Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Math Lit: The Great Graph Contest

This is another wonderful book by Loreen Leedy. It was a new purchase during this school year, and my third graders gave it a big thumbs up!

Gonk and Beezy (a toad and a lizard) get into a contest to see who creates the best graphs. Along the way they demonstrate collecting data and displaying it. This could be a great introduction to data concepts. I chose to use it after we had some experiences with data, letting students identify what type of organizer was being used (the book has Venn diagrams, circle graphs, picture graphs, and bar graphs). At the end of the book there are ideas for using the content also.

The story is told with cartoons, thought bubbles, even photographs. My kiddos were very engaged with the action. This year we revisit this topic during each math unit, so this is a great resource to come back to throughout our learning.

Do you have a favorite book about graphing?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Math Lit: Two of Everything

This is a book that has been in my classroom for a couple of years, but somehow I had overlooked it until about a week ago! Never again -- this old Chinese folktale is a fun book for introducing multiplication with a factor of 2.

Mr. Haktak finds a pot buried in the earth while digging vegetables. It turns out that anything that goes into the pot gets doubled. Mr. and Mrs. Haktak realize that they can keep putting in gold coins, and soon the floor is covered with coins! However, in a small accident Mrs. Haktak falls into the pot and is doubled -- and then Mr. Haktak also falls in. Don't worry -- it all works out :)

This book is great for primary students working on doubles facts and for intermediate students working on multiplication by the factor 2. To give my students practice relating the new multiplication concept to the doubles facts that they already know (OK, several of them don't), I gave them gold coins to double. They wrote the addition fact first, then the multiplication fact.

This can be done with counters, but I also made some cards for them to use. I'm sharing them with you today to use with this book. If you can't find a copy, you could make up a story about the magic pot and still use the cards. Just click on the picture below to get a set. With twelve cards, I just made a set for each table to work with. Rather than use up copies for a record sheet, students wrote in their interactive math notebooks.

Do you know any other great books for doubles / twos?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Math Lit: Sir Cumference and the Off The Charts Dessert

I enjoy reading books by Cindy Neuschwander to my students. I've already written about Sir Cumference and all the King's Tens here; today I am sharing my newest book.

I recently used this book to introduce collecting and displaying data (3.MD.2.3). The story of a contest between two bakers to prove who has the best sweet treat provides the context for keeping track of the votes for each product. It is an engaging story which my students enjoyed. The story includes picture graphs, tally charts, pie charts, and bar graphs.

To help my kiddos learn about these ways to display their data I put together a simple page for them to complete as we read the book. They gathered on the rug for our math meeting with their pencils and clipboards. We filled in the page as we read, then they put it in their math notebooks. I'm sharing it with you today for use with this book. If you don't have the book yet, you can click the picture below to pick it up from Amazon.

To get your freebie, click this picture:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fun With STEM

When my grade level team met for pre-planning the math teachers had to discuss and set a goal to meet the objectives laid out by our district and school. We decided that our goal will be to begin doing STEM activities on a monthly basis.

I'm really on board with this; I had already determined that I wanted to do this over the summer. So, we had a learning activity in both August and September.

In August we did this awesome cup stacking challenge. Students worked together to build the highest tower they could. It was a great opportunity to get them working together in a team.


At the end they concluded that the foundation made all the difference in being successful builders.

Our September challenge also involved building a tower but it was very different from the first challenge. This time each team was given 20 pieces of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string, and 1 large marshmallow. The challenge was to build a tower that would hold up the marshmallow. Also, the tower had to stand up by itself! I teach two classes, so a total of 8 teams attempted this challenge and only two were successful. It was even better than the first -- so much problem solving going on, lots of great discussion about what to try. They had 18 minutes to complete their tower.



Both of these challenges were found online at other blogger's sites. Check out my Pinterest STEM board here to see these and other ideas I have pinned.

Are you incorporating STEM this year?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Math Lit: Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest

Happy Tuesday! It's time for a new math lit post, and this week I'm sharing a book I used with my class near the end of the last school year. Hottest Coldest Highest Deepest is by Steve Jenkins (you may be familiar with some of his books; this one was a new one for me last spring).

This book takes students all over the world to the most extreme places on Earth. My kids were fascinated by the information about the snowiest place on earth, the deepest lake on earth, and other extremes. It's a great book for math because of all the measurements that are included in the book. This works well with comparing numbers activities so for this year I made a little activity for my students to do using mountains and rivers. They will cut out the information strips and put them in order, then glue them to construction paper. Since I made one for mountains and one for rivers I will probably use them at different times to go largest to smallest and smallest to largest.

While I made it to go with reading the book, it can also be a stand-alone activity so I'm going to share it with you. If you have the book or can get it I highly recommend it, though! The mountains have pictures, and the rivers are just black and white print for those who don't want to use color printing. Just click the picture to download your freebie!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Math Lit: The Grapes of Math

If you have never used books by Greg Tang, let me introduce you! This is one that my students always enjoy.

This is one of the books that I usually save for the end of the year. After state testing in April we focus on "Get Ready for Fourth Grade" lessons in math. I love to pull out this book and do just one or two riddles per day.

This book challenges students to think about the math problems using patterns, groupings, and other ways. Check out the video.

You also need to explore the Greg Tang website! Click on the Books tab and then this book for an online activity to go with the book. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Week Four and Still Standing!

I'm a bit late with this post, thanks to leaving my camera at school on Friday. I really wanted to write about the Oreo Cookie Stacking Project and needed my pictures!

This was a week of becoming more exhausted; I put in mostly ten hour days, and feel that I am not even beginning to catch up. It's all I can do to get ready for the immediate lessons -- all the extra stuff is not getting done! You know, doing my self-evaluation and writing my professional development plan -- the one I'll be evaluated on, as well as looking at the data from my students more in depth and planning instruction and small groups. Most days I go home and tell my husband how horrible it is and that I need a new job (attitude much!)! This weekend I told him I'm going to Peru (I saw a getaway on Groupon). Will it get better? I sure hope so. I've got a good bunch of kids, thankfully.

So, it had been a few years since I had done the Oreo Stacking Project from Projects by Jen. Someone mentioned it on their blog, and I immediately was reminded of how much fun it always was. To make it even better, we were just wrapping up some lessons about data and graphing so I knew we could collect the data and work with it :)

 Click to go to the project info page

I had four packages of oreos, so put the kids into small groups and they took turns stacking. It's a very fast paced activity, and the onlookers were keeping count of how many cookies in the tower, so they didn't mind waiting. Here are a few pictures of their efforts:




They reported their number to me and I made a frequency table. The highest stack had 26 cookies, and the smallest had 9. The project definitely can be used for mean, median, mode  -- not 3rd grade standards, so we did not do that but I have done it in the past when it was included in our FL standards.

Their first assignment with the data is to turn the frequency table into a tally table. Next they will be creating graphs with it. They are loving this because it is their own data rather than something in a book.

Have you ever done this project?

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