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Math In Motion, Issue #001 -- teaser here
December 23, 2009

Hello Teachers and Parents,

Welcome to "Math-In-Motion" Volume 001.

In every issue, look for new and exciting math teaching ideas for both teachers and parents. You'll find activities that kids will enjoy like math brain teasers, math games etc. that make math come alive and not just remain the same ol' boring routine!

By the way, Happy Holidays. It's been a busy time over the last two weeks since school was winding down. Looking forward to the break to gear up for next semester. A little R and R is always a good thing:)

In this issue:

    Fun Math Teaching Strategies for Class

  • Math Brain Teasers

Classroom Math Teaching Strategies:

Most children tend to shy away from things that seem to involve work, and of course are drawn toward activities that are fun or somewhat entertaining. So this probably goes without saying, to most kids, math seems too much like work. Adding a little fun and intrigue into the equation takes your math teaching a lot further in the eyes of those future math whizzes!

How can you make math fun, amusing and entertaining? Here are some suggestions to make math beguiling both for you and for your students.

  • Spend a short time during each class on something that is mathematically fascinating or puzzling. One example of this would be asking a perplexing question at the end of class, and answer it at the beginning of the next class. This can work to sort of build excitement and suspense for kids coming to next class.

  • Puzzles. Math puzzles take on many forms, but they are one of the best ways to engage your class. People of all ages young and old love puzzles. It's just something about the way we are wired that gives us a good feeling when we are able to "figure it out". Lots of Math Puzzles to get the going here.

  • MatheMagics. Tell a child to add 9 to his age, double the result, then subtract 15. He tells you the result, and you tell him his age. Check out more Cool Math Tricks here.

  • Guessing. How many seconds have you lived? If someone covered your bed with pennies without overlapping them, how much money would you have?

  • Let your students help teach. When kids can get involved with teaching math, it make them feel like they are a part of the solution and not the problem. It is also commonly know for some time that the more you teach something the better your understanding becomes. This true for even the youngest of students.

Math Brain Teasers

Grades 1-3

  1. A mystery number has two digits. It is an odd number less than 50 but greater than 45. How many possible mystery numbers are there?

    (two – 47, 49)

  2. Sam has 25¢ in his pocket. He has more than one coin, but less than 8 coins. What combination of coins might Sam have in his pocket?

    (5 nickels, 2 dimes + 1 nickel, or 2 dimes + 5 pennies, 1 dime + 3 nickels)

  3. Greg made 4 snowballs on Monday. He made 9 snowballs on Tuesday. He made 14 snowballs on Wednesday. How many snowballs did Greg make on Thursday, Friday and Saturday?

    (Wed-19, Thurs-24, Fri-29)

Grades 4-6

  1. The Ramble Soup Company advertises they put 32 feet of noodles in every can of their Nifty Noodle Soup. How many yards of noodles are there in 4 cans of Nifty Noodle Soup? In 20 cans? Write your answers as mixed numbers in simplest terms.

    (4 cans = 42 2/3 yards of noodles 20 cans = 213 1/3 yards)

  2. In Arctic City, the low temperatures for the first three days in January were 32, 20 , and 17. In February, the low temperatures for the first three days were 3, 18, and 36. Which month had the coldest average temperature for the first three days?

    (February’s average of 19 was colder than January’s average of 23.)

  3. Hank the hot dog vendor is trying to buy the same number of hot dogs and hot dog buns. Hot dogs are sold in packages of 6. Buns are sold in packages of 10. What’s the smallest number of packages of hot dogs and of buns that Hank can buy to have a matching number of each?

    (5 packages of hot dogs and 3 packages of buns to yield 30 of each)

7th – 8th grade

  1. These statements are all true: A x B = 12 A + B + C = 12 B - A = 1 Which of these are true? a) C = 5 b) B = 4 c) A or B = 6

    [Statements a) and b) are true. A = 3, B = 4, C = 5]

  2. The teacher wrote this problem on the board: “Three friends were given a bag of candy to share. They played a game to decide how to divide the pieces of candy among them. Lucy won 2/3 of the pieces, Linus won 1/4 of the pieces, and Charlie won 1/9 of the mushrooms.”

    Before she could sit down, Brainy Barb raised her hand. “Ms. Jones, this is not possible,” she announced.

    Is Brainy Barb right?

    (Yes, she is. Changing the fractions in the story to fractions with common denominators, we see that Lucy found 24/36, Linus found 9/36, and Charlie found 4/36. The sum of these is 37/36 which is not possible.)

  3. Here is an equation using four 5s to equal 1: (5 ÷ 5) x (5 ÷ 5) =1 Find equations using four 5s to equal each of these numbers: 0, 2, 3, 6, 10 You may use any of the four operations, parentheses and brackets.

    Here are our answers. Others are also possible. 5 – [(5 x 5) ÷ 5] = 0 (5 ÷ 5) + (5 ÷ 5) = 2 5 – 5/5 – 5/5 = 3 (55 ÷ 5) – 5 = 6 (5 + 5 + 5) – 5 = 10

See you next issue! If you have any suggestion just let me know.

Making Math Fun,

Greg Tucker

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