Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Need Math Study Skills?

This semester, I am teaching a new class called Math Study Skills.  We are finding that many of our students who do not qualify for college algebra in reality do not know how to study math.  When you think about it, math is different than other subjects in that it continues to build.  You might do well on the test over Chapter #1, not so hot on Chapter #2, but for sure, you will not succeed on the test over chapter #3.  I am putting together lots of supplemental materials for the class which I hope to share with you on this blog. 

In our next class I am going to ask the students to determine if the following statements about math are true or false.  See what you think.
Math Profile Sheet

  1. In math, there is only one way to get the answer.
  2. To be good at math, you have to be good at calculating.
  3. If you are good at math, you skip steps and do all of the work in your head.
  4. Men are much better at math than women.
  5. There is a "best" way to complete a math problem.
  6. You have to have a mathematical mind to understand math.
Believe it or not, all of these are false statements! I think my students will be surprised as well. But of course the best study skill I can give them is depicted in the cartoon!

Are you interested in a Math Profile Sheet that will help you to measure the mathematical success of your students?  Check it out by clicking under the cartoon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why is 'x' Always the Unknown?

The Reason




Again, it's time for some math information you might have missed in school. (Don't you just love the clock?  It is probably for math geeks, but I wish I had one for my room at school.)

Today's question is: Why is "x" the symbol for an unknown?  In a short and funny four minute talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer. Just click under the clock to find out the reason!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Anno's Counting Book


Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno is one of the best math picture books for children that I have used with kindergartners and first graders.  This wordless counting book shows a changing countryside through various times of the day and seasons.  It introduces counting and number values from one to twelve. On each page, you can find several groups of items representing the illustrated number, such as 4 fish, 4 trees, and so on. The number is also represented by stacked cubes at the side of the illustration.  The book contains one-to-one correspondence, groups and sets, and many other mathematical relationships.  I purchased the Big Book version so that the entire class could easily see each picture.

Here are a couple of activities that you might try with the book.

1)      “Read” the book to the children and discuss what is happening.  The following questions will help the children to connect what is occurring in the book:

a)      What time of year is it when the story begins?  Ends?  How do you know?

b)     What are the seasons that you see throughout the book?

c)      How is the village changing?

d)     What kinds of transportation do you see?

e)      Compare and contrast what the children are doing in each scene.


2)      Discuss what happens to the trees as the season change in the book.  Are there different kinds of trees in the book?  How do you know? (color of leaves, size, etc.)

a)      Have the students fold a 9” x 12” sheet of paper into fourths.

b)     Have them write the name of a season in each section. (summer, fall winter, spring)

c)      Have them draw the same tree in each section, but show how it looks in summer, fall, winter and spring.

Happy Reading!