Math = Love: 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Don't Get Stung! Puzzle from The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers

Most of today has been spent administering the ACT. Normally, I have lunch right after 3rd hour. Today, we tested straight through lunch. And, I didn't get to sit down and eat my lunch until 6th hour. Needless to say, I am worn out! How is it that watching my students take a standardized test is at least twice as tiring as teaching a full day of math?!?

Since I don't have the energy to do actual school stuff like grading papers this evening, I guess I will share the file for this week's puzzle on the puzzle table. Like last week's emoji-themed puzzle, this puzzle was published in The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers (affiliate link) by The Grabarchuk Family.

If you want to invest in just one puzzle book for your classroom, this is the perfect book to start with. It is jam-packed with 567 different puzzles! Want a sneak-peek at the puzzles featured in the book? Amazon's Look Inside Feature lets you look at quite a few of the puzzles for free.

This puzzle was a bit more complicated than the puzzles I normally type up out of my collection of puzzle books. But, once I made a hexagon template, it wasn't too tricky to make the pieces.

This is the first puzzle I have placed on the puzzle table that allows you to overlap pieces.

In fact, this puzzle requires the overlapping of pieces. See all those bees? The final solution to this puzzle will have all of the bees hidden. Additionally, no shape can be repeated in any row in any of the three directions.

This puzzle has got a bunch of attention from my students. Some students who never spend time at the puzzle table were asking about how the puzzle worked. I think this puzzle has a certain visual appeal to it that sucks students into the problem-solving process.

Check out this awesome collaboration from students. There was a whole group gathered around the table on Monday in my chemistry class.

Want the file for this puzzle for your own classroom? I have uploaded it here.

The puzzle board is designed to print on 11 x 17 card stock (affiliate link). The puzzle pieces are designed to print on 8.5 x 11 paper.

If you would prefer to print everything on letter-sized paper, you can print all of the pages at 65% scale. Don't forget to also print the puzzle pieces at 65% scale!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Must Reads: Volume 39

Happy Monday! The school year is winding down (at least at my school), and I am definitely excited about the upcoming summer. One of my favorite things to do during the summer is dream about what my classroom will be like the next year. It is my hope that you will find an idea to dream about doing either this year or next in this week's collection of Monday Must Reads!

Jocelle Skov shares an awesome multiplying monomials pyramid puzzle.

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If you're teaching transformations, be sure to check out Lisa Richardson's awesome activity involving both dice and spinners! This looks so fun! Be sure to check out her blog post for more details.

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Looking for some creative practice for order of operations? Check out the calendars that Beth Self has her students create!

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Nickolas Corley inspires with an entire year's worth of Desmos projects in Algebra 1. These are so lovely!

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Texas Math Teacher recommends a fun lesson involving skew dice (affiliate link). I didn't even know these were a thing, so I'm super excited by the idea!

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Julia Anker shares an awesome test question that pits Desmos against TI.

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Jonathan Lind makes the 3D distance formula come alive with a 3D coordinate plane made of straws.

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Angela Manzo inspires with a fun, hands-on data collection activity involving origami frogs.

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Tori Cox shares an awesomely beautiful card sort.

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Solenne Abaziou created an awesome station in her classroom for early finishers. Each week, she puts up a new math game and a new tech activity for students to complete. How awesome is this?!?

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I absolutely love this connecting representations task shared by Kaitlin. I feel like this would really et students thinking about what the different parts of an equation mean.

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Mark Kaercher shares another use for that giant stack of paper plates that has been sitting in my cabinet ever since we made paper plate unit circles in trig a few years ago.

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Hugo Sierra recommends introducing piecewise functions by having students graph their names.

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Robert Kaplinsky shares a photo of some pizza prices that would spark some awesome conversations in math class.

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I absolutely love that Mr. Derstein created a Surface Area Auction to give his students some fun, purposeful practice.

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When I taught percent composition this year in chemistry, it was a little boring. If I ever teach it again, I will take a note from Michelle Vanhala and teach it using brown lunch bags full of candy!

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Becci shares some photos of some awesome candy dilation projects.

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Attention Calculus Teachers: How can you not love Dorothy Rich's idea of pretzel slope fields?
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Amber Longhi shares some photos of some awesome geometry projects.

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Sara Van Der Werf's recent post about a dollar and four quarters is a must-read.

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Check out this awesome display of student work on transformations put together by Conchita Bebis!

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Until next week, keep sharing your awesome ideas!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Egg of Columbus Puzzle

For the 4th grade class my husband and I teach at church on Wednesday nights, we were tasked with coming up with an Easter craft or activity. I'm not the type to break out paint or glitter in these situations because I hate the clean-up and chaos of the entire experience.

Earlier this year, I was browsing through and ran across a new-to-me tangram style puzzle called the "Egg of Columbus." I decided this would be perfect to try out with our group of 4th graders!

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I used the snipping tool to grab the egg image and printed them two to a sheet on different colors of paper.

Next, I spent some quality time with the laminator. I figured that 4th graders might be a bit rough on these pieces. Plus, I wanted them to be able to take their puzzles home with them to keep.

My next step of preparation involved making a "poof book" for the students to assemble that included different challenges that they could complete with their egg pieces. The cover of the poof book included the solution to the egg puzzle.

This book is assembled from just a single sheet of letter sized paper. If you're not sure how to fold/assemble a poof book, check out this blog post for step-by-step directions. 

Our students' first task was to cut out their Egg of Columbus pieces.

Next, we challenged them to reassemble the pieces into the egg shape. This turned out to be much harder for them than I anticipated. Numerous students made comments along the lines of "This is impossible!" I reminded them that the pieces had been in the form of an egg before they cut them out!

Next, I blew their minds with the assembly of the poof book. After assembling their book of challenges, each student picked a picture of their choosing to try and make with their pieces.

I have uploaded the files I made for the puzzle and poof book using the images from ThinkFun and here.

Want a sturdier version of this puzzle for your puzzle table? There are several options worth looking into on Amazon.

This wooden version (affiliate link) is super affordable and comes with free shipping, but I'm a bit worried about the fact that there aren't any reviews.

ThinkFun produces a commercial version of this puzzle known as Scrambled Egg (affiliate link).

Monkey Pod Games (affiliate link) produces a very nice version, but it's a little more expensive than I would want to spend for my classroom.

If you prefer to eat your puzzle after you have solved it, you might be interested in an Egg of Columbus cookie cutter (affiliate link)!

If you have access to a 3D printer, you can 3D print your puzzle pieces!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mixed Emotions Puzzle from The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers

I'm not sure what it is about this week's puzzle table selection, but it's been much more popular than the last few puzzles combined! Maybe it's the bright yellow paper or emojis that catch the eyes of students... Whatever it is, I'm excited to see students gathered around the puzzle table!

The goal of this week's puzzle is to place four pieces onto the 5 x 5 grid so that no two facial expressions are repeated in any horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. You can rotate pieces, but you may not overlap them or flip them over.

One thing I LOVE about this puzzle is that at first there doesn't seem to be that many different ways to arrange the four pieces on the grid until you start thinking about how many ways each piece can be rotated! This makes lots of combinations to check!

Several groups of students ended up solving this puzzle yesterday on the first day it was out!

This puzzle is from one of my newer puzzle book purchases. Yes, I may have a slight addiction to purchasing puzzle books for my classroom. I may or may not have bought four more puzzle books a few weekends ago at a thrift store!

The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers (affiliate link) is an awesome puzzle collection that features 567 different puzzles from The Grabarchuk Family. I ordered a used copy from Amazon for $5.83 with free shipping, so that works out to just over 1 cent per puzzle. Super bargain!

Not sure if the puzzles in this book are for you? You can look at quite a few of the puzzles by clicking the "Surprise Me" button inside Amazon's Look Inside Feature!

Interested in the file for this puzzle? I've uploaded it here.