Sunday, December 31, 2017

Area Invasion! A Math Board Game

A new board game is ready to go! This new Area Invasion game is my first game that focuses on a geometry concept. This post explains the rules and how to play! You can get a copy of Area Invasion at the following link.

Materials: The game includes a game board, four different sets of 22 Area Cards (Rectangle, Parallelogram, Triangle, and Trapezoid), 21 Circle Slide Cards, Teacher Instructions and Rules, a Student Worksheet, and an Answer Key.

The game begins with each player on the "START" space. On each player's first turn, they can choose any type of Area Card. If they are able to correctly find the area of the shape on the card, they move ahead as many spaces indicated on the card. Once they are off of the "START" space, they must start each turn by drawing an Area Card that corresponds to the shape of the space that their game piece is on. For example, if they are on a trapezoid space, they start their turn by drawing a Trapezoid Area Card. If they are able to find the area of the trapezoid on that card, they move ahead the number of spaces it says on the card! The picture below shows one of the easier and more difficult problems for each type of shape.
If at any time a player lands on a "Circle Slide" space, they immediately draw a Circle Slide Card. If they are able to find the area of the circle on the card, they get to move ahead on the slide (the arrow on that space). If they get the problem wrong, they stay at the space they are on. On their next turn, they would then take whatever shape is on that space. One of the easier and more difficult Circle Slide Cards are shown below!

First person to reach the Finish space wins the game! I hope your students enjoy playing!

If your students enjoyed this game, they may also like playing the following board games. Each of these sets are at a discount when purchased as the bundle.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Using Games in the Math Classroom

As my teaching career has evolved, so have my classroom procedures, routines, and teaching style. However, one thing that has remained constant is the goal of creating or finding math activities that make math fun for my students. It is only natural then, that math games are a central them in my classroom. Whether it is in partners, small groups, or as a whole class, math games can be a great way to get students learning and practicing math, while also having fun! Below are some of the games that are either new or have become staples in the math classroom.

1. Product Game
This game has A TON of strategy involved. It is a great way for students to practice their basic math facts and is way more fun than just practicing with flash cards. The best part... you can try this one out for free at the NCTM Illuminations website! Click HERE to give it a try!

2. Fractions and Decimals Board Games
Up until this year, I hadn't really tried using board games that often with my students. After introducing these fraction and decimal games earlier this school year, I am wishing I would have done this sooner in my teaching career! Kids have responded really well to these games. This bundle includes a little bit of everything when it comes to fraction and decimal operations. There are six different games included that focus on either adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing fractions and decimals. You can click on the link below to check them out!

3. Siega
In my third year of teaching, it was a student that recommended playing this game. He had come from another district, where his teacher had taught his class what he called "Siega." Although it isn't math related, the strategy is great. Students start with three counters on their side of the board. They take turns moving one of their counters to an open spot that is touching (directly or diagonally) its current spot on the board. A player wins by getting their three counters in a straight line (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). However, the straight line cannot be in the original spot where the counters started. Play this a few times and students will quickly learn how they can "trap" the other player!

4. Math Bingo Games
Who doesn't like to play bingo? Whole group bingo games can be a fun way to practice different math skills. I like using the Squares and Square Roots Bingo game (linked below) in particular when we first cover exponents and square roots. It is a fun way for students to practice these skills and it can help these concepts "stick" that much more!

Whether it is math games or other engaging math activities, making math interesting and fun for students can have a long-lasting effect, helping to shape a positive attitude of students towards math!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Middle School Math Man's Favorite Things Giveaway

1. Favorite Holiday Activity

When it comes to the holidays, spending time battling the family in board games often tops the list of things to do. Whether it means breaking out a classic like Monopoly with the nephews or some Ticket to Ride against the in-laws, there is never a shortage of board game competition! This isn't very surprising, coming from someone who once played himself in Monopoly as a kid because all his friends and family were so sick of playing and more recently, played 17 games of Catan in two days... :)

2. Favorite Math Activity

Sticking with the board game theme, I discovered a new student favorite this year in middle school math. These new Fraction and Decimals Board Games have been a huge hit with students and are a fun way to practice different operation with decimals and fractions. In each of these games, students answer math problems as they work their way around the board. You can click HERE to see a blog post with some more information about how the games work!

3. Favorite Teacher Tool

When it comes to teacher tools, I've got to go with dry-erase paint. The $25 spent on this paint from Home Depot each year is the best $25 I spend in my classroom. I have seen increased engagement (who doesn't want to do math on a table?) and it works perfect as a table for the teacher center of math workshop. If you are interested in trying it out, be sure to click on the blog post below that details the whole process!

Don't miss my giveaway!

For a chance to win a $10 TpT gift card and a pack of Expo Dry Erase Markers, be sure to do the following two things:

1. Comment on this post with your favorite holiday activity! 

2. Follow my weekly newsletter by clicking HERE (and also receive a task card freebie!). If you already follow my newsletter, than you only have to comment on this post to be entered. A winner will be chosen on Monday, December 18th at 8pm EST. Good luck!

Now it's time to hop over to Scaffolded Math and Science's blog to enter another giveaway! 
Giveaway ends Monday December 18, 2017 at 8PM EST!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities Board Game Bundle

The popularity of board games in my middle school math classroom has been such a pleasant surprise! After creating these Fractions and Decimals Board Games for my students earlier this year, they soon became a classroom favorite. Students were actually asking if they could play them!

After seeing how students responded to these games, I decided it would be worth it to create similar games with a focus on algebra. This new bundle of games, an Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities Board Game Bundle, includes the following six board games for middle school math! Each of the games includes a similar game board that students must work their way around by solving problems. The board includes "Test Your Luck" spaces that provide an element of luck, either moving the player ahead or backwards. Each game board also includes a "Switch It Up" space. If a player lands here, they must switch their game piece with any other player! First player to make it to the end wins!

1. Expressions Frenzy! A Simplifying Algebraic Expressions Board Game

This game focuses entirely on simplifying algebraic expressions. Students must combine like terms, both positive and negative, to simplify each expression as they work their way around the game board!

2. Equation Invasion! A Solving Equations Board Game

This version of the game requires students to solve equations. This edition only includes positive numbers, but includes all types of equations. They range from simple addition equations to more complicated two-step equations. All of these problems have the variable on only one side of the equation.

3. Equation Invasion! A Solving Equations Board Game (Negative Number Edition)

This Negative Number Edition is similar to the regular Equation Invasion (above) but includes equations that involve negative numbers. These equations range from addition equations to two-step equations, but only have the variable on one side of the equation.

4. Equation Invasion! A Solving Equations Board Game (Multi-Step Equations Edition)
This Multi-Step Equations Edition includes equations that have a variable on both sides of the equation, making it a little more challenging. Students must first isolate the variable to one side and then solve!

5. Inequality Invasion! A Solving Inequalities Board Game

Inequality Invasion requires students to solve one and two-step inequalities as they work their way to the end of the game board! This version only includes positive numbers. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and two-step inequalities are all included in the playing cards.

6. Inequality Invasion! A Solving Inequalities Board Game (Negative Number Edition)

This edition is very similar to the Inequality Invasion game above, however it includes negative numbers. This version is great for upper middle school grades!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Easy Prep Multiplying and Dividing Mixed Numbers Review

It seems like the most effective teaching ideas and activities come at the last minute. Maybe you realize your students need some extra practice with a certain concept or you have a group that finishes early and needs something to do. This activity was a "morning of" idea I had for my math intervention group as we practiced multiplying and dividing mixed numbers. We needed some more practice with this skill, but I wanted to avoid just giving a worksheet. Instead, we made a challenge out of it!

Each student got one regular die and one fraction die. The idea was pretty simple, but very engaging. They rolled the two dice together to make a mixed number. Then they rolled them both again to create a second mixed number that they multiplied with their first number. This would also work great for dividing mixed numbers!

*If you don't have fraction dice, your could five them each 3 regular dice. Their first roll is the whole number and the next two create their fraction.

To make it into a challenge, every time they completed a problem correctly, they got to go up to the board and add a tally to our "Problems Completed" tracker. I went around and checked their answers as they finished.

For other games and activities to help practice operations with fractions, be sure to check out the following links!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fractions and Decimals Board Game Bundle!

I finally completed this full set of math board games! In 6th grade math, we begin the school year with a lot of multiplying and dividing of fractions and decimals. For some students, this can be frustrating if these computation skills have been a challenge for them in the past. I made these board games to give students a fun, low stress, way to practice these skills!

The bundle includes 6 different board games. You click HERE to check it out the bundle or click on the links below to see individual games. Each of the games is similar in how the game is played. On their turn, students draw a playing card and must answer the problem on the card. After checking with a calculator, they move ahead then number of spaces indicated on the card. If students land on a "Take a Chance" space, they draw a card from the Take a Chance pile. These cards either tell them to move forward or back. The six games that are included are listed below! If purchased as the bundle, you get one of the games free compared to purchasing individually!

Decimal Derby: An Adding and Subtracting Decimals Board Game
Decimal Dash: A Multiplying Decimals Board Game
Decimal Duel: A Dividing Decimals Board Game
Fraction Fury: An Adding and Subtracting Fractions Board Game
Fraction Fever: A Multiplying Fractions Board Game
Fraction Frenzy: A Dividing Fractions Board Game

I have been pleasantly surprised with how these games have gone over with my 6th graders this year. I've had a lot students actually ASKING to play these when they are finished early! I have also been using them with my math intervention groups with students who need some extra practice with these skills.

Monday, August 21, 2017

6 Ideas for Setting Up the Middle School Math Classroom

As a teacher, there is so much to do when it comes to setting up the classroom, that it is hard to know where to start! Over the course of my first six years of teaching middle school math, a few of these classroom projects have become staples in my classroom. In this post, I plan to share a few of these ideas.

(1) Assignment Notebook Board

The first thing my middle school students do (or should be doing!) when they come to class is fill out their assignment notebooks. With some ruler tape that I found at Office Max, I created this assignment notebook board. The number 1 on each day is for what we do in class. The number 2 on each day is any homework that is assigned. For example the 1 might be "Multiply Fractions" and the 2 might be "Pg 232 hw (due tmw)."


(2) Math is Everywhere Board

I have written about this project in a few other posts, but it is one of my all time favorites to start the year! I have two bulletin boards in my classroom. This one gets filled with these tiles. Students must show how they see math in the real world on their tile. On the back of their tile, they must write a paragraph explaining how math is seen in the topic that they chose! You can click HERE for a free set of the bulletin board letters!

(3) Challenge of the Week

 Many of you have already seen or tried out the Challenge of the Week in your classroom! I have loved seeing the pictures! Each week, I put up a new challenge problem. They are optional and students have until the end of the day on Thursday to turn it in. Anyone who gets it correct gets a small prize on Friday when we go over the answer! Both the 6th Grade Challenge of the Week Problems and the 8th Grade Challenge of the Week Problems are FREE in my TpT store. Enjoy!

(4) Teacher Book Shelf

My teacher book shelf took on some major changes recently. I started with this new way of organizing all of my math workshop materials. I decided to organize them more by the type of game, rather than by the topic like I had done in the past. I cleared these shelves off and organized them in these containers that I had ordered a few years ago. If you are looking for the materials and resources that I use for math workshop, be sure to check out my Math Mega Bundle (Upper Elementary/Middle School) and my Math Mega Bundle (8th Grade Math).

Below these containers, I have two shelves with labels for Monday through Friday. This is where I put all of my plans and resources that I will be using for the coming week. This has been a useful way to stay organized and prepared throughout the week! As you can see, I am not quite ready for the first week of school...

On the bottom of these shelves are my task cards, which very well could be the hardest resource when it comes to organization! I found these containers at Michaels. They have worked out pretty well. I have two sets of task cards that I use throughout each school year for each grade level. I have a regular set of task cards and then a set of enrichment task cards. Each set takes up two of these containers. Teaching two different grades means I end up with 8 of these containers, which is pretty manageable! Check out the links below if you are interested in the task cards for each grade level!

Math Task Cards Full-Year Bundle - 6th Grade Math
Math Enrichment Full-Year Bundle - 6th Grade Math
8th Grade Math Task Cards Full Year Bundle
8th Grade Math Enrichment Task Cards Full Year Bundle

(5) Bulletin Board (Number 2)

My second bulletin board is filled with some routine-oriented and expectation posters. I made these the last few years. The colored math workshop poster shows where students of each group should be at any given time. The homework data chart is where we record our homework data. As a class, we figure out what percentage of homework we turn in on time each day. Over the course of the year, we graph these and look at trends. It also becomes a fun competition between classes!

(6) Bobblehead Collection

I started my bobblehead collection a while ago and it has just grown ever since! Students enjoy seeing them and it is a fun way for students to get to know me and my interest in baseball! My wife and I are trying to get to all 30 MLB stadiums, and recently made it to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Luckily it was a bobblehead giveaway, so the Kevin Appier Royals bobblehead is the most recent addition to the collection!