October 22, 2014

Math teachers at play #79

factor game
Math teachers at play #79 blog carnival is up!

Go check it out. I found for example these interesting resources:

October 15, 2014

Math Mammoth South African version, grades 4 and 5

cover for Math Mammoth Grade 5-A Complete Worktext, South African version 
Math Mammoth South African version is now available for grades 4 and 5!

Math Mammoth South African version, Grade 4

Math Mammoth South African version, Grade 5

You can read detailed descriptions and download free samples at the above links.

The South African version has been customized to South Africa in the following manners:
  • The names used are South African names (instead of Jack and Jill, there are Ansie and Mampho).

  • The currency used in word problems is rand. The money chapter teaches both rand and cents, of course.

  • The material is "all metric". In other words, the US customary measuring units are not used.
  • Spelling is British English instead of American English.

  • Paper size is A4.

  • Geographic locations used emphasize South African locations (such as Pretoria, Johannesburg).

October 14, 2014

Math Mammoth giveaway!

It is time for a giveaway of my Math Mammoth products!

There will be 17 prizes!
  1. The "grand prize":
    ONE (1) winner will get Math Mammoth All Inclusive bundle - either a download or a CD
  2. TWO (2) winners will get Math Mammoth Light Blue Series bundle - either a download or a CD
  3. FOUR (4) winners will get Math Mammoth Blue Series bundle - either a download or a CD
  4. TEN (10) winners will get one grade level of Math Mammoth Light Blue series - download - the grade level is chosen by each winner.
The winners will be chosen by a random number generator.

Something SPECIAL

This giveaway is COUPLED with something else... CDs by my favorite music group, 24K Gold Music.

Each of the 17 winners has the CHOICE of also receiving a music CD by 24K Gold Music.

How will you know if you would like their music?

Please WATCH videos clips of their music on this page.

How to take part?

Simply send an email to the address prize [at] mathmammoth [dot] com between now and midnight Pacific time, Thursday, October 16, 2014. I will choose the winners after that time using a random number generator, and email them.

You do not have to include anything in specific -- if you are chosen as a winner, I will contact you for any information I will need at that point.

People from outside the USA are also welcome to take part! We can ship CDs worldwide, or you can receive the Math Mammoth materials as a download.

Thanks for taking part!

P.S. Please share this!

October 12, 2014

Lesson on Fibonacci numbers

Have you ever heard about the Fibonacci numbers and the Golden ratio?

A tiling that uses squares whose side lengths are successive Fibonacci numbers. Ask students to continue it! Image from Wikipedia.

Here's a lesson I just wrote about them:

Fibonacci numbers and the golden section – lesson for middle and high school students

If you like it, share it!

You might ask, "Should our children or students even learn about Fibonacci numbers or the golden ratio?"

True, they aren't any standard fare in math books. However, I feel that yes, students should know about them. I think it's important that our young people learn a few math topics that show how MATH appears in NATURE. You could even call it "MATH APPRECIATION".

Children study "art appreciation" so they can appreciate human works of art. Shouldn't we also appreciate the "artworks" in nature, such as flower petals and seed heads? And, once you understand a little bit about the math behind them, you will appreciate them even more. :)

October 11, 2014

Worksheets in PDF form

You can now make worksheets for these topics in both html and PDF formats at my site:

The pages also include lots of ready-made PDF worksheets. Enjoy!

September 22, 2014

Timed tests

I wrote a new piece outlining some of the dangers of using timed tests in math, such as how they promote math anxiety and cause children to be afraid of making mistakes in math classes.

Should you use timed tests for math facts?

Go check it out!

September 18, 2014

The farmer and his three sons

Here's an interesting story problem that I received in an email!

A farmer died leaving his 17 horses to his three sons. When his sons opened up the will it read: 

Photo by www.flickr.com/photos/iceninejon
My eldest son should get 1/2 (half) of total horses;

My middle son should be given 1/3rd (one-third) of the total horses;

My youngest son should be given 1/9th (one-ninth) of the total horses.

As it's impossible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the three sons started to fight with each other. So, they decided to go to a farmer friend who they considered quite smart, to see if he could work it out for them.    

The farmer friend read the will patiently, after giving due thought, he brought one of his own horses over and added it to the 17. That increased the total to 18 horses.    

Now, he divided the horses according to their fathers will.
  • Half of 18 =   9. So he gave the eldest son 9 horses.
  • 1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave the middle son 6 horses.
  • 1/9th of 18 =  2. So he gave the youngest son 2 horses.
Now add up how many horses they have:

    Eldest son  9
    Middle son  6
    Youngest son  2

    TOTAL IS 17

Now this leaves one horse over, so the farmer friend takes his horse back to his farm.

Problem Solved!

The moral:
The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th horse i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the 18th horse the issue is resolved. It is difficult at times. However, to reach a solution, the first step is to believe that there is a solution. If we think that there is no solution, we won't be able to reach any!

Clever, isn't it!

September 15, 2014

Evaluation of a math assessment test - example

You might already know that the placement tests on my site work equally well as generic math assessment tests.

I also evaluate the test results for free.

Now you can see an example of one student's test results and my evaluation here.

Many students need to take two or even more tests in order to get a full picture of the gaps they have in their skills and knowledge. That was the case with this student also: she actually took three tests, grade 6, 5, and 4. I posted two of the tests and my evaluation at MathMammoth.com site. I hope it's helpful!

September 04, 2014

Number talks

Number talks are short discussions among a teacher and students about how to solve a particular mental math problem. The focus is not on the correct answer, but on all the possible methods of finding the answer.

Each student has a chance to explain their method, and everyone else will learn from other people's methods!

To start a number talk, the teacher gives the students a SHORT math problem to solve — but the students are not allowed to use a calculator or paper & pencil. The idea is to solve it in one's head!

For example, you could ask students to solve 5 × 18 using mental math.

Read more here - and see a great video by Jo Boaler. This is a "tool" you can't afford to miss as a math teacher!

August 29, 2014

Math Mammoth Grade 7-A is here!

I know it's Labor Day weekend, but...

Math Mammoth Grade 7-A is here!

cover for Math Mammoth Grade 7-A Complete Worktext Please note: Only part 7-A is available for now (as of August 2014). Part B is expected to be ready sometime in early 2015.

Math Mammoth Grade 7-A is the first half of the pre-algebra curriculum from Math Mammoth. Part A worktext deals with:
  • introduction to basic algebra concepts
  • integers and their operations
  • solving one-step equations, including with negative numbers
  • operations with negative rational numbers
  • solving linear equations and writing equations for word problems
  • graphing linear equations and an introduction to the concept of slope

=> Order grade 7-A here (at Kagi)

Also, grade 7-A is not yet available on any of the bundle products, CDs (such as the Light Blue series CD or All Inclusive CD) nor as printed copies. You can expect it to be included in the downloadabe bundles (Light Blue series, All Inclusive, Everything Bundle) by the beginning of September and on CDs after the first week of September.

I just know there are folks "chomping at the bit" to get it so I'm sending this notice now — as early as possible — when only the download of 7-A is available.

August 21, 2014

Story of Maryam Mirzakhani

I think some of you will enjoy reading the story of Maryam Mirzakhani, an iranian Mathematician, and a woman, who just recently won the most prestigious award in the world of mathematics: the Fields Medal.

She is the first woman to win a Fields Medal!