Teaching Operations with Scientific Notation

Teaching operations with scientific notation has been a tough topic for me to teach in the past.  I feel like every time I teach something it becomes easier and easier to teach.  I learn from the students what works and what doesn’t.  As I teach I also learn nuances about the topic that help me to support my students better.  Teaching how to multiply, divide, add, and subtract two numbers that are in scientific notation lives as one of the greatest example of this process for me. Continue reading Teaching Operations with Scientific Notation

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8 Scale Drawing Activities

Getting started

Looking for ideas on teaching scale drawings? You are in the right place!   If you are looking for how to teach this concept then read this post first about I Can Statements and scale drawings.  Or, if you want to see how to introduce this topic through discovery & interactive notes, check out this post.  In this post you’ll find 8 engaging scale drawing activities to practice in your classroom. Continue reading 8 Scale Drawing Activities

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Using a discovery lab to introduce students to the proportional relationships in scale drawings.

Teaching Scale Drawings through Discovery

Teaching scale drawings always seems like a fun, activity based concept to learn. But what makes it really important for students is that it helps them apply proportions in a real-life way. When they really understand scale drawings, they are also that much better at solving and understanding proportional relationships. I already talked about how I chunk out the learning targets for this skill here. And I’ve shared in an earlier post about my first experience teaching with a discovery lab. Now I’m excited to share with you all the discovery lab and foldable notes I used to teach scale drawings and proportional relationships. Continue reading Teaching Scale Drawings through Discovery

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Using I Can Statements in a Math Interactive Notebook

I Can Statements…

When Common Core became the standards a few years ago I remember the introduction of I Can statements.  I was taking some graduate classes at that time for instructional design and we were learning about lesson objectives.  The common wisdom is that lesson objectives should have what students would be able to do at the end of the lesson and be measurable.  Then, I heard about I Can statements and how they were written from the point of view of the student.  This was very intriguing to me, but I didn’t know what to do with it.

Continue reading Using I Can Statements in a Math Interactive Notebook

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Practical ways to break down scale drawings. Using I Can statements when teaching scale drawings.

Teaching Scale Drawings with I Can Statements

Scale drawings are a relatively fun topic to teach.  Students grasp this concept more easily than some because it is very visual.  I am going to share with you how I teach scale drawings using “I Can” statements as my guide.

What I Want My Student to Do with Scale Drawings…

Practical ways to break down scale drawings. Using I Can statements when teaching scale drawings. Continue reading Teaching Scale Drawings with I Can Statements

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Christmas trivia game- making guesses and wagers. Practice estimation and reasonableness while having lots of holiday cheer.

Christmas Trivia Game for the Secondary Classroom

One of my favorite school memories came from a high school chemistry teacher right before Christmas. Every year, he hosted a science themed Christmas trivia game. And it was a big deal. Classes competed against each other. Everyone looked forward to it. He made it a special event. The questions were challenging and yet somehow (loosely) related to the science we were studying.

With my own classroom, I wanted to create a similar experience. A few years back I found the addictive trivia game Wits and Wagers. It was so much fun to play with family and friends, and I realized that it would make a great holiday game in my classroom. Continue reading Christmas Trivia Game for the Secondary Classroom

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5 activities for the week before winter break

Christmas Math Activities: 5 Ideas for the Week Before Winter Break

We all know that the week before winter break can be hectic! It’s so tempting to pop in a movie and call the last day or two a movie day. But in the middle school students often have 6+ classes and watching movies all day can create their own set of problems. Students get silly. Parents get annoyed that all their kids did was watch a whole bunch of random holiday movies. And we’re giving away a chunk of our limited instructional time. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to the Christmas movie, we put together this video to share 5 Christmas activity ideas to consider: Continue reading Christmas Math Activities: 5 Ideas for the Week Before Winter Break

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Teaching area and circumference of a circle with discovery labs / inquiry.

Teaching Area and Circumference of Circles through Discovery

A highlight in my math class during this past month was teaching area and circumference of a circle. I’m excited to share with you a twist on the traditional teaching of this topic that made a huge difference for my students.  One thing that has thrown my students for a loop in previous years was getting the area and circumference of a circle mixed up. Over the unit I often heard this chorus of questions: What was that formula again? 2 pi r squared? Which one is this again- circumference or area? When do I have to square the unit? 

So, this year I wanted to start off by preemptively addressing those common misconceptions. How did I do that? By building students’ conceptual knowledge before we ever talked about formulas and calculations. I started with a discovery lab approach to get them to explore circles. (I’ve talked about the discovery lab approach before here). They would draw conclusions and build their understanding before using any formulas to solve problems. And as we near the end of the unit, I haven’t heard the same questions that were so common last year. Hooray! Continue reading Teaching Area and Circumference of Circles through Discovery

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Enjoying Halloween Math Activities in Middle School

Quick question for you: Where does a ghost go on Saturday night?

Answer: Anywhere he can boo-gie!

Ah, it’s that time of year again! Piles of candy, fun costumes, spooky stories, and if you’re really lucky, cheesy Halloween jokes. With all this fun and excitement going on, it can be tough for students to stay focused on the math world of integers, slope, and graphs. But with just a few adjustments, we can help students stay on top of math while having fun. Use these Halloween math strategies and resources to enjoy the season while staying on track with the math. Continue reading Enjoying Halloween Math Activities in Middle School

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5 Ways to Use QR Codes in the Math Classroom. Working in partners + QR codes = high student engagement!

5 Ways to Use QR Codes in the Math Classroom

I discovered the world of QR Codes last year and they have quickly found their way into heavy rotation in my classroom. I was initially hesitant because they seemed like they might be too difficult or too complicated, but it turns out that my fears were unfounded. Here are  5 ways that QR Codes can be used in the math classroom. Continue reading 5 Ways to Use QR Codes in the Math Classroom

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