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Showing posts from September, 2013

Timed tests and how it damages students' learning of math

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Again, I want to share some thoughts from the How to Learn Math course by Jo Boaler I took recently -- this time about how timed tests and speed affect students in mathematics learning and their "ability" to make mistakes : ).

You see, all of our brains actually GROW and make new connections when we make mistakes and think about them. There is no brain growth if you can just sail through a problem set! That is why it is so important for our students to make mistakes -- and then we need to VALUE those mistakes and help them learn from them.

People with so-called fixed mindset are usually afraid of making mistakes. We need our students (and ourselves!) to have a GROWTH mindset - the attitude that I'm not perfect nor smart already, but making mistakes helps me learn and grow my brain.

Jo has written a book, What's Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject. I do not have it... but based on what …

DigiWhiz math facts program

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My girls have been enjoying DigiWhiz for a few weeks now, and have been having fun with it. It is a free online program -- useful as a supplement -- that practices just a few areas:
multiplication facts, division facts, integer arithmetic, solving simple equations, and dealing with like terms. 
Maybe they are planning to expand in the future; I don't know.

Kids earn points as they play, and they can use the points to buy various things in the DigiWhiz store. That always makes it more fun and motivating for children, as I'm sure you have noticed if you have used any of these types of online programs.

Below are some screenshots. Like I said, it's free, so won't cost you any to try and see if it works for your children/students or not.























Crocheting and geometry

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You might ask, what do these two subjects have to do with each other?

Most people probably think that math and crocheting don't have anything in common (well, besides the fact you count your stiches and such). However, the video below shows you a STRIKING connection between crocheting and hyperbolic geometry which has ONLY been found fairly recently.




Crochet model of hyperbolic plane by Daina Taimina I found it surprising that mathematicians had thought for years that it wouldn't be POSSIBLE to build a physical model for hyperbolic geometry. Then... the mathematician Daina Taimina found that CROCHETING was the perfect model for it!

The essence of the hyperbolic space can be implemented with knitting or crochet simply by increasing the number of stitches in each row. As you increase, the surface naturally begins to ruffle and crenellate.

So... what is hyperbolic geometry?
You can draw several lines that are parallel to a given line and that go through a given point.
In a nu…

Pie chart on the most common word problems in math...

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Gave me a big laugh!!!!!!!!!

Hat Tip to Math Teachers at Play carnival number 66 - lots of good stuff there!

Most common math manipulatives for elementary school

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Here are various math manipulatives that I think are most useful to have for elementary grades, found at Amazon:


A 100-bead abacus (it has 10 beads on 10 rows). The abaci with 5 and 5 alternating color beads are the best, but a traditional one with 10 beads of the same color will also work.
Browse Amazon's abacus collection


Base ten blocks are useful for teaching the concept of place value, two-digit numbers, and three-digit numbers. Browse base ten blocks at Amazon.



Another very useful manipulative is fraction tiles or fraction circles. You can make these yourself, of course, as well, from cardboard.
Other necessary manipulatives are various measuring tools, usually found at home: 
rulers, measuring tape, a bathroom scale, kitchen scale, a thermometer, andmeasuring cups.

What About the Kids?

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In July, I ran a giveaway of Math Mammoth products for my newsletter subscribers that was "coupled" with CDs from 24K Gold Music. Well, the response to that was so good... they decided to release a particular song, ESPECIALLY all of us in mind who work with CHILDREN.

I was told this song was originally written back in 2002. It is titled "What About the Kids", with a message about protecting the children.

Feel free to share it on Facebook!

La canción tiene subtítulos que son en español.

Listen to more songs by 24K Gold on FB.