Morning Coffee – 31 August 2020

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your morning coffee this week:

  • David Butler’s post Twelve matchsticks: focus or funnel presents an interesting puzzle. But even better, it opened up a rabbit hole of thought-provoking posts about how to talk with children — or anyone.

“The approach where you have an idea in your head of how it should be done and you try to get the student to fill in the blanks is called funnelling. It’s actually a rather unpleasant experience as a student to be funnelled by a teacher. You don’t know what the teacher is getting at, and often you feel like there is a key piece of information they are withholding from you, and when it comes, the punchline feels rather flat.”

—David Butler
Twelve matchsticks: focus or funnel

Continue reading Morning Coffee – 31 August 2020

Playful Math 140 at Find the Factors

Check out new Playful Math Blog Carnival at Find the Factors blog:

A blog carnival is like a free online monthly magazine of mathematical adventures. And this edition is a great one!

Iva put together a huge collection of articles on learning, teaching, and playing around with math. There’s such a wealth of interesting things to read, you’ll want to bookmark the post and come back to it again and again.

Click here to go read the carnival blog

Continue reading Playful Math 140 at Find the Factors

The Problem with Books These Days

For an indie business, weekends are just another workday. But I suppose with the pandemic and so many people working at home, perhaps that’s true of everyone these days.

I finished the index work on Prealgebra & Geometry Games, and I think I might have the book layout under control. Time to order a proof copy.

I can get an instant digital proof. It looks just like the file I already have on my computer. But the physical book is a whole different thing from a computer file. There are always surprises.

So I want to see a real proof — an actual paperback copy — before I release a book to readers. Wouldn’t you?

And that may be a problem.

Continue reading The Problem with Books These Days

Kenken is Mathematical Play

It’s back-to-school time here in the States. And that means it’s time for the Kenken Classroom Newsletter. Yay for math puzzles!

KenKen arithmetic puzzles build mental math skills, logical reasoning, persistence, and mathematical confidence.

Free via email every Friday during the school year.

What a great way to prepare your children for success in math!

Sign up anytime:

Click Here for KenKen Classroom Newsletter

Continue reading Kenken is Mathematical Play

More Math You Can Play — for Free

favorite-math-gamesThe Kickstarter is done, and today I’m kicking back and resting a bit. (And running into town for some errands, because life never stops.)

But even as I’m taking it easy around here, I know many of you are looking for ways to help your children learn to play with math.

So click the button below to go see all the games I’ve posted on my blog over the years. All free for your family’s use, and most of them don’t require anything more than a deck of cards or some paper and pencil.

My Favorite Math Games

So many great ways to play math with your kids. Have fun!

It’s Almost Gone

“Denise’s books are always the first math books I recommend to parents. I have used them both with co-ops and at home, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for her latest book, Prealgebra & Geometry Games, because there is SUCH a need for games at this level! I could even scale down many of the games for my second grader. Middle school moms and those with math loving kids of any age, check this out!”

—Casey Ogg Maupin
Big Juicy Conversations about Math (Facebook group)

UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)

Continue reading It’s Almost Gone

The Best Math Game Ever

The Substitution Game features low-floor, high-ceiling cooperative play that works with any age (or with a mixed-age group) — and you can use it while distance learning, too. It’s great for building algebraic thinking.

Excerpted from my upcoming book, Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.

The Substitution Game

Math Concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, order of operations, integers, fractions, equivalence and substitution.

Players: any number (a cooperative game).

Equipment: whiteboard and markers (preferred) or pencil and paper to share. Calculator optional.

Continue reading The Best Math Game Ever

Morning Coffee – 24 August 2020

Morning Coffee image

One of the best ways we can help our children learn mathematics (or anything else) is to always be learning ourselves.

Here are a few stories to read with your morning coffee this week…

“We are all mathematicians. We all have the power to notice, describe, and generalize patterns. You have all had this ability since birth. If we believe this then every day we must plan lessons that allow students to act as mathematicians. We must put something in front of our students to notice. We must put something in front of our students to describe, to generalize.”

—Sara VanDerWerf
What is Math? What do Mathematicians do?

Continue reading Morning Coffee – 24 August 2020

Keeping Busy

Since I started a blog streak in early August, I thought I’d see how long I can keep it going.

So this is what’s called in the industry a “placeholder” post. It keeps the blog streak live, even though I really don’t have anything to say.

In addition to working on my Prealgebra & Geometry Games index and finishing up the math activity booklets, I’ve been getting to know Mariah — taking long walks, and just plain having doggy fun.

Friday night, we discovered that she loves to fetch tennis balls — although she’s not so keen on the idea of giving them back so we can throw them again.

Oh, and she can catch a treat in the air. Smart dog!

Journaling Pages

This afternoon, I’ve been working on the printable pdf math activity booklets I’ll be sending out as stretch goals to the backers of my Math You Can Play Kickstarter campaign.

Some of the booklets include dot grid pages for student journaling.

I love dot grid pages for writing because I can start a line anywhere on the page, and the dots help me keep things in line. (They’re also great for doodling.)

As students wrestle their thoughts into shape and create explanations, they do the same sort of work that mathematicians do every day. It’s difficult for children (or anyone) to pin down a thought and put it into words. But it’s great practice for life.

Journaling is a great practice for adult learners, too — and don’t we all want to be lifelong learners?

So I thought I’d share the journaling pages with you all, in case you’d like to get your children writing about math. There are three styles, ranging from plain to ornate parchment. Enjoy!

Download the Journaling Pages

UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)