Maria's Math News, January 2015


Welcome to a new year! I invite you to play the 2015 Mathematics game — it's great fun for students of (nearly) all ages! You'll also read about a teacher who used NEWSPAPERS to help her students gain in math, and find several other neat math teaching ideas. smile. Several items in this newsletter come from Math Teachers at Play blog carnival.

1. Math Mammoth news

2. 2015 Mathematics Game (grades 3-12)

3. Fourth grade SDC class achieves tremendous gains in math using newspapers (grades 3-7)

4. Teaching the distributive property in 3rd grade (grades 3-5)

5. How to incorporate art into math class (grades 1-12)

6. An idea to teach function notation (grades 11-12)


Math Games for K-7 from KidsMathTV

Math games for homeschool and classroom practice. 24-h free access from on phone, Ipad and PC.

1. Math Mammoth news

  1. Educents is offering Math Mammoth at 40% off!

    Till January 12, you can get these three bundles at a 40% discount:
    • Math Mammoth Blue Series bundle
    • Math Mammoth Light Blue Series bundle
    • Math Mammoth All Inclusive bundle

    Check out the deal at

  2. Will there be Math Mammoth Algebra 1?

    I've had several people ask me if I'm planning to write high school math courses. The answer is no. I'm planning to stop at pre-algebra. The main reason is, for the high school level, there already exist good math books written by people who truly know math and can write well, so I feel there's no need for me to write anything, and that I could not write any better texts.

    I've tried to put together somewhat of a guide for high school math for people who ask me for advice. I realize that it's not 100% comprehensive and is not for everyone. Some students will just take practical math or something like that in high school. I just am a math lover -- not so much of the calculations but of the thinking processes and logic -- so what I wrote on that page reflects that.

  3. Three new books in the Blue Series that deal with pre-algebra topics:

    Math Mammoth Expressions & Equations

    Math Mammoth Expressions & Equations workbook cover
    PDF $5.90
    This is a worktext covering the order of operations, equations, expressions, and simplifying expressions in several different ways in 6th-7th grade level. We also touch on inequalities and graphing. In order to make the learning of these concepts easier, the expressions and equations in this book do not involve negative numbers.

    Download free sample pages (PDF)
    Writing and simplifying expressions 2: area
    The distributive property
    More equations

    Learn more →

    Math Mammoth Rational Numbers

    Math Mammoth Rational Numbers workbook cover
    PDF $3.85
    All fractions and whole numbers are rational numbers, and so are percentages and decimals (except non-ending non-repeating decimals). Hopefully, students already know a lot about rational numbers. Our focus in this book is to extend that knowledge to negative fractions and negative decimals.

    Download free sample pages (PDF)
    Rational Numbers
    Multiply & Divide Rational Numbers 1
    Multiply & Divide Rational Numbers 2
    Equations with Fractions

    Learn more →

    Math Mammoth Linear Equations

    Math Mammoth Linear Equations workbook cover
    PDF $6.80
    Math Mammoth Linear Equations presents the student with the basics of solving linear equations, including equations that involve a variable on both sides and equations that require the usage of the distributive property to eliminate parentheses. We also briefly study inequalities and graphing. This book best suits pre-algebra or grades 7-8.

    Download free sample pages (PDF)
    Word Problems 1
    Two-Step Equations
    Growing Patterns
    Variable on both sides
    Speed Time, and Distance

    Learn more →

2. 2015 Mathematics Game

Photo by Carol Vanhook
If you don't know, this is a fun game where we try to make the numbers from 1 to 100 using the digits 2, 0, 1, 5 and various math operations. For example, you could write

25 − 10 or

5 + 1 − 2 + 0 or

5 × (2 + 1 + 0) or

50 / 2 − 1

etc. and you'll get various numbers. The challenge is to make ALL of them from 1 to 100!

Take special note: square roots, exponents, and factorials are allowed.
This means you can do 52 + 10, √25 − 10, and 0! + 1 + 2 + 5. You can even use decimals, such as .2 to make 5 × .2 + 10.

You can submit your results to Math Forum.

Denise at Let's Play Math also accepts submissions. Her rules are a tiny bit different from Math Forum's. Check out both:

And have fun!

3. Fourth grade SDC class achieves tremendous gains in math using newspapers

(Maria's note: This is a true and inspiring story of a good teacher making a huge difference in these children's lives! It was an entry to my Math Moments contest in early 2014. And yes, she did win some Math Mammoth materials! I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.)

By Sylvia Everett

In 1998 I received my first teaching position, a fourth grade SDC class (Special Day Class) in one of the most dangerous parts of Northern California. The children had previously been confined to the cafeteria and sometimes even locked in to prevent runaways. I was given two aides who while they tried their best both were barely literate themselves.

It was hell and heaven. The kids had never had a teacher who spoke their own home language and this immediately created a bond between us as well as enabling parents to freely communicate with me.

I was given a room and allowed to scour the school to use whatever anyone else wasn’t using, which was a blessing as I had not built up the stores of needed materials that are a teachers mainstay. I can only imagine if I had the Math Mammoth series what other major changes I could have made in their lives.

I walked a fine line. There was fourth grade curriculum, there were Individualized educational plans for each child, and then there was the fact that most of my kids could only count to ten and were unable to write these numbers. I had to make math fun and relevant. I turned to the newspaper. Somehow the school was supplied with free daily papers and I made use of these. We made menus. We shopped for groceries. Homework was making market lists with our parents and then we were looking for deals and coupons in class. It was amazing how they took to the work. Money and the things one needs to live on are major motivating factors!

Within weeks we were adding up multiple numbers they had written themselves. We could put values to coins and bills. They were able to play store in the classroom and at home. 

I was able to move into other areas of mathematics and allowed the children to continue the newspaper exercise as a homework practice. My children had seen that math was not something to be hated, but something that was all around them and in every aspect of their lives.

Parents were amazed that their children could not only understand the concept of numbers, but had helpmeets in their shopping and children who were realizing the value of a dollar.

I was blessed with being in these children’s lives for 3 years in one way or another. At every step I scrambled for material. I spent hours and hours trying to create relevant and purposeful lesson. Teaching is hard work and any possible advantage a teacher receives benefits her students. To be handed materials like Math Mammoth was a dream. I can be thankful for what I accomplished with what little I had, but I can also see what the possibilities could have been if I had been properly supplied.

Sylvia Everett

4. Teaching the distributive property of Multiplication in 3rd grade

The distributive property is at the same time something very abstract and something that ties in with very concrete things and with mental math.

To introduce it, this 3rd grade teacher presented his class with a question, "How can we break apart the array 3 x 7 to make it easier to solve?"

See how he continued:

Distributive Property of Multiplication... oh, my!

5. How to incorporate art into math class

Lots of ideas for incorporating art into the math classroom! For example, you can have students create a comic strip, a poem, a game, go on a scavenger hunt, create a scrapbook, construction art, and more!

Taking Your STEM to STEAM: 8 Ways to Add the Art

6. An idea to teach function notation

This teacher uses hearts and smiley faces to make function notation painless to learn!

=> How I Teach Function Notation

That's it for this newsletter! If you liked something in it, share it! Simply forward the email to your friend/colleague. smile

Subscribe here.

Till next time,
Maria Miller
Free worksheets Games & etc. Curriculum guide
My books Lessons Newsletter Archives