enjoy A few of my favourite blog posts – to read… or inspire writing.
- John (@Jstevens009) considers how to present a textbook lesson that encourages student talk and perseverance. Back To School: The Textbook Teacher. And if you haven’t subscribed to his Tabletalk Math newsletter — what are you waiting for?
- Kristin (@MathMinds) ponders the many ways we can think about Fraction Division and Complex Fractions — and how much all of us can learn from other teachers across the K–12 spectrum. And if you missed it back in May, be sure to read her post Today’s Number: Making Connections.
- My daughter is struggling with online homework in her calculus class — not because the math is too hard, but because the interface is anti-intuitive. So David’s (@davidwees) post resonates with me: Online Practice is Terrible Practice. And I love his challenge to find and teach to the Big Ideas of math.
- Michael (@mpershan) stirs up controversy with A typically wishy-washy take on discovery in math class. And the follow-up post, Addendum: On Discovery and Inquiry.
- I’d like to wrap up the carnival with an article you may have seen before. If you haven’t read it, you’re in for a treat. And if you have, well, it’s very much worth re-reading. Annually. As we wrap up the old year and prepare for the new … Francis’s (@mathyawp) Mathematics for Human Flourishing.
“Shalom and salaam, my friends. Grace and peace to you. May you and all your students flourish.”
— Francis Su
And that rounds up this edition of the Math Teachers at Play carnival.
I hope you enjoyed the ride.
The next installment of our carnival will open sometime during the week of January 22–26, 2018, at … well, we don’t know!
We need more volunteers. Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math (even if the only person you “teach” is yourself) — if you would like to take a turn hosting the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival, please speak up.
To share your favorite blog post with the carnival, please use this handy submission form. Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of preK-12 mathematics. Older-but-still-relevant posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival (at least, not in recent memory).
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival information page.