Maria's Math News, May 2015

A mixed bag with even some silly stuff this time... be sure to check out the Math Stars for summer math or just for problem solving fun! smile

  1. Math Mammoth news
  2. Math Stars for summer math and more (grades 1-8)
  3. Lessons on statistics (grades 6-8)
  4. Number eaters (grades 1-5)
  5. Bike math with Stop/Go signs (grades K-5)
  6. A nonsensical math question (grades 3-12)

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1. Math Mammoth news

I will be running a sale soon — in the latter part of May! Stay tuned! smile

Review workbooksFor summer math, consider Math Mammoth review workbooks!

The workbooks are intended to give students a thorough review of the particular grade level math. Each book has both topical as well as mixed (spiral) review worksheets, and includes both topical tests and a comprehensive end-of-the-year test. The tests can also be used as review worksheets, instead of as tests.

The content for these workbooks is taken from the corresponding level of the Light Blue series (the mixed reviews, reviews, tests, and cumulative reviews). Therefore, these workbooks are redundant if you own the complete Light Blue Series.

See more & download samples →

2. Math Stars for summer math and more

I have used Math Stars problem solving sets with my girls for several years, and they have always greatly enjoyed them.

Math Stars include various puzzles and challenging math problems. They  come as PDF files (free and ready to download & use) in sets for grades 1-8. They're great to use for summer math or for some fun problem solving at any time.

I tend to use the problems from one grade level below the grade the student is in.

One reason I like these so much is the variety of the problems - geometrical puzzles, number puzzles, logical thinking, etc. --  all of it is included!

Another reason is that the sets go all the way from grade 1 upward. There exist actually lots of problem solving resources but not so many for the early grades.

Each set per grade has 10 two-page "newsletters", and each "newsletter" has 8-10 problems. The number of stars in each problem marks the level of difficulty. Answers are included.

Math Stars Problem Solving Newsletters

I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

3. Lessons on statistics

Is statistics one of your favorite or least favorite topics in math? :)

Well... however you feel about it, in middle school students need to learn some beginnings of statistics, such as how to draw a boxplot, a histogram, or a stem-and-leaf plot, learn about statistical distributions, measures of central tendency (mean, median, and mode), measures of variability, and so on.

You can now do so with these videos of mine  :^)
or with this Youtube playlist.

I hope they are of help!

4. Number Eaters game

Here's a neat little game to practice addition via fact families... Number eaters! My four-year old enjoyed playing it the other day, playing from sums of 2 all the way to sums of 7.

Hint: The "practice" mode does not have any "monsters" to try to avoid.

You can also play it with subtraction, division, or multiplication, but I feel it naturally suits addition the best. And, equivalent fractions are an option, too.

5. Bike math with Stop/Go signs

This activity was shared with me by Sigrid as an entry to the Math Moments contest I ran in 2014.

There are SO many ways to make learning creative! smile

(Sigrid's description follows)

I want to share an activity I did with my 6 year old. He's really bright and likes to always learn something new, so addition fact practice, although necessary, was wearing on him. Math was becoming a battle. Plus he had recently gotten a new bicycle and would have much rather been riding it than doing addition problems.

So I decided to make the bicycle part of our math lesson. I made a stop/go sign with my printer, card stock, a popsicle stick and a stapler. My printer was running out of ink so it wasn't beautiful, but it did the job!

I told him we were going to do bike math. He was so excited! He got to ride his bike to the corner and back, then I would stick out the stop sign and he would stop and do an addition problem. Then I would flip the sign to the "go" side and he could take off again.


He did a whole page of problems without a complaint. Since then we've done the same thing with him riding his brother's tricycle around the living room, which was silly and fun.

We also do math while playing his favorite board games. When he does a problem correctly, he gets to make a move. Combining things he likes to do with the math he needs to do made all the difference. Now he looks forward to math time!

6. A nonsensical math question

Some of you might find this interesting... ask your children/students a NONSENSICAL "math" question and see what they come up with.

SADLY, many children calculate some kind of a numerical answer. However, like one commenter on that page points out, it could be that they feel they must always give a teacher an answer. Interesting anyway!

The "math" (supposedly) problem is,

"There are 125 sheep and 5 dogs in a flock. How old is the shepherd?"

That's it this time! I hope you found something helpful. smile

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Till next month,
Maria Miller
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