menu   Home Answers Math Games Free Resources Contact Me  

A Recipe for a Homemade Frozen Treat for Those Hot Summer Days

June always brings the first day of summer. This year it was on June 21st. I'm not sure where you live, but I live in Kansas, and each day, it gets hotter and hotter! On a hot day, when you have been outside, there is nothing better than an ice cold treat. For years, I have made homemade Popsicles, first for my children and now for my grandchildren. I thought I would share the quick and easy recipe with you. (I know this might be considered the "far side" of math, but recipes do contain measurement and sometimes, even fractions!)

Popsicle Recipe - Will make 18

1 small package of Jello (any flavor)  
Berry Blue is our favorite!
As you can see, four of my grandchildren like the Berry Blue.

1/2 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 cups cold water

Boil the water. Add the boiling water to the sugar and the small package of Jello. Stir until all the Jello is dissolved. This takes about two minutes. Add the cold water and stir again.

Pour into three sets of Tupperware Popsicle Makers. If you don't have these (I'm not sure they are available anymore), use Popsicle molds found in stores. or use ice cube trays.

Place in the freezer until hardened. Eat and enjoy just like my grandchildren do!

Using Bloom's Taxonomy on a Geometry Test

As one of their assignments, my college students are required to create a practice test using pre-selected math vocabulary. This activity prompts them to review, look up definitions and apply the information to create ten good multiple choice questions while at the same time studying and assessing the material. Since I want the questions to be more than Level 1 (Remembering) or Level II (Understanding) of Bloom's Taxonomy, I give them the following handout to help them visualize the different levels.  My students find it to be simple, self explanatory, easy to understand and to the point.

Level I - Remembering

 What is this shape called?

Level II - Understanding

Circle the shape that is a triangle.

Level III - Applying

       Enclose this circle in a square.

Level IV - Analyzing

What specific shapes were used to draw the picture on your right?

Level V - Evaluating

How is the picture on your right like a real truck?  How is it  different?

Level VI - Creating

Create a new picture using five different geometric shapes. (You may use the same shape more than once, but you must use five different geometric shapes.)

As teachers, we are only limited by our imagination as to the activities we ask our students to complete to help them prepare for a test. However, we still need to teach and provide information so the students can complete these types of tasks successfully. With the aid of the above chart, my students create well written practice tests using a variety of levels of Bloom's. When the task is completed, my students have also reviewed and studied for their next math exam. I consider that as time well spent!

If you would like a copy of the above chart in a similar but more detailed format, it is available on Teachers Pay Teachers as a FREE resource.

Also available is a simple math dictionary. This 30 page math dictionary for students uses easy and clear definitions as well as formulas and examples so that students can learn and understand new math words without difficulty or cumbersome language. Most definitions include diagrams and/or illustrations for the visual learner. Over 300 common math terms are organized alphabetically for quick reference.

Most Countries Use Metrics, but NOT the United States!

Did you know that there are only three nations which do not use the metric system: Myanmar, Liberia and the United States? The U.S. uses two systems of measurement, the customary and the metric. Yes, since our country does use the metric system, we have given more than an inch, but we haven't gone the whole nine yards.

Today, when we shop for groceries, soda is sold in liters. Medicine is sold in milligrams, food nutrition labels are metric, and what about a 100-meter sprint or a 5K race? Still, we are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not conduct business in metric weights and measures. To be or not to be a metric nation has been a question of great consternation for our country for many years.

Here are some reasons why I think our nation should go to the metric system.
  1. It's the measurement system 96% of the world uses. 
  2. It is much easier to do conversions since it is based on units of ten. Water freezes at zero, not 32°, and it boils at 100, not 212°. 
  3. Teaching two measurement systems to children is time consuming and confusing. 
  4. It is the "official" language of science and medicine. 
  5. Its use is necessary when you travel outside of the United States. 
  6. Conversion from customary to metric is often fraught with errors. Because the metric system is a decimal system of weights and measures, it is easy to convert between units. 
  7. There are fewer measures to learn. Once you learn the meaning of the prefixes, you can easily convert mass, volume and distance measurements. No further conversion factors need to be memorized except the specific power of 10. For the Customary System you have to remember 5280 feet = 1 mile, 4 quarts = 1 gallon, 3 feet = 1 yard, 16 oz. = 1 pound, etc. 
  8. And just think, I would have less clutter in my kitchen since I wouldn’t need liquid and dry measuring cups or teaspoons and tablespoons! All I would need is a scale and liquid measuring cups!
So, while most nations use the metric system, the United States still clings to pounds, inches, and feet. Why do you think Americans refuse to convert? I’d be interested in your perspective and ideas.


Get ready to gauge your students' proficiency and equip them for success in all things metric using this pre-assessment metric test. This math test is designed to assess your students' pre-existing knowledge of the metric system. Not only will your students gain a deeper understanding of the differences between metric and customary units of measurement, but with the help of visual examples, they will be able to remember those pesky measurements.

Explaining the Difference Between Odd and Even Numbers

Sometimes we think everyone knows the difference between an odd and even number. When I was teaching my remedial math college class, we were learning the divisibility rules, the first of which is that every even number is divided by two. I wrote the number "546" on the board and asked the class if this was an odd or even number. I had one student who disagreed with the group answer of even. I asked him why he thought the number was odd, and he replied, "Because it has a "5" in it. " It was obvious this student got all the way through high school without a clear understanding of odd and even numbers. So the moral to this story is to be sure to discuss the difference between an even and an odd number with your students.
A good definition for an even number is that it can be put into groups of two without any left over, like giving each person a partner. But when you have an odd number of things and put them into groups of two, one will always be left out.
Try this approach. Make your hands into fists and place them side by side as seen in the illustration. Say a number. Now count, and as you count, put up one finger for each number said, alternating between hands, with fingers touching.

For instance, if you said “3”, you would count one, (left pointer fingerup) two, (right pointer finger up and touching the other pointer finger) three, (left middle finger up). Three is an odd number because one finger does not have a partner to touch.
Here is the sequence to use if the number given were "2". Two is an even number because each finger has a partner.

Repeat this several times, giving the students odd as well as even numbers. By always having a concrete visual (their fingers) will help the kinesthetic and visual learner to "see" the odds and evens.

Activities such as this can be found in a math booklet entitled Number Tiles for The Primary Grades.  It contains 17 different math problem solving activities that extend from simple counting, to even and odd numbers, to greater than or less than to solving addition and subtraction problems.