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Domino Math

Dots Fun for Everyone
It is believed dominoes evolved from dice. In fact, the numbers in a standard double-six set of dominoes represent all the rolls of two six-sided die. It is thought they originated in China around the 12th century. They have been used in a large variety of games for hundreds of years, and today, dominoes are played all over the world.

Games allow children to learn a great deal concerning mathematical concepts and number relationships. Often they are required to use critical thinking skills as well as varied math strategies to solve them. Since dominoes make a great manipulative for hands-on learning, I created a 29 page book of domino activities for grades 3-5 that are great for students who finish early or for introducing a new mathematical concept or for use at a math center. Using dominoes for a math practice center is a way to engage students in math center practice while giving them a chance to review math facts.

The activities and games vary in difficulty; so differentiated instruction is easy. The variety of pages allows you to choose the practice page that is just right for each student. This resource correlates well with the math series, Everyday Math, as well as with the CCSS standards.

Some of the domino activities in this resource use games while others will extend, enhance or introduce a new math concept. Since children are curious and inquisitive, plus some may have never seen dominoes, allow time for play and exploration before beginning any instruction. This is constructive as well as a productive use of class time. If they are not given this, most children will fool around and investigate during the teaching time. The activities include four digit place value, using the commutative property, problem solving, reducing proper and improper fractions and practicing multiplication and division facts. The games involve finding sums, using <, >, and = signs and ordering fractions.

To view examples from this resource as well as a complete Table of Contents, download the preview or FREE Version.

A Go Figure Debut for A Homeschool Teacher Who is New

Beverly's TPT Store
Beverly lives in Texas, and this will be her 9th year as a homeschool teacher. She has three children, a daughter who is 17 and two boys, ages 14 and 11. Beverly's favorite thing about homeschooling is getting to spend a lot of time with her children and being able to let them really pursue their interests. Her youngest, for example, is interested in computer programming. Beverly has some experience in that area so she found an online course, and she and her son learned the basics of Python together.  Her classroom is a little media room/playroom upstairs where she has a bulletin board, white board, book cases and a long table. At the moment, she is in the process of reorganizing it which includes painting the walls.

Before homeschooling, Beverly taught preschool. The children in her class were only two years of age; so, there wasn't a lot of formal teaching going on, but she absolutely enjoyed the experience.

Beverly has 99 products in her store which is called Terbet Lane; including six that are free. She has a lot of decor and brag tags as well as creative writing and math sets.

Only $6.00
One of her paid items is a set of  Halloween themed story element cards.  She uses these cards in her homeschool. She wanted to create something that would give her children a jumping off place to write creatively and that could change and be something different each time. Her middle son does not like to write and really needed the structure of using these cards to help him think of something to write and to give his writing direction.

To use the cards, have a child choose one card from each category: character, conflict and setting. They are required to use these elements in their story but can add any new characters, settings, etc. that they choose. Her children have really enjoyed using these cards and actually ask to do them. Yeah!

Free Resource
One of her free resources is a Halloween coloring page. With Halloween just a month away, this would be the     perfect freebie to download for those students who finish early or for those who just like to color.  (I still do!)

In addition, Beverly has a blog called Terbet Lane although it is pretty new. Her July post was about family fun. Genealogy is one  of her main hobbies, and this post contains some activities that are a fun way to involve younger kids and spark some interesting conversations about family.  I especially like her list of questions to ask grandparents because interviewing an older relative is a great way for kids to learn about their history while connecting with grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I hope you have time to check it out. Also take time to visit her store and see those 99 resources she has created!

Factorial Fun

Factorial is a word that mathematicians use to describe a special kind of numerical relationship. Factorials are very simple things. They are just products, indicated by the symbol of an exclamation mark. The factorial function (symbol: !) means to multiply a series of descending natural numbers. For instance, "five factorial" is written as "5!" (a shorthand method) and means 5 × 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 120. Factorials are used in determining the numbers of combinations and permutations and in finding probability.

Now all of that may seem above your mathematical head, but let me introduce you to the book Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichir and Mitsumasa Anno.  It is a story about one jar and what is inside it. Anno begins with the jar, which contains one island, that has two countries, each of which has three mountains. The story continues like this until 10 is reached.  The colorful pictures are arranged within borders on the page as many times as the number of objects being discussed. For instance when four walled kingdoms are introduced, four kingdoms are on the page.

The explanation of 10! in the back of the book is also very helpful. Even if children do not understand the concept being taught, they will certainly appreciate the detailed colored drawings and imaginative story! The book is best for kids who have been introduced to at least basic multiplication facts, but younger kids will enjoy counting and looking at the pictures even if the rest of it is over their heads; so, this book helps with multiplying skills as well as the mathematical concept of factorials.

You might give the students a worksheet to keep track of how many islands, rooms, etc. there are. The final question is how many jars are there. Hopefully there will some students who catch on to the factorial concept, find the pattern and discover the answer! 

Here is an example of how you might use factorials in solving a word problem.  How many different arrangements can be made with the letters from the word MOVE?  Because there are four different letters and four different spaces, this is how you would solve the problem.

____   ____   ____   ____ 
Four Possible Spaces

All four letters could be placed in the first space. Once the first space is filled, only three letters remain to fit in the second space. Once the second space is filled with a letter, two letters remain to write in the third space. Finally, only one letter is left to take the fourth and final space. Hence, the answer is a factorial (4!) = 4 × 3 × 2 × 1 = 24 arrangements.

Try some problems in your classroom. Start with an imaginary character, Cal Q. Late, who is working at an Ice Cream Store called Flavors. A hungry customer orders a triple scoop ice cream cone with Berry, Vanilla, and Bubble Gum ice cream. How many different ways could Cal Q. Late stack the ice cream flavors on top of each other?

You could answer the question by listing all of the possible orders of the three ice cream flavors from top to bottom. (Students could have colored circles of construction paper to physically rearrange.)

  1. Bubble Gum - Berry - Vanilla
  2. Bubble Gum - Vanilla - Berry
  3. Berry - Vanilla - Bubble Gum 
  4. Berry - Bubble Gum - Vanilla
  5. Vanilla - Berry - Bubble Gum
  6. Vanilla - Bubble Gum - Strawberry
Or, if we use factorials, we arrive at the answer much faster:  3! = 3 × 2 × 1 = 6

Learning about patterns and the use of factorials will stretch a students' mathematical mind.  Why not try a few problems in your classroom?  And by all means, check out Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar.

Using Mnemonic Techniques

In my college class entitled Conquering College, we have been working on ways to remember for tests. Of course, mnemonic devices came up. Mnemonics connect new learning to prior knowledge through the use of visual and/or acoustic cues. Such strategies assist students in remembering and recalling larger pieces of information for tests. Included in mnemonics are acronyms, initialism, acrostics, rhyme, rhythm and song and association in addition to visualization using the loci and peg systems. Let's look at four of these categories.

1) Acronyms - A word formed from the first letters of each one of the words in a phrase.
  • HOMES – The names of the 5 Great Lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior 
  • ROY G. BIV – The colors in a rainbow – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet 
  • SCUBA - When you’re scuba diving, you’re using a “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.” 

2) Acrostics – Sentences created from the first letters of key words.
  • Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally – for the order of operations 
Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction 

    **I personally prefer the phrase: Pale Elvis Meets Dracula After School. 
  • My Very Earthly Mother Just Sliced Up Neptune.  – the planets in order from largest to smallest: 
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune 

   **I particularly like this one since Earthly gives you a clue that the third planet is earth and Neptune is listed last. This means you only have to know 6.

Free Resource
3) Rhyme, Rhythm, Song – poems, limericks or silly songs – These work well for auditory learners.
  • I before E, except after C and in sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh.
  • In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
  • Twinkle, twinkle little star; circumference is 2 π r.       (I actually sing this for my students!)

4) Association – finding a common element. The association is usually coincidental.
  • Litmus Paper: Blue = Base – both begin with “B”. 
  • Arteries: Artery = Away – both begin with “A”. 
  • The principal is my PAL. Helps to distinguish from principle. 
  • Affect = Action (a verb) Helps to separate it from effect which is a noun.
These ideas plus many more are in a free resource called Mnemonic Techniques found on Teachers Pay Teachers. All you have to do is download it!