Read this blog post about how to incorporate paper chains into your middle school math classroom.

Math Teaching Strategy that Works: Paper Chains

So you might be thinking, why you would use paper chains in a 7th or 8th grade math classroom?  When I first saw a paper chain as an activity on Teacher Pay Teachers I had the same question.  They seemed a little superfluous.  Actually, they looked like a waste of time to me and I dismissed them.  Then, one day I was trying to think of a novel activity for my students near the end of last year. Plus, I was feeling a bit adventurous and itching for a change with testing in our rear view mirror.  I made a template for a paper chain. Continue reading Math Teaching Strategy that Works: Paper Chains

Read this blog post to get some ideas for teaching the effects of transformations.

11 Easy Activities For Teaching Effects of Transformations

When we get to learning about transformations near the end of the year, it always surprises me that my students have a pretty strong foundation in transformations.  Hooray! But the caveat with transformations in 8th grade is that they have to find the resulting coordinates without using a graph.  This boils down to a whole bunch of rules that students have to learn and memorize. To learn and remember the effects of transformations, it helps if students actually understand why the rules are what they are. Then, students need to get a lot of practice with each one.  

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Read this blog post to find out how to teach mean absolute deviation using I can statements to chunk the learning.

Teaching Mean Absolute Deviation Like a Rock Star

Mean absolute deviation can sound very intimidating.  I remember being in a master’s class and we had to find the standard deviation of some data. Most people in the class had no clue what to do.  Most 7th grade math teachers have been teaching math since before the Common Core came on the scene, so this makes mean absolute deviation a new topic for many of us.  If you’re like me, you get worried when there’s a new topic.  You want to teach it right, but you’re not confident with how to teach it. At least, not yet. It’s taken me a bit of time to feel comfortable with it, but this year I had so much fun teaching this concept. Let me show you step by step how I broke down and taught my 7th grade students about mean absolute deviation.

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Read this blog post for an introduction lesson for absolute value to get kids ready to learn mean absolute deviation.

Teaching Absolute Value Through Discovery

In recent years, mean absolute deviation and variability concepts have been added to 7th grade math.  It seems like a huge jump from their current understanding to these concepts, but we as teachers always figure out ways to make the content accessible to students.  The first time I taught mean absolute deviation I just told the kids that absolute value was the distance a number is from zero.  It seems like a simple concept and in my rush to get to the meat of the topic, I left it at that.  Well, needless to say, the majority of my students don’t retain information just because I say it a couple of times. I know, I know, teaching lesson learned (again!). Let me share with you how teaching absolute value through discovery made teaching the whole topic of mean absolute deviation and absolute value in general so much easier.

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Read this blog post for some engaging ways to practice mean, absolute value, and mean absolute deviation with little to no prep.

12 Engaging Activities for Mean Absolute Deviation

I’ll be the first to admit that when the concept of mean absolute deviation was added to our standards, I didn’t know what it was.  Of course, I’ve worked with standard deviation and mean, but I was a newbie to this concept of MAD.  As I’ve wrapped my head around it, I’ve learned it enhances other concepts students are learning, and it’s taught as part of helping students to understand variability. In this post I’m sharing with you 12 engaging activities for teaching mean absolute deviation (MAD) to help your  students really get it.

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Read this blog post to learn how to introduce compound probability through a discovery lesson.

Exploring Compound Probability Through Discovery

What are the chances your students will forget what they learn about probability?  It’s an uncomfortable truth that they often forget things that they’ve studied in class. But they are much more likely to forget if they don’t build schema and connections with this concept. I’m excited to share with you my favorite way to do just that. Discovery labs give you one way that help your students to build background and ultimately remember what they learn (wanna read more how I got started with discovery labs? Read that story here.)

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Read this blog post about easy and engaging activities for practicing compound probability.

12 Easy and Engaging Compound Probability Activities

Compound probability is fun to teach because it lends itself to hands-on learning.  I’ve found that students don’t even complain about the fact they they are working with fractions when they are doing compound probability. (shocking, right?!)  I’m excited to share some of my favorite activities for practicing compound probability with you.  These activities will build background for students, offer practice, and extend the concepts.  I hope that you can find one or two ideas to implement in your classroom right away and engage your students in learning more about compound probability.

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Read this blog post about using I can statements and an interactive notebook to teach compound probability,

How to Teach Compound Probability and Make it Stick

Teaching probability gets kids interested because it so naturally involves dice, playing cards, and spinner.  What 7th grade doesn’t love to spin things?  Usually, they get in trouble for spinning things, so when we pull out the spinners and tell them to spin it, they look at us in disbelief.  They wonder if it’s trick.  We reassure them that they won’t get in trouble, and quickly they are hands on, having a great time experimenting with probability.  I love how incorporating these manipulatives has a way of getting and keeping students’ attention. In this post I’ll break down for you how I chunk out and teach compound probability.

Continue reading How to Teach Compound Probability and Make it Stick

Read this blog post about 18 games to review for math in middle grades. Some great ideas for math test prep that are engaging and easy.

18 Math Review Games for Middle School

Reviewing is an essential part of learning.  It’s how our brains remember and keep things from slipping away.  Sometimes it can be very tempting to have students review by only answering test like questions and then going over them with the class.  The downside of this is that it’s boring and not memorable.  Also, it goes against best practices for teaching and learning.  So, I would like to present an alternative way to review that is action packed, fun, and engaging.  Of course I’m talking about games! There are so many ways to practice math concepts and skills using review games.  

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Read this blog post to teach volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres like a star.

How to Teach Volume of Cylinders, Cones, and Spheres Like a RockStar

Do your students have a hard time remembering the formulas for the volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres?  Well, if that describes you, then you have come to the right place my friend.  I’m going to share a sequence of learning that has helped my students memorize these formulas.  Every year when I teach this topic just about every kid can remember the formula after going through this process.  I know that I sound like an infomercial, but that is genuinely how I feel about this topic in particular.  If you follow these simple steps then you will have your students feeling success with the formulas for volume in no time.

Continue reading How to Teach Volume of Cylinders, Cones, and Spheres Like a RockStar