April showers have ushered in May flowers — and a second Math Calendar, with daily puzzles from my homeschool co-op students. Get your copy here:

## Puzzle: Factoring Trinomials

My high school class ended the year with a review of multiplying and factoring simple polynomials. We played this matching game, and then I gave them a puzzle worksheet. I liked this idea, but I didn’t like the decoded answer. In my opinion, puzzles should give the student a “reward” for solving them — maybe a joke or riddle or something — but that answer seemed almost like nagging.

So I changed things around to make my own version:

## Math Club Plans

*[Photo by FXR [aka Soundz’FX].]*

Our homeschool co-op classes start today, and I’m not ready. I never am. Life keeps going, anyway.

## Substitute Teacher Experiments with Combinatorics

*Photo by peigianlong.*

Here is a puzzle from Just a Substitute Teacher:

Lesson plan entry:“Hand out worksheet packets and have students staple before starting. They know what to do.”Sounds simple enough! Four numbered sheets, eight total pages, printed front and back. What could go wrong?

Do you know how many possible combinations four pieces of paper can be arranged for stapling?

Continue reading Substitute Teacher Experiments with Combinatorics

## Way To Go, Boys!

*Photo by ccarlstead.*

Congratulations, math team! All your hard work paid off, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves thoroughly. Of course, as C. S. Lewis wrote:

…if you do one good deed, your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.

Now it’s time to practice for the state level in March. You can find practice problems online at:

Preparation Drills for MATHCOUNTS

or

~~The “Go Figure!” math challenge~~

[ACK! MathCounts has re-written their website. The old link is no longer any good, but I haven’t yet found the new location for this game.]

And give the new interactive Countdown Round game a try:

## More Fun with Hexa-Trex

My elementary Math Club students had fun practicing their math facts and “out of the box” thinking with Hexa-Trex puzzles. The object of Hexa-Trex is to find a path through all the number and operation tiles to make a true equation. The “Easy” puzzles are just the right level for my 4th-5th grade students, although they get stumped whenever the equations require Order of Operations. One girl enjoyed the puzzles enough to take our extra pages home for her dad.

Hexa-Trex puzzles were featured in the October issue of Games magazine, and now you can enjoy Hexa-Trex away from the computer with Bogusia Gierus‘s new book, The First Book of Hexa-Trex Puzzles. If you are thinking ahead to Christmas (can it be that time already?!), and if you have a puzzle lover in the family, this little book would make a fun stocking-stuffer.

Want to help your kids learn math? Claim your free 24-page problem-solving booklet, and sign up to hear about new books, revisions, and sales or other promotions.