Math Teachers at Play #104

Welcome to #104 of the Math Teachers At Play (MTaP) blog carnival. A blog carnival is a regular blogging round up coordinated by someone (in this case Denise Gaskins) that moves around different blogs each edition. This time, I’m taking a turn.

The MTaP carnival traditionally starts with a puzzle, game or piece of trivia. As this edition marks the start of a new year, I thought I’d share a new year puzzle I played with my students in the last session before the Christmas break.

In fact, this bring me straight onto the submissions this month. Let’s start with some puzzles and games. Denise Gaskins (@letsplaymath) submitted a post about the 2017 Mathematics Game, providing a set of rules similar to the game above that open it up to 1-100. Denise points out that “the goal is adjustable: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, middle grades with 1-25.”

Manan Shah (@shahlock) offers Alphanumeric Puzzle #1, saying “I thought readers might get a kick out of this”. It’s a type of puzzle known as a cryptarithmetic puhezzle.

Megan Schmidt (@veganmathbeagle) submitted Math Game: Draw 10 by Annie Forest. She says “Annie always has thought provoking ideas to share and this one is no different. She brings the math and the excitement for those days before Christmas when engagement is tough to come by.”

Next up, Measurement Games and Activities, a list of measurement/estimation games submitted by Crystal (@Tri_Learning), who says “The ability to estimate and measure are important skills for every day life and many professions. Find measurement games and activities for all ages.”

And if you still haven’t had enough games, Denise Gaskins (@letsplaymath) has it covered in My Favorite Math Games. Denise says “I like to use games as a warm-up with my co-op math circle. Here’s a collection of my favorites.”

Next, there are several posts offering stories and mathematical investigations.

This entertaining post by James Propp tells a tale centred around the (Prouhet-)Thue-Morse Sequence which covers religious law, fussy eaters, fractals, music, poetry, chess, rowing and more: Avoiding chazakah with the Prouhet-Thue-Morse sequence.

1226221 Is A Fascinating Number was submitted by Manan Shah (@shahlock), who says “What’s so fascinating about 1226221? It’s a palindrome, but that’s not all!”

I saw this fun post by Ben Orlin which asks the question: how many apparently different looking but actually the same sudoku puzzles can be generated from a single sudoku: 1.2 Trillion Ways to Play the Same Sudoku.

This being a mathematics teacher blog carnival, it may not come as a surprise that most submissions were tips and approaches to bringing a little fun to the classroom.

First, Tips for Teaching Students How to Identify Functions was submitted by Mrs. E (@mrseteachesmath), who says “This is a fun lesson idea for teaching students how to identify functions. It keeps kids engaged and a song helps them remember the definition of a function.”

This second post submitted by Mrs. E is about using paper folding to help students discover and think about geometry constructions: Altitudes and Angle Bisectors Paper Folding Activity.

And this third from Mrs. E is about using a puzzle/pattern-spotting approach to introducing logarithms: How I Teach Intro to Logs.

Crystal (@Tri_Learning) submitted Our Favorite Math Manipulatives, about using physical objects to help students learn, for students at various levels.

Next, the submitter didn’t leave their name, but we have Tell me everything you know about… by Jen McAleer, which offers some ideas and in-class activities to improve engagement, first by asking a loosely-defined question and second by holding a quick competition.

Amber Thomas submitted Playing with Our Food, Nutrition, and Fraction Line Plots, saying:

I found this fun nutrition website that I fondly refer to as “Smash My Food.” The kids see how much oil, salt, and sugar is in food (by watching it get squeezed out). It’s good, gross fun! Where the math comes in, is I take those amounts and create fractions on a line plot. You know, that pesky common core standard that math textbooks don’t cover at all (CCSS Math 4.MD.B.4)? Yeah, that one. Kids find the information relevant and relate-able, and I’ve gotten good feedback from others who have tried teaching fraction line plots this way.

Rupesh Gesota submitted Understanding v/s Answer-getting, a post about trying to teach understanding, even if it doesn’t use the standard set of rules. Rupesh says “This article shows some interesting (non-standard) ways of approaching and solving couple of mathematical problems. These are the ways developed by the students themselves based on understanding rather than procedures/ rules instructed by the teacher…”

Finally, in one last burst of teaching-related fun, Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) submitted the results of her World Cup of Maths, a Twitter competition to find UK maths teachers’ favourite topic to teach.

To round off this carnival, although I should disclaim that I am mentioned in it, this post by mathsbyagirl offers a guide to getting started listening to mathematical podcasts in 5 Maths Podcasts.

If you enjoyed this and the MTaP carnival in general, consider also reading the Carnival of Mathematics blog carnival which is coordinated by Katie Steckles here at The Aperiodical. Both Carnivals are always open for submissions and always happy to hear from potential future hosts. Submit a post you’ve enjoyed (whether you wrote it or not), and consider hosting a carnival at your blog!