Math Worksheet Mania

Math No Comments »

Sometimes I just need my students to practice math concepts, and so I provide worksheets for that purpose. To me, it seems silly to create my own worksheets when there are so many good sources out there. Here are a few of my favourites:




Math Worksheets 4 Kids


HomeSchool Math

Kuta Software (many free worksheets)



March Math Madness

Math No Comments »

March is an awesome month. The snow starts to melt, the temperature outside rises, the number of daylight hours increases, and NCAA March Madness takes place.

Over the last few years I have been incorporating March Madness into my probability lessons, but I haven’t been entirely happy with the outcome. Once again, I have tweaked my lesson. As I still have a few weeks before the competition begins, I may tweak again. I will also update the file to include the teams in the charts before distributing to my students. Until then, here is what I can share, so far:

March Math Madness 2015

Have a great week.


Updated File:

March Math Madness 2015



Interesting Resources

General Science, Math No Comments »

This week I came across two interesting educational resources, the National Stem Centre in the UK and surprisingly, the National Security Agency (who knew?).

I was searching for solubility animations when I came across the National Stem Centre. According to their website, they house  “the UK’s largest collection of STEM and teaching resources”. The e-library is definitely the place to be on that website, where you can search their vast resources by topic, age range, type/format, publisher, or year. If interested, here is the resource I found for solubility (which is actually only a small part of this resource).

The second site was found as I was exploring creative ideas for teaching slope. One of the documents that came up in my search was a pdf from NSA website. I was surprised at the source, and so I went to their main site to see what other type of resources were available. Finding the education section was a bit tricky and wasn’t easily accessible from their main page, but I managed to find the right area. The section is titled “Concept Development Units”, and the right side bar allows you to choose elementary, middle school, or high school. Once on the correct school section, there are a variety of math topics with lesson and unit plans to explore. Here is the resource that I found which uses Geometer’s Sketchpad to help teach slope concepts.

Have a great week.


Can It!

Math No Comments »

One of the assignments that my grade 8 students completed is called “Can It”. Our unit mixed both cylinder and angle concepts, and the assignment touched on both.

The premise of the assignment is as follows:

“You are the owner of a food processing company. You have a new product that you want to market, and a major grocery store has agreed to sell your product. You will need to design a can and a label for your product.”

The students are then led through a series of ten different steps to complete, beginning with product ideas, then walking them through the design of the can and label, and ending with pitching the product. It is assessed with an IB Communication rubric.

I have shared it here for anyone to access.

Can It!

Have a fabulous week.

Begin the year with math.

Math No Comments »

I have three math websites to share before school begins again next week.

The first, Mr. P’s Math Page, is suggested based on the Puzzles & Games page.  Explore the other pages as you wish, but make sure to spend some time looking through the variety of puzzles and games that he has shared in this section. The other real treasure on this website is the Problem of the Month archive.

Next, visit the Number Loving Resources site. There are a multitude of games to be found here, searchable by strand, topic, or UK Key Stage Levels. When you are finished there, head over to the Number Loving Blog to find great teaching ideas.

Finally, Mr. Barton’s Maths has a slew of worthwhile resources. You can wander over to the Just for Fun or explore his blog, but I have spent the most time on the Teachers page. While there, be sure to look through the Teaching Resources and then wander over to the Tarsia Jigsaw Bundle.

Have a fabulous new year.


Instead of Magic Squares…

Math No Comments »

I was looking for some integer challenges for some of my students, and I came across Dr. Mike’s Math Games for Kids. If the advertisements don’t bother you, then you can find some interesting worksheets for math. The one that peeked my interest was the Magic Hexagon worksheet generator. Magic Hexagons work in the same way as Magic Squares, with the obvious shape change. I liked that this worksheet generator can create Magic Hexagons with positive and negative integers.

Explore the rest of his site to learn about a variety of math games, or head to his worksheet page and you will find worksheet generators for other math puzzles and mazes, as well as for standard review.

Have a great week.

Making Ends Meet

Math No Comments »

I have recently finished a budgeting activity with my grade 8 math class titled, “Making Ends Meet”. (The document is attached below.)

Each student was given a “job” with an entry level salary. The first step was for them to determine their after-tax monthly income. They then needed to determine how they were going to allocate their income to the following categories:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Medical Expenses
  • Entertainment
  • Sports/Fitness
  • Clothing
  • Miscellaneous
  • Savings

Students came into class with a report that outlined the distribution of income in their budget. For the summative task they were then presented with a series of challenges and unexpected problems to consider. These were not shared with the students beforehand.

It was a time consuming task, but well worth the learning experience. My students now have a sense of the value of the dollar, the importance of getting a good job, and the reality that life is more costly then they realized.

Have a great week.

Making Ends Meet 2013

App Review – Math Doodles and Symmetry Shuffle

Math, Using Tech No Comments »

There are two apps by Carstens Studios that I have loaded onto our school iPads.

The first app is called Math Doodles and it sells for $2.99. The user is given three challenges (a fourth is in development) that revolve around addition, logic, and algebraic thinking. In the first challenge, Sums Stacker, the user needs to manipulate values within three piles in order to reach a target sum. In the second challenge, Connect Sums, the user must select values that reach a target sum. In the third challenge, Unknown Square, the user must find the missing value in a 3-by-3 array of numbers. One of the things I love about this app (in addition to the awesome graphics) is the ability to play in a variety of number systems. The user can choose to play with values represented as dice, fingers, holes, ten frames, tally marks, binary system, Braille, number prefixes, polygons, US coins and dollars, a variety of fraction types, Roman numerals, numbers shown in  either Chinese, Arabic, Gurmukhi, Hindi, Hebrew, or Spanish, or a mixture of all of the above. There are different levels of difficulty, as well. All of these options allow the app to be used across a number of grade levels.

The second app is called Symmetry Shuffle and it sells for $1.99. The user must either rotate (turn), reflect (flip) or translate (slide) the image so that all targets have been matched. The user can select from 12 possible images to “shuffle”, and can also change the size of the “shuffle” grid. Its features are not as diverse as on the first app, but I still find it a great addition to our math apps on the iPads.

Both apps allow the user to track the number of moves they have used so that they can attempt to solve the puzzle in the fewest possible moves, which is another great feature for differentiation.

Have fun playing.


A Day for Social Action

General Education, Math No Comments »

On Friday I took a group of students to We Day. It is a day organized by Free the Children, a charity which inspires youth to take action and be agents of positive change in the world. Founded by Craig Kielburger, the main missions of this charity are to assist the impoverished with education, clean water and sanitation, health, alternative income, agriculture and food security. Full day events will occur this year in Toronto, Vancouver, Alberta, Manitoba, Waterloo, Montreal and Saskatchewan. The day is filled with musicians and motivational speakers who want to inspire youth to get involved in social action. In Toronto, we listened to Jennifer Hudson, The Tenors, Al Gore, Justin Trudeau, Hedley, Martin Sheen, Nelly Furtado, Spencer West, General Romeo Dallaire, K’naan, Justice Sinclair, and The Honourable David C. Onley. Our students left feeling inspired by the stories they heard and energized to rally for others less fortunate than themselves.  In the spirit of the day, I would like to highlight a few math resources that focus on social action.

I discovered a new resource called “Real World Math: Engaging Students through Global Issues” from Facing the Future. I tried one of their sample activities in the spring, which linked sustainability to surface area and volume. I decided to order a copy for this year, and I am excited to try more of their tasks. The resource focuses on issues such as waste and recycling, poverty, population growth, youth conflict, global health and carbon emissions. There are a variety of other resources to explore on their website, including web-based and print resources.

For many years I have been a fan of an organization called The Southern Poverty Law Center, whose mandate is to fight hate and intolerance. Their Teaching Tolerance program assists educators in preparing youth to live in a diverse world.

The Global Education website is based in Australia, and contains resources for a variety of global issues such as clean water, cultural diversity, human rights, sustainability, poverty, international aid, food security and the environment.

It is also worth checking out a few other resources that I have previously mentioned. “Math that Matters” from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives focuses on connecting math and social justice so that students can make connections between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them. Radical Math is a website resource for integrating economic and social justice issues into the math classroom.

Have a great week.


Playing with Probability

Math No Comments »

I had to plan for the last 6 teaching days with my grade 8 math classes, and after that we are into exam review and end-of-year trips. We had not yet covered probability, so I thought that I could design some mini-activities to carry out over these six days.

Here is my plan for the six days:

Day 1:
-Introduce terminology (probability, theoretical probability, experimental probability)
-Each student is given an activity to carry out with either dice or spinners (see attachment below)
-Discussion of theoretical and experimental probability as related to the dice and spinner activities

Spinner and Dice Activities

Days 2/3:
-Introduce game assignment (see attachment below)
-Allow time for students to decide if they are working alone or in small groups
-Planning time for students to organize the activity

Game Assignment

Days 4/5/6:
-Students lead activities for class
-Class discussions of how each activity went and how other factors might have come into play. Classmates suggest ideas for improvement.

We just finished the first day of activities in one of the classes, and already students are learning how to modify their activities based on how the first ones went.

We will play some more tomorrow.

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