Math Game Monday: Make and Take

“Make and Take” is free on this website for one week only. It’s an excerpt from Math You Can Play Combo: Number Games for Young Learners, available as an ebook at my bookstore (Thank you for cutting out the middleman!) and in ebook or paperback through many online retailers. Read more about my playful math books here.

Many parents remember struggling to learn math. We hope to provide a better experience for our children.

And one of the best ways for children to enjoy learning is through hands-on play.

In this game, players use addition and subtraction to make the challenge number chosen by their opponent.

Make and Take

Math Concepts: addition, subtraction, multistep calculation.

Players: only two.

Equipment: one deck of playing cards, face cards removed.

Continue reading Math Game Monday: Make and Take

Why I Love This Book

To everyone supporting my Kickstarter project so far: thank you ever so much! We’ve blown past our funding target, and we’re now working on the Stretch Goals to see how many extras we can add to improve the book.

If you haven’t backed the project yet, check out what you’re missing:

Visit the Kickstarter

Why I love Word Problems from Literature

As a math coach, I love teaching adults and children how to learn math through play. And I’ve written several books full of games and activities to help families play math together.

I show parents and teachers how to look at math with fresh eyes. To explore the adventure of learning math as mental play, which is the essence of creative problem-solving. Mathematics is not just rules and rote memory. Math is a game, playing with ideas.

But at heart, I’ve always been a fiction fan — especially fantasy fiction. And this book, Word Problems from Literature, lets me bring that love of story to the surface.

This is one of my all-time favorite books, and I’ve had so much fun with this new edition: adding stories, writing make-your-own-problem prompts, sneaking extra teaching tips into the worked-out solutions, creating an almost-magical guide to helping kids learn math.

I’ve taken a few screenshots to let you peek inside the new edition. If you like what you see, come over to the Kickstarter and order your copy today.

Playful Math 157 via Math Mama Writes

Would you like some great ideas for reading and playing math with your kids?

Sue VanHattum put together a delightful collection of books, geometric constructions, activities, and inspiration in the latest Playful Math Carnival:

What are you waiting for? Come join the fun!

Click Here to Read the Carnival Blog

Help Us Keep the Carnival Going

The Playful Math Blog Carnival wants you!

Each monthly Playful Math Carnival brings you a great new collection of puzzles, math conversations, 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.

The carnival is a joint effort. We depend on our volunteer hosts to collect blog posts and write the carnival each month.

Putting together a blog carnival can be a lot of work, but it’s a great opportunity to share the work of bloggers you admire and to discover new math-friends online. I love that part of being a host!

Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, college professors, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math — if you would like to take a turn hosting the carnival, please speak up!

CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by Iva Sallay.

Why Word Problems?

Wow! My Word Problems from Literature Kickstarter is just barreling along. I love seeing how many people are interested in a playful approach to teaching math.

Check It Out

But you might wonder: Why do I care so much about word problems?

In many textbooks, word problems are an afterthought tacked on to the end of a math lesson.

For me, it’s just the opposite. Word problems are the key part of a lesson, because that’s where children come face-to-face with the meanings of math concepts.

The Key to Learning Math

If we want our children to learn real math, we need to offer them plenty of problems to solve. A child may work through several pages of number calculations by rote, following memorized steps, but a good problem demands more thought.

A story problem puts flesh on the abstract bones of arithmetic. Word problems encourage children to ponder what it means for one thing to be bigger than another, or smaller, or faster, or slower, or made up of several parts.

Word Problems from Literature will feed your child’s mathematical imagination with story problems inspired by classic books, from 2nd-grade stories based on Mr. Popper’s Penguins to prealgebra stumpers inspired by The Lord of the Rings.

And when you finish my puzzles, I’ll show you how to create your own word problems from literature, using your children’s favorite story worlds.

The Trouble with Word Problems

Most young children solve math problems by the flash-of-insight method: They hear the problem, and they know by instinct how to solve it.

This is fine for simple problems like “Four kittens played with a yarn ball. Two more kittens came to join the fun. Then how many kittens were playing with the yarn ball?”

When problems grow more difficult, however, that flash of insight becomes less reliable, so we find our children fidgeting with their paper or staring out the window. They complain, “I don’t know what to do. It’s too hard.”

Too often, the frustrated child concludes, “I’m just not good at math.”

But the truth is that nobody is good at math, if you define “good at math” to mean they can see the answer instantly. Here’s a more useful definition: You’re good at math if you have problem-solving tools and know how to use them.

And that is something everyone can learn.

Word Problems from Literature and the Word Problems Student Workbook will show you how. Order your copies today!

Visit the Kickstarter

Kickstarter Loves My New Book!

To everyone who has supported my Kickstarter project: thank you ever so much! We funded in only five hours, and the Kickstarter people honored us with a “Projects We Love” tag.

If you haven’t backed the project yet, check out what you’re missing:

Visit the Kickstarter

Now it’s on to the Stretch Goals, where each new level we unlock will pay for a higher-quality book in the end. Your support will bring into reality a “Be a Math Detective” motivational poster for all backers, additional illustrations for the main text and student workbook, and even new chapters on solving problems with decimals, ratios, percents, and more.

It’s a collaborative project — how high can we go?

Share the Word Problems from Literature project with your friends, and let’s spread the joy of learning math the creative way!

Launch Day! Act Now To Get the Earlybird Bonus

And so it begins: Word Problems from Literature is LIVE on Kickstarter…

Check It Out

PLUS, for everyone who supports the project today, you get a free bonus book with one of my best-loved playful math activities for all ages: “How Crazy Can You Make It?”

The more backers who join the project early — especially on this first day — the more likely it is that the Kickstarter algorithms will kick in and share the campaign with even more people.

Let’s show the whole world how much fun it can be to play around with math!

Go to the Kickstarter

Math Game Monday: Exponent Number Train

This game pushes middle-school students to deepen their understanding of multiplication and exponents.

“Exponent Number Train” is an excerpt from Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School, available as an ebook at my bookstore (Thank you for cutting out the middleman!) and in ebook or paperback through many online retailers. Read more about my playful math books here.

The Math Game Monday posts will be available for one week only. If you missed this one, explore the Topic Tag links in the sidebar. There are more than forty free games scattered around the blog. Have fun playing math with your kids!

I’ve Never Done This Before…

My newest playful math book, Word Problems from Literature (2nd Edition) launches next week. I can hardly wait!

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(free Kickstarter account required)

This Kickstarter project will be a bit different from the ones I’ve run in the past. Here’s a quick peek at three new things to come.

This is going to be so much fun.

Bonus Book for Early Backers

To have a successful campaign, we need plenty of people to back the project early. The more supporters we get — especially on the first day — the more likely the Kickstarter service folks will help spread the news for us.

So this time around, I’m offering a special bonus math activity guide for everyone who joins the campaign at any pledge level during the first 48 hours.

This is one of my favorite open-ended number play activities, which works with students from elementary to high school. (And aren’t those dogs on the cover just the cutest?)

There will be additional sign-up bonuses each week of the campaign, and early backers get them all. Whether you pledge on day 1 or day 21, your pledge won’t be charged until the end of the campaign, so join early to lock in your bonus perks.

Make Your Child a Character

“Tuckerization” is when a writer names one of the characters in their story after a real person. For the first time ever, I’m offering a tuckerization reward level.

Your child can be a character in one of the prealgebra story problems. I’ve got 4 slots available:

  • rogue space smuggler
  • captive prince/princess (or the dragon, if you prefer)
  • fantasy warrior king/queen
  • a starship captain or the ship’s engineer

The first backer to contact me gets the first choice of character.

Book Club Workshop

Join together with four friends to study playful math. When you buy five (or more) copies of Word Problems from Literature, you can schedule a private, 60- to 90-minute Zoom meeting between me and your group.

We can chat about teaching or about any of my playful math resources. Or you can ask me whatever you like about math or homeschooling. It’ll be a blast!

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Math Game Monday: Tens Go Fish

This mathematical version of a traditional childhood game builds counting and addition skills — and it’s fun, too!

“Tens Go Fish” is an excerpt from Counting & Number Bonds: Math Games for Early Learners, available as an ebook at my bookstore (Thank you for cutting out the middleman!) and in ebook or paperback through many online retailers. Read more about my playful math books here.

The Math Game Monday posts will be available for one week only. If you missed this one, explore the Topic Tag links in the sidebar. There are more than forty free games scattered around the blog. Have fun playing math with your kids!