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Summer is in good swing... and once again I have some math resources for you. Save this email to read later if you can't get to them now.

1. Review: CAMS & STAMS books from Curriculum Associates

2. Tux Math - free math facts software

3. Order of operations and "bubbles"

4. Problem solving videos--bar/block model

5. Tidbits

These books are

- a student book (consumable worktext) with instruction and exercises. This is the heart of the program, and always covers the most important topics of the grade level, as given in the NCTM Focal Points and Connections.
- A test booklet, which contains a pretest, a postest, and four "benchmark" tests. The benchmark tests are to be used to monitor student progress throughout the year.
- A very detailed teacher guide for the student text, and another, much thinner teacher guide for the assessment booklet.

Read the review!

My girls remembered about it just lately and have had somewhat of a frenzy of practice sessions with it. It's simple, free, yet fun. So I decided to give you, my readers, a quick review of it.

You "shoot" meteorites that are falling down by answering math problems (type the problem's answer and press Enter/Return). If you can't answer one, the meteorite does some damage to one of the penguin's igloo. Then after enough damage, the penguin in that igloo leaves (walks away).

But, once you answer a red "fiery" question that falls down real quick, you can get a

The background is always an image from space.

The options include any of the four operations, or have them mixed. You can practice specific times tables for example, which is good for my younger daughter at this time. As you go along in a game, then the questions start coming down quicker. At first they come down quite slow.

There's a training section, and there's a section where it gives you random questions. In that one, you play as long as you want, and when you stop, it'll tell you if you are in the top ten highest scores for you. If so, then you go in the "hall of fame."

Once you finish any particular type of problems (for ex. addition 0-5 or multiplication by 4), the star for that turns glowing yellow, and that's what my kids are after--they want to turn all those stars yellow. That's only in the training part, though. In the training part you have to answer a certain amount of questions.

You can make as many new "accounts" as you want and fill the "hall of fame" with you and your various nicknames.

It's just simple free game for math practice; there are no special features such as reports or training the facts you answer wrong.

Tux Math, or Tux of Math Command is software that is available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Download it here.

I just had this idea when my 2nd daughter was studying order of operations in addition and subtraction... that is, problems with many additions and subtractions, including parenthesis, things like

100 + 20 − (50 + 10)

or

20 − 8 − 6 vs. 20 − (8 − 6)

(Those problems are found in Math Mammoth grade 3 curriculum.)

So what we did was write some of the problems from the book on the whiteboard and she "bubbled" or drew bubbles around the operation to be done first. Well, her bubbles look like ovals, but she was thinking of them as bubbles--and that made it fun for her!

Then we did another fun thing, which is that she made me a difficult math problem with lots of additions and subtractions. It's seen in the bottom on the board. Then I solved it... and the answer turned out negative! Making

The same idea will of course work if you are dealing with multiplication and division as well.

First I solve the following word problem using a bar model (Singapore math style), taken from Math Mammoth grade 5 curriculum: Brenda and Lily shared the cost of a $11.70 lunch so that Brenda paid two times as much as Lily. Find their shares.

See the video

Next problem is this: One rake is $5.60 more than the other, and together they cost $22.70. How much does the cheaper rake cost?

See the video

And lastly, John spent 3/10 of his money, and had $45.57 left. How much did he have initially?

See the video

**Back To School Calculator Giveaway at CalculateWhat (ends August 2011)**

The grand prize winner will receive a brand new TI-83 Plus graphing calculator, a $99.99 value! Runner up gets a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

**Beth's bookshelf**

A new blog that has book reviews about math readers (children's books that teach math concepts), "living" math books, and such like.

**Why anything ÷ by zero is impossible**

Two ways to show or prove to students why you can't divide by zero.

**Visual symbols help with distributive property**

An idea to teach distributive property in algebra, using generic symbols first, instead of algebraic x's and stuff.

**Multiplying polynomials and quilts**

What does quilting have to do with multiplying polynomials? Click and see.

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Till next time,

Maria Miller