Math Makes Sense — Let’s Teach It That Way

I had forgotten this video, and then rediscovered it yesterday and loved it just as much as ever. Perhaps you’ll enjoy it, too — especially if you think of yourself as “not a math person.”

Annie Fetter is talking to classroom teachers, but her message is just as important for homeschoolers. Math is all about making sense. Let’s help our kids see it that way.

You can download the notes for Fetter’s updated session on sense-making and find several links to wonderful, thought-provoking posts on her blog:

How Can We Encourage Sense-Making?

Here are some ideas from Fetter’s updated notes, which expand on her comments in the video above:

  • Get rid of the question. Literally.
  • Ask students “What could the question be?”
  • Get rid of the question and the numbers.
  • Give the answer.
  • Or give several answers.
  • Ask about ideas, not answers.
  • Ask “Why?” or “How did you know?” or “How did you decide that?” or “Tell me more about that.”
  • Use active reading strategies.

Get this free downloadable poster from Teacher Trap via Teachers Pay Teachers.

A Few Resources to Practice Sense-Making

In no particular order…

“I implore you, stop ‘cracking the math code.’ Make sense-making the focus of every single thing you do in your math classroom.”

—Annie Fetter
Sense Making: It isn’t Just for Literacy Anymore

CREDITS: “Building a rocket ship” photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash. “Reading is thinking” poster by Teacher Trap via Teachers Pay Teachers.

Playful Math Carnival 127 at Find the Factors

Check out the latest carnival of playful math for all ages:

Iva put together this carnival of mathematical fun with numbers and shapes, math art and creative writing, games, Desmos activities, books to read with your kids, history, optical illusions, fractions, exponents, statistics, linear equations, and more — even an egg hunt.

Each monthly Playful Math Education Blog Carnival brings you a great new collection of puzzles, math conversations, crafts, teaching tips, and all sorts of mathy fun.

It’s like a free online magazine of mathematical adventures, helpful and inspiring no matter when you read them. Enjoy!

Click Here to Read the Carnival Blog

Want to Join in the Fun?

Do you have a favorite blog post about math activities, games, lessons, or hands-on fun? The Playful Math Blog Carnival would love to feature your article!

We welcome math topics from preschool through the first year of calculus. Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival.

To submit a blog article for consideration, fill out this form:

Click Here to Share Your Post

Have you noticed a new math blogger on your block that you’d like to introduce to the rest of us? Feel free to submit another blogger’s post in addition to your own. Beginning bloggers are often shy about sharing, but like all of us, they love finding new readers.

CREDITS: “Fireworks” photo (top) by Ray Hennessy and “Adulting done right” (treats) photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

Math Game: Six Hundred

Today I’m working on the next book in my Math You Can Play series, culling the games that don’t fit. Six Hundred is a fine game, but I can’t figure out how it landed in the prealgebra manuscript…

Math Concepts: addition, multiplication, parity (odd or even).
Players: any number.
Equipment: six regular 6-sided dice (my math club kids love this set), free printable score sheet, pen or pencil.

Click Here for the Score Sheet

Set-Up

A full game consists of eighteen rounds of play. Players may share the dice and score sheet, taking turns around the table. But for a large group you may want to have extras, so that two or more people can be rolling their dice at the same time.

How to Play

On your turn, roll all six dice up to three times. After each roll, you may set aside one or more dice to keep for scoring, if you wish. Once a die has been set aside, you may not change your mind and roll it again.

After the third roll, choose an unused category on your score sheet. Count the dice according to the rules for that section, and write down your score. If your dice do not fit anywhere, then you must take a zero in the category of your choice.

When all players have filled their score sheet and recorded any appropriate bonuses (or penalties), whoever has the highest score wins.

Scoring

Dice are scored in eighteen categories, in four sections, as follows. The maximum possible score is 600 points.

Numbers

Record the sum of only the dice showing that number. For example, if you rolled 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, you could score 2 in the Ones category. Or you could score 12 in the Fours category, or zero in the Fives.

Bonus: If the combined Numbers score is 80 or more, add 35 points to your total.

Rungs (1–4)

Score the total of all six dice. Like a ladder, the score in each rung must be greater than the one before it. Rung 1 gets the lowest number, and Rung 4 the highest.

You may fill in the rungs in any order. But if you write 18 in Rung 2, then the score in Rung 1 must be 17 or less, and the score in Rung 3 must be at least 19.

Penalty: If the Rung scores don’t fit the ascending value rule, this category is worth zero.

Clusters

Score the total of all six dice, if they fit the rules for that category.

  • Four of a Kind: at least four dice show the same number.
  • Five of a Kind: at least five dice show the same number.
  • Odds: all six dice show odd numbers.
  • Evens: all six dice show even numbers.
Patterns

Score the amount shown for each pattern.

  • Series: 30 points you roll 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • Pairs: 30 points if you roll three pairs of matching numbers. Four dice showing the same number may be counted as two pairs.
  • Triplets: 30 points if you roll two sets of three dice with the same numbers, such as three 2s and three 5s.
  • Sextet: 36 points when all six dice show the same number.
Game Bonus

If you score at least one point in all eighteen categories, or if the only zero you take is for the sextet, then award yourself an additional 36 points.

History

Players around the world have played poker-style dice games for ages. I grew up with Yahtzee, but you may know the game by Yatzy, Yacht, Generala, or another name.

Reiner Knizia included this mathematical version in his book Dice Games Properly Explained. And I found it online at Michael Ayers’s Stick Insect blog.

John Golden posted a simpler “Mathzee” game played with five dice on his Math Hombre blog — and while you’re there, be sure to check out his amazing Math Games page.

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by rekre89 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Playful Math Carnival 126 at Math Mama Writes

Check out the new playful math blog carnival at Math Mama Writes blog. Sue put together a great collection of geometry constructions, story problem ideas, teaching tips, and more:

It’s like a free online magazine of mathematical adventures. Enjoy!

Click here to go read the carnival blog

And if you’re a blogger, be sure to submit your blog post for next month’s carnival!

Do You Want More Ways to Play with Math?

Past carnivals are still full of mathy treasure. See them all on Pinterest: