Welcome to the 162nd edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival — a smorgasbord of delectable tidbits of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine devoted to learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to high school.
Bookmark this post, so you can take your time browsing.
“Krypto Insanity” is free on this website for one week only. It’s 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.
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.
This game will push each player’s mental math skills to the limit. Calculators optional.
Math Concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, order of operations, fractions, decimals, integers, absolute value, powers and roots, factorials.
Players: any number.
Equipment: one deck of playing cards (or two decks for a large group), pencil and paper for each player and for keeping score. Calculator optional.
This game offers students in upper-elementary and beyond plenty of practice with mental math and the order of operations.
“Operations” 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!
Our leaves haven’t started to turn yet, but summer’s on the wane, farmers are busy with harvest, and the back-to-school rush has calmed down into a daily routine.
But if you’re like me, you keep tweaking that routine, constantly looking for the perfect balance for your family or classroom. I especially love to discover easy ways to add more playful math to our schedule.
So here’s a collection of sites that offer fresh math resources on a weekly or monthly basis throughout the school year.
Which one will you try?
Every week, they’ll email you a set of free KenKen arithmetic puzzles for all ages. As the challenge level subtly shifts week to week, students develop their math and logical thinking skills without even knowing it.
Dr Simon Singh, author of the No. 1 bestseller Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets has created a set of weekly maths challenges – just 15-30 minutes of interesting, fun and challenging tidbits of mystery and history, activities and oddities, puzzles and problems.
Help students expand their mathematical horizons beyond the school curriculum and build strong mathematical thinking skills. Stretch your brain every week!
Today we examine a time-tested method to help kids reason about math: Leave out the numbers.
First up, there’s Brian Bushart’s numberless problem bank for young students. Then we’ll look at Farrar Williams’s modern revision of a math teaching classic with problems for upper-elementary and middle school students.
Have fun thinking math with your kids!
Word Problem Bank
Word problems are commonplace in mathematics classrooms, and yet they regularly confound students and lead to frustrated teachers saying things like:
“They just add all the numbers! It doesn’t matter what the problem says.”
“They don’t stop to think! They just start computing as soon as they’re done reading the problem.”
Brian Bushart offers a collection of ready-to-go slide presentations that walk through the steps of making a word problem make sense.
Discover Farrar Williams’s book Numberless Math Problems: A Modern Update of S.Y. Gillian’s Classic Problems Without Figures, available in ebook or paperback.
Williams writes: “In order to answer the question, they’ll have to explain it, because the problem doesn’t give you anything to calculate with. The only way to answer is by explaining your process. See how sneaky a numberless problem is? It makes students really think about the process of solving the problem.”
“When students face a word problem, they often revert to pulling all the numbers out and “doing something” to them. They want to add, subtract, multiply, or divide them, without really considering which operation is the right one to perform or why.
“When you don’t have numbers, it sidesteps that problem.
“For students who freeze up when they see the numbers, this can be a really good way to get them to think about their process with math.”
—Farrar Williams, Math With No Numbers
CREDITS: Feature photo (top) by saeed karimi via Unsplash.com.
So I thought this week, I’d share some of my favorites with you. First up: Problem Solving Tips from James Tanton.
You may know Tanton from the popular Exploding Dots and other activities at the Global Math Project website. But he’s been busy for decades sharing the delight and the beauty of the subject. He currently serves as the Mathematician-at-Large for the Mathematical Association of America.
Read on to discover several of Tanton’s best problem-solving tips for middle school and older students.
Have fun exploring math with your kids!
How to Think like a School Math Genius
In this 4-video series, Tanton presents five key principles for brilliant mathematical thinking, along with loads and loads of examples to explain what he means by each of them. A call for parents and teachers to be mindful of the life thinking we should foster, encourage, promote, embrace and reward — even in a math class!
Two Key — but Ignored —Steps to Solving Any Math Problem
Every challenge or problem we encounter in mathematics (or life!) elicits a human response. The dryness of textbooks and worksheets in the school world might suggest otherwise, but connecting with one’s emotions is fundamental and vital for success — and of course, joy — in doing mathematics.
Essays and videos showing how to approach math puzzles in a way that a) is relevant and connected to the curriculum, and b) revels in deep, joyous, mulling and flailing, reflection, intellectual play and extension, insight, and grand mathematical delight.
Scroll down and start with the Ten Problem-Solving Strategies.
Welcome to the 152nd edition of the Playful Math Education Blog Carnival — a smorgasbord of delectable tidbits of mathy fun. It’s like a free online magazine devoted to learning, teaching, and playing around with math from preschool to high school.
Bookmark this post, so you can take your time browsing. There’s so much playful math to enjoy!
We didn’t have a volunteer host for January, so I’m squeezing this in between other commitments. This is my third no-host-emergency carnival in the last year, which is NOT sustainable. If you’d like to help keep the Playful Math Carnival alive, we desperately need hosts for 2022!
By tradition, we start the carnival with a puzzle or activity in honor of our 152nd edition. But if you’d rather jump straight to our featured blog posts, click here to see the Table of Contents.
Math Journaling with Prime Numbers
Cool facts about 152: The eighth prime number is 19, and 8 × 19 = 152. When you square 152, you get a number that contains all the digits from 0–4. You can make 152 as the sum of eight consecutive even numbers, or as the sum of four consecutive prime numbers.
But 152 has two real claims to fame:
It’s the smallest number that is the sum of the cubes of two distinct odd primes.
And it’s the largest known even number you can write as the sum of two primes in exactly four ways.
So here’s your math investigation prompt:
Play around with prime numbers. Explore their powers, their sums, and anything else about them you like.
What do you notice? What do you wonder?
What’s the most interesting number relationship you can find?