Number Strings as a Math Warm-Up…

…or cool down, or any time a teacher wants to get students working mental math.

Number strings are short mental math activities designed so that students work several calculations in their head then provide the answer in chorus, either verbally, with whiteboards, fingers or pencil and paper. Have students write their answer on their personal whiteboard and place it upside down on their desks. (To avoid excessive drawing, remind students that you want to hear their marker “click”.)

When directed, students will show their answer to the teacher, who immediately checks for comprehension and enthusiastically provides an answer to each student (“I challenge your answer” or “Yes!”).

In addition to providing a teacher with instant formative assessment, number strings offer the opportunity to integrate mathematics throughout the curriculum. Use the following samples or write your own!

First Grade:

Begin with the number of legs on a cat. (4)
Add the number of wheels on a bicycle (4 + 2 = 6)
Subtract the number of teachers in the classroom right now (6 – ?)

When I say: “Show me the answer”, I want you to raise the same number of fingers in the air as your answer.

“Are you ready?  Show me the answer!”

Second Grade:

Start with the number of halves in a whole. (2)
Triple that number. (2 x 3 = 6)
Add the number of sides on a rectangle (6 + 4 = 10)

Write your answer on your whiteboard and flip it upside down. Hold it high over your head when I say: “Show me the answer!”

Third Grade:

Begin with the number of legs on an ant. (6)
Multiply by the number of legs on a spider. (6 x 8 = 48)
Divide by the number of legs on a human. (48 ÷ 2 = 24)
Subtract the number of legs on a horse. (24 – 4 = 20)

Sixth Grade:

Begin with the number of days in a leap year. (366)
Subtract the number of months in a year. (366 – 12 = 354)
Subtract the number of days in May. (354 – 30 = 324)
Add the number of days in a week. (324 + 7 = 331)

Happy Square Root Day!

From Yahoo news:

Dust off the slide rules and recharge the calculators. Square Root Day is upon us.

The math-buffs’ holiday, which only occurs nine times each century, falls on Tuesday — 3/3/09 (for the mathematically challenged, three is the square root of nine).

“These days are like calendar comets, you wait and wait and wait for them, then they brighten up your day — and poof — they’re gone,” said Ron Gordon, a Redwood City teacher who started a contest meant to get people excited about the event.

Be sure to get your fill of square carrots and radishes, there are only 6 left in this century:

1/1/01
2/2/04
3/3/09
4/4/16
5/5/25
6/6/36
7/7/49
8/8/64
9/9/81

Image via flickr user denaldo

World Maths Day 2009

wmd_logo_maths_m

This annual event will be held on March 4th, 2009 and will last as long as it is March 4th somewhere in the world. From the World Maths Day website:

Unite with students and schools from around the world to set a new world record! The Challenge – to correctly answer more than 182,445,169 questions in 48 hours.

Students play against each other in real time playing mental math games.  Each game lasts for 60 seconds, students can play as many games as they wish. The questions are appropriately leveled for different ages and abilities and cover basic math facts. Of course, this is a free program, but time to register is running short. Teachers register their teams and are provided with a unique login and password for each student. When students login, they watch on a map as they are connected with students around the world to compete against.

Have fun and keep an eye out for students from a certain Math Club in Colorado.

Teaching Primary School Mathematics update

Teaching Primary School MathematicsTPSM2

I recently noticed that the fabulous resource, Teaching Primary School Mathematics: A Resource Book has been updated for a second edition. The preface states that the second edition has been updated to:

be in line with the latest 2007 syllabus…The major difference in the 2007 syllabus at the primary school level is the introduction of the use of hand-held calculators at the Primary 5 and 6 levels.

Going page by page through the book, the only difference is in one sentence on page 26 regarding the use of calculators for Primary 5 and 6 levels now being encouraged by the CPDD (Curriculum Planning and Development Division) as opposed to being encouraged by the author.

If you are teaching the Singapore Math curriculum at your school, you should have a copy of this book. Having reviewed them both, I can now advise you, it doesn’t matter which edition.

Pi Day Resources

Pi Day is rapidly approaching. This year it is on Saturday, March 14th –  but don’t miss out! Teachers can observe this “holiday” on Friday, March 13th instead.

Here are some great sites to help you celebrate with your students.

Official Pi Day Site

Pi, Pi  Mathematical Pi
Song and animation. Enjoy!

TeachPi.org
Source on the web for teachers who want to find or share ideas for Pi Day activities, learning, and entertainment.

WikiHow: How to Celebrate Pi Day.
Tips on making this day (celebrated on March 14 at 1:59pm) memorable to one and all.

The Joy of Pi
Web site includes links, facts and information about the book:  The Joy of Pi.

San Francisco’s Exploratorium’s 2009 Pi Day site
Plenty of Pi Day resources, including Pi-Ku:

A circumference
divide by diameter
irrational pi.
– Paul D

Ever wanted to see the Pi drop? Here’s your site. They will be celebrating on Friday, March 13th to accommodate students.
Contest entry deadline is March 20th. From the Goudreau Museum of Mathematics in Art and Science.
(Did you know such a place existed? Plan your next vacation in New Hyde Park, NY!)

National Engineers Week

To celebrate National Engineers Week and promote innovative ways to teach math and science to children, Raytheon Companywill host a series of child-friendly, hands-on science and math demonstrations at Epcot(R) Theme Park. Raytheon also announced plans to launch “The Sum of All Thrills” at Epcot in fall, 2009:

The exhibit, set to open fall 2009, will engage children through a fun, entertaining and informative experience that helps instill a lifelong passion for math, science and technology.

Raytheon sponsors the MathMovesU online program aimed at stimulating middle schooler’s interest in math and science.

Introduce a girl to engineering day. Info on this part of National Engineers Week.

Don’t miss Discover Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. on February 21st, 2009.

The First Post

There has to be a first one, right? I’ve added a blog to my Singapore Math pages to provide ongoing information about Singapore Math, elementary mathematics, news and anything I find interesting and math-y. You can expect that it will focus on elementary level mathematics and lesson ideas.  Anything within than realm goes!

Look around.

Enjoy.

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