Friday, April 28, 2017

Math Teachers at Play Blog Carnival #107

The Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) blog carnival is a monthly collection of tips, tidbits, games, and activities for students and teachers of preschool through pre-college mathematics. We welcome entries from parents, students, teachers, homeschoolers, and just plain folks. If you like to learn new things and play around with ideas, you are sure to find something of interest.
I'm so excited to be hosting this edition of the MTaP Blog Carnival at Give Me a Sine! If this is your first carnival, welcome! This is a great way to find some new bloggers you'll love and even share your ideas in the future! I am a high school teacher, so it has been particularly awesome for me to get to explore so many new middle and elementary level blogs as I prepared to host this month. 

Want more information about the MTaP Blog Carnival?  Want to host it at your blog?  Want to submit a favorite blog post?  Click here for more info

Since this is edition #107, let's ask the question on everyone's mind....What's so special about 107? 
  • 107 is a jackpot for prime number trivia! 
    • The 28th prime
    • A Chen prime (since 107+2 is also a prime!)
    • A safe prime (is of the form 2p+1 where p is also a prime)
  • The smallest positive integer requiring six syllables in English (if you include the "and")
  • The atomic number of bohrium
  • The "911" of Argentina and Cape Town
  • The number of legal acupuncture points
  • 33 states and the US Virgin Islands have a highway numbered 107

And now, on to the posts! 

Talking to Parents about Math Explorations
While this post contained only a copy of a letter sent home to parents after a recent Math Exploration event, I loved the message that mathematics continues outside the classroom walls. So often, kids conceptions of math are influenced by their parents prior knowledge and experiences. I love the intentional outreach to parents to embrace the math of every day life! 

Playing with symmetry in kindergarten
a) As a high school teacher, my heart basically melted here
b) I love all the different explorations the students used here to explore symmetry- from pattern blocks to mirrors to modeling with their bodies. The idea of symmetry is an integral part of my geometry and calculus classes daily, so building these intuitive understandings young is so promising! 

"Who Wants To Count My Windows?"

This great post from Joe Schwartz on working with constraints in a 5th grade classroom. He builds off the "Ant Hotel" problem to create a fun-filled learning experience for his kiddos! 

Practice Math Facts Using Your Voice!

Cool and definitely fun to play with, this tool allows you to practice math facts with your computer just using you voice. Did my husband wonder why I was yelling numbers to myself in another room? Probably. But I can see littler ones loving this for practice! Just make sure you allow it to access your microphone. 

Origami Math Game {Tutorial}

I think making cootie catchers is a right of passage in the elementary days. Crystal Wagner shares a tutorial for turning this into a math game for your kids! 

Middle School

My husband and I just closed on a house this week and I am so thankful to be a math teacher. I've gotten hit over the head with all the mathematics around me daily- even just buying the right amount of shelf liner for the kitchen or getting the right sized fire extinguisher. This post made me laugh out loud given all the high school math we've been doing and would be a great launching point to get kids talking about the geometry around them. You can also check out this one, on combinations, from the same blog: Three Sisters And Their PJ’s

Sort Students into Groups using Percents, Fractions and DecimalsThis fun activity will sort kids into groups AND get them thinking in the process. I can even see using this at the high school level- we all know fraction skills can always use a boost!
This activity draws on the proportional relationship that exists in linear functions and gets kids reasoning proportionally. This would provide a huge booster to the discussion of slope, too! 

High School

Denise Gaskins shared this fun Patty Paper Trisection activity (complete with Hints and Solutions: Patty Paper Trisection). This puzzle gets the participant thinking about how to trisect an angle, using simple tools. Straight edge and compass aren't going to help you here, folks. Give this one a try! 

MULTIPLE REPRESENTATIONS FOR TRIGONOMETRIC EQUATIONSSam Shah is one of my go-to's for quality and thought-provoking material in my upper level courses. This activity gets kids thinking conceptually about my all time favorite thing- the unit circle! Trig equations can be hard, but with the right conceptual understanding....BAM! You've got magic! 

To Whom it May Concern: Learn to Love the Why.This one is a keeper. Read the whole thing and listen to the voice clips. Kids can sometimes be our most honest and necessary feedback sources.

This isn't new, but it's been circulating in my mind for the past few weeks as we approach AP exam time. This is a Tuft's study that advocates practice testing as a shield from memory from stress. I've tried to integrate more practice testing into my review this year and I see a difference in what my kids are willing to take on. I don't have a fully formed opinion yet, but it definitely got me thinking. 

A Brief Ode to Blank PaperSometimes we give too much info to our kids. This piece by the amazing Tracy Zager (whose book is sitting on my nightstand and a must read) and advocates that by giving less, we cause kids to think more. 
General Mathiness

These 2 posts from Mike Lawler will get your wheels turning with unsolved problems and the bridge between "pop math" and real math:

This post explores linear congruential generators and how they could be a source of mathematical play. It delves into computer programming, modular arithmetic, and more! Definitely worth an exploration! 

Let me know if you had any other favorite posts of April and submit your posts for next month's carnival! Happy Math-ing! 


  1. I love it! Hope to find time for leisurely browsing over the weekend. Thanks so much for hosting the carnival! :-)

  2. Thanks so much for featuring my blog and, more importantly, giving my HS student friend's voice an even broader audience. I can't wait to read all these blogs. Thank you for taking the time to curate these.