Printable Activity Guides

Since my publishing house opened its online store last month, I’ve been busy stocking the shelves with printable math activities for all ages.

It’s a fun collection of low- or no-prep ideas for playing math with your kids.

And it’s still growing. I’m pouring through old notes of my favorite projects from years of playing math with the kids in our math clubs and homeschool co-op enrichment classes, looking for ideas.

Someday, I hope to combine these books into a creative math “uncurriculum” for homeschoolers. Stay tuned to this blog for more news about that. Eventually…

Which One Will You Try?

We’ve made a few of the guides free: the first two Geometric Coloring Designs books, and the beautiful sample games from my Math You Can Play Kickstarter project.

For the rest, we’ve kept our prices as low as possible to fit struggling family budgets — less than a cup of coffee at my favorite cafe, back when we could still go out for a sweet, creamy cuppa.

Just go to our online store and click the “Printable Activity Guides” button to check out all the mathy fun.

Click Any Title for Details

Here are all the books we’ve posted so far.

Free Books:

Math Art:

Games and Puzzles:

Problem-Solving Skills:

My eventual goal is to have enough

Did You Get Your Books?

One more time, because I’m still finding people who didn’t get their Kickstarter rewards…

To Everyone Who Supported the Math You Can Play Kickstarter

Thank you so much! I’m amazed and awed by how many people from all around the world showed interest in my books. You’re the greatest!

ALL the pledge rewards have now been sent, both digital and physical books.

Everyone should have received two emails:

  • Stretch Goals, four printable pdf math activity books.
  • Your digital (ebook) rewards and printable gameboard files.

Even if you ordered paperbacks, you should have gotten the digital book email.

But we’ve had trouble with things getting lost in the tangles of the internet. If you don’t see these emails, check your Spam folder — or if you use Gmail, look in the Promotions or Updates tab.

If you did NOT receive the emails mentioned above, please let me know!!

You can contact me through Kickstarter or use the About/Contact page on this blog to send me a message.

P.S.: There are still two people who ordered (and paid for) paperbacks but haven’t filled out the Kickstarter survey. I can’t mail out your book package until I get an address. If you can’t find the survey email, feel free to message me directly.

Boxes for the Postman

Here’s another round of books for the Math You Can Play Kickstarter. Almost finished.

If you backed the Kickstarter, thank you!

You should have already received the following:

  • An email with links to your Stretch Goals, four printable pdf math activity books.
  • A second email with links to your digital (ebook) rewards and printable gameboard files.
  • A survey asking for your address, if you ordered paperback books.

And most of you should have already received your paperbacks in the mail. The packages above are for those who ordered the 9-book paperback set. Hopefully, they’ll get to you sometime next week.

If you did NOT receive the emails mentioned above, please let me know!!

We’ve had some trouble with things getting lost in the tangles of the internet. You can contact me through Kickstarter or use the About/Contact page on this blog to send me a message.

And if you are one of the two people who bought paperbacks but still haven’t filled out the survey, please do that soon. I can’t mail out your book package until I get an address.

The Gerrymander Math Project

With a big election on the horizon, now is a great time to talk about the math of politics.

Does “One person, one vote” make a fair democracy?

Or does it give the majority license to trample a minority?

How can planners arrange voting districts to give everyone the best representation? And is that really what politicians would do, if they had the choice?

Try the Gerrymander Project with your students to investigate these questions and spark real-world mathematical discussion.

First, Create a Map

[Or buy a copy of my printable activity guide, The Gerrymander Project: Math in the World of Politics, which includes a prepared city map with more detailed instructions, answers, and journaling prompts. My publisher has extended the 10% discount code TBLTOP10 through to Election Day, 3 November 2020.]

  • Print a blank hundred chart or outline a 10×10 square on grid paper. This represents your city. Give it a name.
  • Pull out your colored pencils. Choose one color for your city’s Majority Party and another for the Minority Party.
  • Color 10 squares in a neutral color for non-voting areas. These might be malls or parks or the downtown business district — your choice.
  • Color the remaining 90 blocks in a random distribution so that 60% are the Majority color and 40% the Minority. How will you choose which squares to make which colors? Can you think of a way to use dice or playing cards to make your choices random, yet still get the right proportion?

Slip your finished map into a clear page protector, so you can mark on it with dry-erase markers. Or make several copies, so you can write on them without destroying the original.

Then Gerrymander Your City

“Gerrymandering” is the American political tradition of adjusting the voting district boundaries to favor one’s own party at the expense of one’s opponents.

The city has hired you to mark out 10 new voting districts of 9 squares each (not counting the neutral squares, which can go in any district). The squares in each district must touch side-to-side, not just meet at a corner.

So now you get to play “political hack.”

First, see how fair you can make the map:

  • What happens if you ignore the party colors and make your districts as compact as possible, so the people living nearest to each other vote together? Will the Majority Party always win?
  • Can you give all your voters a proportional representation? Both parties should win the number of districts that most closely matches their percentage of the voting population.

Next, try your hand at gerrymandering, but make sure all the squares in each district stay connected. Can you create ten voting districts that will guarantee:

  • A come-from-behind triumph for the Minority Party? They need to carry at least six districts to wrest control of the City Council from their opponents.
  • The greatest possible margin of victory for the Majority Party? Can you keep the Minority from winning any districts at all?

Share Your Thoughts

I’d love to hear your students’ reaction to this project. Please share in the comments section below.

For myself, the more I play with this project, the more I admire the work done by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. Our Electoral College divides the country into “districts” based on state boundaries, giving each a vote roughly proportional to its population — but in a way that slightly strengthens the Minority Party. The system may not be perfect, but it’s done an amazing job through the centuries of maintaining a balance of power, making sure that neither major political party can destroy the other.

Which is NOT to say that our country always protects the rights of true minorities. Clearly, that’s an ongoing struggle.

But overall, the political parties stay relatively balanced, making for a stable government. After more than two centuries, we still have, as Ben Franklin said, “a republic, if you can keep it.”

Prealgebra & Geometry Preorders

My book Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School is scheduled for release to regular bookstores in February, 2021. Because no publisher wants to send a new book into the world during such hectic, unsettled times as a big election, the winter holidays, or during inauguration season.

But preorder links are beginning to appear at several of the major online booksellers. And more stores will join them, as the information filters through their website systems.

The paperback will also be up for preorder, whenever the sites catch that update.

And remember: If you don’t favor a particular bookstore, you can buy the early-release ebook right now at my publisher’s webstore — and get a 10% discount if you order before 15 October.

Math Journals for Kids and Adults

Journaling is a fantastic way to learn and remember any topic — including math. That’s why I created my dot grid journals for kids and adults.

But I just discovered that my printer hates journals and blank books. They refuse to publish them any more.

How frustrating!

So from now on, you can only get my math journals from Amazon. The largest-river-in-the-world store doesn’t mind dot grid pages (so far).

Silver Lining: Because the books aren’t available to regular bookstores, I don’t have to allow for the traditional bookstore discount. Which means I can cut the prices. By a LOT — the new prices are 30% off the original cost of the books!

Continue reading Math Journals for Kids and Adults

I Love Fall! Here’s a Special Offer to Celebrate

Summer’s gone, and the beautiful, brisk days of harvest season have arrived in all their glory.

Fall is definitely my favorite time of year.

This fall, my publishing company opened a store where you can buy direct from us. When you choose to cut out the middleman, we authors get paid 50% more royalties. Thank you for your support!

You get a bonus, too: When you buy direct from our online store, you get DRM-free ebook files in your choice of format — including printable pdf files not available in bookstores. And if you need help, our friends at BookFunnel will be more than happy to walk you through the steps of transferring ebook files to your phone or device.

Best of all, you can pick up the exclusive publisher’s-edition ebook of my long-awaited Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School (scheduled for publication to regular bookstores in February 2021).

So even if you missed the Kickstarter, you won’t miss out on playing math with your middle-school kids this fall.

Special Offer: Use the coupon code TBLTOP10 at checkout to save 10% off your purchase. (Expires 15 October 2020.)

Click Here to Shop Our Online Store

Proofreading 2

To keep the books in a series looking like they go together, I use each finished book as the starting template for the next one. That way, all my paragraphs use the same fonts, all headings are the same size, and the titles line up on the cover.

It’s a handy publishing trick that saves time and keeps everything looking right.

Until it doesn’t.

Continue reading Proofreading 2

Proofreading

Still working on the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book. I got a paperback proof from Amazon, which is not my primary printer but could print it faster.

The graphics look better than the first time around. Success there.

So now I’m reading through and trying to catch any of the little errors (or sometimes not so little!) that managed to sneak past all the rounds of editing.

There are always errors. It’s like trying to get all the burrs out of the dog’s coat this time of year. No matter how hard you work at it, you’ll always miss a few…

Limited Time: If You Missed the Kickstarter

Do you still want a chance at the Kickstarter book deals? Or did a friend of yours miss out?

I’ve had a couple of requests from people who missed the campaign deadline but still wanted to order a book. So for a limited time, I’m taking direct orders at the Kickstarter price.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the Kickstarter page and read through the pledge levels on the sidebar. Decide which level you want to buy.
  2. Send me a direct message through Kickstarter, or come back to the blog and use the contact form here.
  3. I’ll reply with details on how to order directly through Paypal.

This offer will expire in about a week — whenever Kickstarter finishes processing all the pledges and sends me their paperwork. So if you want to make an order, do it quickly.