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Showing posts from March, 2008

### Giveaway!

Today I have something a little different from the "norm": a giveaway!

All you have to do to take part is go visit Homeschool Boutique, find a T-shirt you'd like to win (these shirts mostly carry homeschool slogans), and then either leave a comment below mentioning the shirt you'd like to win, or email me with your choice.

Just one note: whichever way you do it, make sure I can contact you/find your contact info easily.

We will choose 2 winners by drawing. This contest ends Sunday, April 5, 2008.

### Placement tests for Math Mammoth LightBlue Series

I've just added to the site placement tests for the Math Mammoth complete curriculum (LightBlue Series), for grades 1-4. These are actually end-of-year tests. They could also be used as diagnostic tests, to see what content areas a child might be lacking in .

### A problem to solve about multiples

Here's one more problem from the collection that John Morse sent me.

144, being a multiple of itself, naturally ends with ...144.

What is the next greater multiple of 144 ending in ...144?

I chose this problem because solving it doesn't require knowing any concepts beyond multiplication and multiples.

I solved this problem kind of a "crude" way; however upon thinking my solution through, it is fairly accessible to even younger students, because it doesn't use more sophisticated concepts.

Basically I considered the problem as finding ABC (A, B, and C are digits), or possibly a longer or shorter number such as 144 x ABC ends in 144.

144
x ABC
-----

I systematically checked what C can be in order for the answer to end in 4.

I found only one possible digit works.

Then I systematically checked what B can be, knowing that C must equal 6 -- and found two possible digits: 2 and 7.

After that, I stumbled upon the right answer since I simply checked what is 26 x 144, 76 x 14…

### Lockhart's Lament

Recently there's been a lot of talk about an essay written by mathematician/teacher John Lockhart, called Lockhart's Lament. Some people praise it, some are more skeptical.

Lockhart's Lament makes for good reading and he raises some really interesting points, so I can heartily recommend reading it.

Personally I don't fully agree with every statement he makes there. But his MAIN point concerns mathematics as an art, and how we should teach it.

I went ahead and copied a part of the essay below. This is direct quote from the essay, presenting a VERY GOOD example with the triangle problem.

So let me try to explain what mathematics is, and what mathematicians do. I can hardly do better than to begin with G.H. Hardy's excellent description:

A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.
So mathematicians sit around making patterns of ideas. What sort of patterns? …

### Assortment of links and news

I have quite a collection of links and stuff people have sent me. Hopefully everyone will find something of interest!

Esp. for teachers

LearnHub is a network of communities, each one built around a specific subject.

You can do all kinds of stuff: upload videos, author pages using a simple editor, upload your powerpoint presentations, create tests and track users' progress, combine lessons, tests, and activities into a restricted access course, complete with e-commerce integration. Learnhub also includes live tutoring, live video, voice, whiteboard and document sharing.

If you want to teach something online, this website sounds really interesting.

WorksheetLibrary.com contains
thousands of worksheets for all school subjects and levels. This is a subscription service, but you'll find some free worksheets in every area.

For all math enthusiasts

Some math software!

First of all, some real "heavy" machinery for serious computing:

SpaceTime 3.0 is now available for Windows, Pocket…

### Math Mammoth Introduction to Fractions

A new book for the Blue Series, Introduction to Fractions has simple fraction lessons with lots of picture-based visual exercises, and small denominators.

### Movies of math in the real world - FuturesChannel.com

I delved into this fascinating website just this past week, and I heartily recommend you visit it, too!

Most math teachers have faced the age-old question, "When will I ever need this?", especially when kids get into algebra and more. Well, FuturesChannel.com has the answer - in the form of short movies, lesson guides, and worksheets.

The topics are just fascinating, from skyscrapers, roller coasters, endangered animals, to inventing, the subway, bakery, bicycle design, etc.

For each movie, there is a worksheet or several for the student that concentrates on some math topic that is needed in the field shown in the movie.

Some samplings:

100,000 computers a day
A rare and fascinating look inside the world's largest computer manufacturer, Dell Inc., where thousands of computers are custom-built and shipped around the world every day. From the call center to the inventory system to the assembly line and beyond, one thing is certain: The whole operation relies on a variety of ma…

Today is Pi day (3/14 or March 14) and to celebrate it, you can LISTEN to your Pi!

My hubby said the music is pretty good but needs a chorus...

And here are a bunch more links for celebrating Pi day... from Let's Play Math.

### Silly Sentences and carnival time

Homeschooling Carnival is online at At Home with Kris. There's a special section on the recent situation in California.

Some picks: since I have a preschooler at home, I went to check Have Fun with Sentence Structure, only to find SisterLisa explaining how much DK's game Silly Rhymes had helped her daughter.

Well, that I can chime in with, because we recently bought a very similar game, called "Silly Sentences" and my preschooler is LOVING it! In fact, in the mornings when she wakes up she tends to go directly to the drawer where we keep it and start playing.

### HomeschoolEstore is now CurrClick

HomeschoolEstore.com has changed its name and from TODAY on it is called CurrClick.com - curriculum in a click! CurrClick carries electronic curriculum products catered especially to homeschoolers.

They have a grand opening lasting for a week, during which you get a 10% account credit on every purchase you make.

here's a link directly to my Math Mammoth books at CurrClick.com:

Math Mammoth at CurrClick

I also want to mention.... they have an affiliate program. So if you like my books (or other products there), and want to promote them, you can earn credit at CurrClick by joining their affiliate program and posting banners/links on your website or blog.

During this week only, you get 15% on every purchase you initiate as an affiliate. I think the normal percentage is 10%.

### A triangle problem to solve

I have another neat problem for you to solve. This one should be accessible to middle schoolers on up.

The sides of triangles A and B measure 5, 5, 8 and 5, 5, 6 respectively. What is the ratio of the area of triangle A to that of triangle B? Express in simplest a:b form.

This problem is original to John Morse. He is a local mathematics researcher/
author/tutor/computer programmer in Delmar, NY, and has written this problem to help learners use creative and problem-solving skills in various ways. And I think this problem can indeed help in that - it can be solved in many different ways.

[update - solution follows]

I like this problem because there are many ways to solve it and to use it with different grade-level students - such as is already mentioned in the comments.

1) You could use this as a drawing and measuring exercise with 6th or 7th graders who have learned to do compass and ruler constructions.

Once they know how to construct a triangle given its three sides (or see here as well…