Saturday, July 15, 2017

New Resources for 8th Grade Math

It has been a busy week beginning to prep materials for a second year of 8th grade math! It was a pretty smooth transition from teaching only 6th grade math to having a section of 8th grade math (in addition to 6th!) last school year. However, having gone through a full school year, there are a few additional 8th grade resources I felt my students could use!

Pythagorean Theorem Task Cards
One of the concepts I quickly realized my 8th graders could use a lot of practice with is the Pythagorean Theorem. Since my students enjoyed the "star-level" aspect of these Angle Relationship Task Cards, I decided to create a set related to the Pythagorean Theorem. This new set, linked below, includes 56 task cards related to the Pythagorean Theorem. They are differentiated with four different star levels that correspond to the difficulty. With these cards, students practice determining if a triangle is a right triangle (using the PT), finding they missing hypotenuse of a right triangle, finding the missing leg of a right triangle, and solving challenge problems.

I try to keep my students working on as many hands-on activities as possible, but let's be honest, sometimes you just need a bank of practice problems to help students review! I began creating these 8th grade math review packets last school year and just recently finished up a full set of them. They hit all of the main concepts that we cover in 8th grade math. The bundle includes five different packets and a total of 147 problems. Topics and link are below!

1. Rational Numbers, Monomials, and Percents
2. Equations and Inequalities
3. Angles, Polygons, and the Pythagorean Theorem
4. Volume and Surface Area
5. Statistics and Probability

Hope you can find these resources useful in your back to school prep! I will be continuing to add to my bank of 8th grade math resources, so stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

4 Effective Games for Middle School Math Workshop

Those of you that have implemented math workshop in your classroom know the importance of having engaging, easy prep, centers for your students. Math games are an integral part of my classroom and are an important part of creating a "math is fun" attitude in my students. If they are reusable activities... even better! I have found math games to be an effective way to keep students motivated. In this post, I will share the four games that I have found to be the most engaging!

(1) The Product Game about a strategy game! The Product Game is such a fun way to get students thinking ahead while also practicing their basic facts. The goal of the game is to get four in a row. Students determine which number they cover up on the number grid by multiplying the two numbers that are covered on the bottom of the board. A more detailed explanation of the rules is at the link above. I have played this as a class vs. teacher game as well as a partner game during math workshop! This has been a go-to game for my math centers. I usually introduce it early on and then come back to it again towards the end of the school year.

(2) The Factor Game
This is another great strategy game. If you are working on finding the different factors of a number, The Factor Game is perfect for practice. Players take turns circling a number on the game board. For each number circled, the other player gets to circle all of the factors of that number. At the end, students add up their circled numbers to determine the winner!

(3) Connect Four Games all of the games I have created, these games are probably the most engaging and versatile. I use these as small group math centers, as a whole class game, and all the time with my math intervention groups. Doing problems in a game format is just so much more fun than a worksheet! I have a huge range of topics available for both 6th grade math and 8th grade math. Many of these would also work for other grade levels! Check out my 6th Grade Math Connect Four Bundle or my 8th Grade Math Connect Four Bundle, depending on what you need! If you would like to get an idea of the format, grab a free copy of a game from each of these bundles at the following links!

FREE Connect Four: Multiplying Decimals - 6th Grade Math
FREE Connect Four: Area, Volume, and Surface Area - 8th Grade Math

(4) Zap!
I have seen different versions of this floating around the internet. I'm not sure who originally thought of it, but it is great... and never ending. We all know their is nothing better than an engaging and never ending math game for students to play! The idea is basic. Students take turns pulling a stick from the jar. If they solve the problem correctly, they get to keep the stick. If they pull a "Zap!" stick, the have to put all of their sticks back in the jar. The best part about this one (other than the never ending part) is that you can easily create a set for various topics. I have a set of basic facts as well as a solving equations set. Both have worked out great! Click HERE for a full explanation of how the game works!

I'm always on the search for new math games. In the comments below, feel free to share the most effective math games that you use in your classroom!