Posts filed under ‘Math’

Math Bingo

by: Jennifer Perez


Math Bingo??  Yes, that is right!  I am sure some of you have heard of Math Bingo before…some of may have not.  I decided to bring “back” the Math Bingo game for one of my newest clients….5 year old R.  Little R is now tutoring with me, Ms. Jenny, and we began working on all sorts of math goodies: numerics 1-100+, recognizing numbers in word form, using manipulatives to represent numbers, addition, subtraction and more! Before meeting my newest little client, I had prepared a Math Bingo game  as the culminating activity.  I prepared the bingo card with the numbers 1-9 in their individual boxes. I then showed R a flash card with a number spelled out in number form, which he then located the matching number on the card and covered it with a foam manipulative. We continued in this fashion until he has three in a row and shouted “BINGO!” We had such a great time that R requested that we play Blackout!  ( Apparently, this is where you play until all of the squares on the bingo board have been covered!  Of course….I said yes!)

For Example ~ I showed R the flash card which read- “FIVE.”  R read the number five and then located the matching number in numerics on his Math Bingo card.

This is an excellent, easy way to make math fun in your home!! You can use the Math Bingo game to review  ANY operation: Addition, subtraction, Multiplication or Division.  Whichever you choose, just create the correct flash cards. For example, if you want to work on addition- then your flash cards would contain addition problems such as 5 +2 which your child would then locate the sum of  7 on their Math Bingo card and cover it with what ever you choose.   I am sure that you have the materials in your kitchen junk draw as we speak!

Materials needed:

  • blank computer paper OR any solid color paper
  • index cards
  • dried pasta OR beans
  • markers OR colored pencils OR crayons

What to do:

1. First, decide how many numbers you want to use for your child’s Math Bingo card.  Create the bingo card, using the blank computer paper or colored paper, with just a few less boxes than numbers chosen.

2. Create an appropriate set of flash cards using your index cards and markers.  If you are working on addition then create addition cards.  If you care choosing to work on multiplication, then create multiplication flash cards, etc…

3. Review the rules of the game with your child and discuss prize, if you choose, once the have “BINGO.”

4. Set out Math Bingo chips for your child to use to cover their numbers.  You can use dry pasta, beans or small cereal pieces.

Playing the Math Bingo is a sure way to get your child excited about math, which-let’s be honest, is sometimes difficult to do.  Continue to challenge your child by adding a few more flash cards to their stack each week or maybe even inviting them to create their own!!

Happy Bingo playing!!

© Jennifer Perez 1/14/11


January 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM 2 comments

Math Journals

by: Jennifer Perez

If you are a teacher who teaches Math, READ THIS!   In our county, we have a Math Instructional calendar which helps to guide teachers with how much time they can/should spend on lessons.  This calendar may vary depending on our students, of course.  On the current calendar, it was suggested that we cover procedural type things during the 1st week of school such as:

  1. How to handle manipulatives
  2. The First 20 days of Math
  3. Different Kagan Structures
  4. Math Journals
  5. And more….

Math Journals?  Yes, that is right….Math Journals.  I quickly learned the purpose of these journals and I must say…the idea is absolutely brilliant.

Remember your “journal” when you were young?

As a child, I remember having y very own journal.  It was a place where I wrote my thoughts, reflections, aspirations and more.  This journal was so very important to me because it held many personal accounts of my life.  Did you also have a journal?  Can you relate to this?

What is a Math Journal?

In essence, a Math Journal is similar.  As a teacher, you can ask your students to include anything YOU choose in their Math Journals, but please give this some thought.

~What can be included in their notes that will be of value?

-Example questions completed as a class

-Vocabulary words to be learned in the chapter you are covering

-Diagrams to serve as a visual for those students who are visual learners.

-A page glued from the student’s math book showing work on certain problems

-Summary/Reflection of the lesson

If the Math Journals are completed properly, they can serve as a powerful study tool for your students!  Now that I have had an opportunity to work for with students for about a week with their Math Journals, I’d like to offer some advice.

Don’t stress if you find that the Math Journals must be tweaked for your students!  It is ok.  Just remember the purpose of the Math Journal; it is meant to serve as a resource for your students.  A place where they can turn to when they need a refresher and/or need to study!

Happy Math Journaling!

© Jennifer Perez 9/4/10

September 6, 2010 at 2:16 PM 1 comment

Pasta Pictures

by: Jennifer Perez

I had my students create their very own Pasta Pictures on the 1st day of school. I chose to have my students create addition sentences, but you can easily have them do subtraction, division or multiplication.It was really simple and only required a few materials!

What you will need:

Pasta-I used small elbow pasta

Construction paper-any color

Elmer’s glue

1 sharpened pencil

What to do:

The first thing you will need to do is decide the purpose for this activity? Are you trying to:

  1. Just let the kiddos explore numbers by using pasta
  2. Make this more of a learning activity-asking the children to show you what they know OR
  3. How about a combination?

In my class, I did more of a combination.  After handing out all of the supplies, I went around to each student and assigned him or her each a different number.  Each student then brainstormed the possible ways to come up with that sum when adding the numbers together.  For example- I assigned the number 16 to a student.  On the back of their construction paper, they brainstormed the possibilities of creating the sum:

  1. 8+8=16
  2. 10+6=16
  3. 13 + 3=16
  4. 12 + 4= 16

The student then chose one of the addition sentences, wrote it on the front of their construction paper and represented it with pasta! Take a look!

This student was assigned the number 20.  They chose the addition sentence 11+9=20 and then represented that number sentence with their pasta.

This was an ELL (English Language Learner) student.  He was assigned the number 10 and chose the addition sentence 3+7= 10.  The pasta was a wonderful way for me to show this particular student “addition” without there being a language barrier.

Get as creative/challenging with this activity as you’d like!  Remember, learning in the form of “play” is never a wrong way to go!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/28/10

September 1, 2010 at 6:11 AM 4 comments

Math Manipulatives

by: Jennifer Perez

What exactly are Math Manipulatives?  According to Wikipedia, a Math Manipulative is “an object which is designed so that a student can learn some mathematical concept by manipulating it. The use of manipulatives provides a way for children to learn concepts in developmentally appropriate, hands-on ways.”

With that being said, lets look at a few different math manipulatives and how they may be used in our classrooms.


1.Tangram ~ A geometric tangram contains seven pieces.  These seven pieces can be re-arranged into a plethora of different images such as: people, birds, animals and objects.  Allowing students to the opportunity to use Tangrams is instrumental!  Not only will they be sharpening their geometry skills, but they will also be working on: shape identification, understand basic geometry concepts and build their spatial awareness.

Pattern Blocks

2. Pattern Blocks ~ A set of Pattern Blocks will typically include: squares, triangles, trapezoids, hexagons, rhombuses (rhombi) and smaller rhombi.  Using pattern blocks with your students will create another opportunity for them to continue their geometry and spatial awareness skills by:

  • Using attributes to describe, analyze and draw different geometric figures.
  • Being able to identify and describe plane figures.

Encourage ‘explore’ time with your kiddos by asking them to create images with certain objects. For example: Ask your students to create a house only using a square and two triangles.   Part of the learning process will be locating those figures and manipulating them to create the appropriate image.

Fraction Stax

3. Fraction Stax ~ I just learned about Fraction Stax this summer from a Professional Development Training I attended.  The concept is simple, yet extremely beneficial- Fractions that can be stacked!  The Fraction Stax help students (and adults) make and see: equivalent fractions, adding fractions, subtracting fractions and finding like fractions.  The benefits from the manipulative will continue as long as it is being used!   All Fraction Stax module fractions using : halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eights, tenths, twelfths, and one whole. The Fraction Stax includes 51 fraction pieces, a 9-peg base, and an activity guide.

Chances are, your school may already have these manipulatives available for you to use in your classrooms.  If not, I suggest locating whatever manipulatives are available and researching effective ways to integrate them into your classroom!!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/6/10

August 9, 2010 at 7:17 AM Leave a comment

Pennies Add Up

by: Jennifer Perez

This is an activity I present to my students each year and they LOVE it!  With each new set of students that reach my classroom each year, I see a trend.  My students have zero to no concept of money because our society has moved toward using debit cards and credit cards instead of using cash.  Gone are the days when you can give your child $5 to go shopping and hope they not only make a wise purchase, but also have some change to spare!

Lesson Objective:

Not only will this activity help your child become more aware of ‘physical’ money, but it will also help them keep track of their money using a check register and raise their money awareness.

What you need:

  • Assorted Bills~ $1, $5, $10, $20
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Blank check registry

Let’s begin:

1. Begin the lesson by giving your child/student a blank check registry and imaginary beginning balance.

2. After you have given them their monthly balance make them aware they now have to begin paying monthly bills.  (Create bills that will add up to approximately 50% of their total balance)

3. Using the check registry, model for your child/student how to subtract the monthly bills from their beginning balance.  (Encourage using a pencil in case mistakes are made in the registry!)

4. After the mandatory bills are paid ask, “What else would you like to buy?”  Work with them to realize, after looking at their end balance, that some of the “stuff” they might want -they may not be able to afford.

5.Try to get your child/student to come to the conclusion that they will need to be disciplined with their purchases and will need to save their money in order to make particular purchases.

6.  Before they become frustrated, remind them that they get a monthly allowance!  I would say something like, “ I know it’s frustrating not having much money after the bills have been paid, but remember, you will receive another $100 allowance at the beginning of the month for doing your chores!  Let’s go ahead and credit your account with your $100 allowance so you can see how much money you will have at the beginning of next month. See? Keep saving your money and soon you’’ be able to purchase the new Xbox video game. “  (Crediting the account was just for an example.  Be sure to erase the credit and reapply until the allowance has actually been given.)

Below is a sample of the numbers used:

Monthly  allowance ~ $100

Bills: Taxes $10, Insurance $15, Rent $20, Cable $5

Birthday Money: $50

You can take this lesson as far as you would like!  This lesson is to help your child/student learn the concept of money, use a check registry and learn the value of a dollar.  As long as they are engaged from the start, I have no doubts it will be a lesson that will not that will carry on for some time!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 7/22/10

July 23, 2010 at 9:03 AM Leave a comment

Math Lessons for The Greedy Triangle

by: Jennifer Perez

After receiving some wonderful feedback from last week’s Polygon’s with The Greedy Triangle, I decided to go ahead and create a few more Math activities that correspond with this book!

Thumbs Up

At this point, you may or may not have already read The Greedy Triangle to your children.  If you have great-if you haven’t now you will!!  Prior to this activity, I recommend reviewing the different types of polygons listed in Polygon’s with The Greedy Triangle.  Afterwards, explain to your child that you will now read The Greedy Triangle to them.  Each time that they hear the name of ANY of the polygons reviewed, they are to put one thumb up into the air. (Model this for your kiddos so that they are 100% sure of your expectations!)  This is an excellent way to integrate your Read Aloud and practice Math vocabulary at the same time!

Depending on the age of your children, you may want to let them take turns reading out loud and having their siblings continue with ‘Thumbs Up” when they hear any names of Polygons!

Polygon Search

You will need:

  • Old magazines/newspapers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Construction paper

After reading The Greedy Triangle, immerse your children with a variety of old magazines/newspapers and have them search for polygons within the photos.  When they find their polygons, help them cut and glue onto their construction paper.  When the glue has dried, have your child label each photograph/picture with the appropriate polygon name. Challenge: Find one photo/picture of each polygon.  If one cannot be found, one can be drawn!

When the Polygon Search is complete, hang it up in your child’s I.L.S. to use for future review.

The Greedy (Pentagon, Heptagon)

Ask your child this question, “If you could re-write this book using a different polygon, which one would you choose and why?”

Further promote this creative thinking by asking probing questions:

  1. How would this polygon react in _____situation?
  2. Why would you/wouldn’t you keep the same ending?

Now, get the paper and pencils ready!!!  Get your child excited about writing their very own The Greedy _______ Book!!  This is their opportunity to let their writing juices flow!

Extension: Take this activity one step further by promoting computer usage.  Your child will benefit from typing on the computer-they will have an opportunity to practice real-world skills, reading and writing.  When finished, print and post for all to enjoy!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 7/14/10

July 14, 2010 at 6:47 AM Leave a comment

Polygons with The Greedy Triangle

by: Jennifer Perez

One of my favorite books to use when I begin my Geometry Unit is The Greedy Triangle by: Marilyn Burns. The Greedy Triangle does a wonderful job at introducing the names of different polygons and their physical attributes.

An excerpt from The Greedy Triangle, “ Always on the go, the triangle supported bridges, made music in symphony orchestras, caught the wind for sailboats, and much, much more.  But his favorite job was to slip into places when people put their hands on their hips.  “’That way I always hear the latest news,’” it said.

Activity ~ This activity is ideal for children in Grades 2-6.

1. Create a poster with the polygons used in the book (do not include the number of sides on the poster YET!) Read over the list together:

  • Triangle~ 3 sides
  • Quadrilateral ~ 4 sides
  • Pentagon~ 5 sides
  • Hexagon ~ 6 sides
  • Heptagon ~ 7 sides
  • Octagon ~ 8 sides
  • Nonagon ~ 9 sides
  • Decagon ~ 10 sides

2. Discuss with your child/student that you will be reading a new book to them called The Greedy Triangle.  Explain how this book will be used to introduce polygons in an amusing way.

Polygon- “ a closed plane figure bound by three or more straight line segments.”

3. After reading the book, encourage your child to use the book as a resource in order to determine the number of sides for each polygon mentioned.  If your child is younger, use the illustrations to aid them in this process.

4. When this has been completed, review the answers together and write onto the poster.  Ask your child/student to provide you with evidence from the text to support their answers! (This way, they also get in some reading AFTER hearing it read aloud fluently first!  VERY clever!)   After this has been done, hang this poster in their I.L.S. for future use!

5. Leave this book out for your child/student to enjoy again and again!  This was just an introduction to polygons so the more exposure the better!

(More The Greedy Triangle lessons to be posted soon!)

Happy Learning!

July 8, 2010 at 7:07 AM Leave a comment

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