Maria Miller
Hello again! I hope you will find something useful in this month's collection of tips!

  1. Math Mammoth news
  2. How should students show their work for math word problems?
  3. A geometry scrapbook project (grades 4-7)
  4. Calendar activities (grades 1-2)
  5. Just for fun!

1. Math Mammoth news

ChristianBook is now carrying Math Mammoth books! They're even running a sale right now.
More news: Math Mammoth will be at Great Homeschool Conventions, at Cincinnati, Ohio, April 4-6, 2024.

I won't be there in person but our plan is that visitors can catch me using Zoom or similar service.

If you're in the area, or are planning to come, you're welcome to visit booth #1322 to browse books, take part in a raffle, get a special coupon code, ask questions, and more. 😃

2. How should students show their work for math word problems?

Someone asked me about showing work in math word problems and I thought others might enjoy hearing about this topic also.

Personally, in the lower grades, I'd ask the child to EXPLAIN their thought processes orally, and then gradually teach them to write something on paper. The main thing students in grades 1-3 need to write is the actual calculations they did, not only the final answer.

For example, if they added 23 and 87 to get the answer, they should write 23 + 87 = 110 and include the units of whatever it was, such as $23 + $87 = $110 or 23 cm + 87 cm = 110 cm.

In the upper elementary grades (4-6) I'd like to see students write sentences and/or words in addition to the calculations so that another person can follow their solution.

I'll give some examples.

(from 4th grade)

Mr. Jefferson travels from Paducah to Lexington and back, three times a month. What is his total mileage? (A map shows that the distance in question is 255 miles.)

An example solution showing the work:

One round trip is 255 + 255 = 510 miles.
Three round trips are 510 + 510 + 510 = 1,530 miles.

(from grade 4)

Mick earned $345 from strawberry picking, and Jeanine earned three times as much. How much did they earn in total?

A concise solution showing the work:

Jeanine: 3 × $345 = $1,035
Total: $345 + $1,035 = $1,380

A bit more wordy solution showing the work:

Jeanine earned 3 × $345 = $1,035.
In total, Mick and Jeanine earned $345 + $1,035 = $1,380

Both should allow another person to follow the reasoning.

(from grade 5)

A T-shirt cost $10.50, but now it is discounted by 2/5 of its price.
Annie buys ten shirts with the discounted price. What is her total bill?

An example concise solution showing the work:

Cost of one shirt:
$10.50 ÷ 5 = $2.10
3 × $2.10 = $6.30

Total bill:
10 × $6.30 = $63.00

A bit more wordy solution:

One shirt costs 3/5 of $10.50, which is $10.50 / 5 × 3 = $6.30.
Then ten shirts cost 10 × $6.30 = $63.00.

David pays a 20% income tax on his $2,100 salary.
a. How many dollars is the tax?
b. How much money does he have left after paying the tax?

These are very simple questions so this time writing the calculations is enough.

a. $2,100 / 10 = $210
    2 × $210 = $420

    or $2,100 / 5 = $420.

b. Again, all that's necessary to show the work is to write
    a subtraction: $2,100 − $420 = $1,680

(from 6th grade)

14. A herd of 40 horses had some bay, some chestnut, and some white horses. Thirty percent of them are bay, and 45% are chestnut. How many horses are white?

An example solution showing the work:

100% − 30% − 45% = 25%.
So 25% of the horses are white.
25% is 1/4.
And 1/4 of 40 horses is 10 horses.


Percentage of white horses:
100% − 30% − 45% = 25%
25% of 40 horses is 10 horses.
So 10 horses are white.

In a nutshell:

The purpose of writing down the work allows someone else to follow the person's thought processes. This is of course important for students to learn no matter what their future occupation: they need to be able to explain to others how they solve a problem, whether a math problem or a problem in some other field of life!

One more tip: You could ask a fellow student or sibling to read the student's work to check if it can be followed and understood!

3. A geometry scrapbook project

I love this idea! It's so simple. Give your child some geometry terms, and they need to find an example of each term in their surroundings, somewhere in real life, take a photo, and then put that to the scrapbook with an explanation.

It is the idea #2 on this page (see the example photos there):
From STEM to STEAM: 9 Specific Strategies for Adding the Art

You could simply choose the main terms for the grade level your child or student is doing.

This would work best for grades 4-7 approximately.

4. Calendar activities

We have some new calendar activities at Math Mammoth practice!

Currently, the page includes these activities:
  • List the dates for a given weekday in a month (e.g. Give the dates for all the Thursdays in June)
  • Tell the weekday of a specific date (e.g. What weekday is September 14, 2003?)
  • Arrange the names of months in order
  • Fill in the missing names of months in order
Check out: Calendar activities

These are all intended for about 1st grade level. We intend to add a few more, for 2nd and 3rd graders.

I also want to ask, do you have a calendar activity (online) that you'd like to request? Any feedback on the existing ones? Just reply to this email. :)

5. Just for fun!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Till next time,
Maria Miller