Saturday, 30 March 2013

Middle School Math resource - Problem Solving

Working in a classroom with many different levels can be quite challenging.  Finding resources that motivate all students is something that we strive for.  One of the resources that I use is the Problem of the Week from the University of Waterloo.  These have been great for my class. Each week they send out problems at different grade levels.  I print out copies of all the levels and give the students the choice of which ones they want to try.  The levels are grade based with Grade 5/6,  7/8, 9/10, and 11/12.  I have some students who work at the 5/6 while others attempt the 11/12.  The great thing for my problem solving class is that I don't have the answers for the problems and so I am able to work through some of the problems with the class.  They get to see an authentic attempt at problem solving by me and see how I go about trying to figure it out with them.  They also give their input when they see my thinking is wrong or question when something doesn't make sense.  Waterloo gives you a week to figure it out before they put out their detailed answers.  These have been great for the class as they get excited to see the answers and see if their thinking was correct and they are able to work at a level that is comfortable for them. 

Here is the link: 

If you have a great problem solving website , please share.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Middle School Math Project - Mystery Number

I have always tried teaching students about Number Theory near the beginning of the year so that we can all have an understanding of the vocabulary that we will all need for the rest of the year.  I put some mystery number challenges in with some of the problem solving that I do with my students and they all enjoyed them.  We started creating our own and voila a new project was born.  Students have found this project fun just because they can make a puzzle with it and challenge others.  I have also had students put these on the display board outside of the room (another teacher's idea: not mine) and they attract quite an interest from other students.  The general idea is to learn things like prime, factors, multiples, but you could challenge students to put many other concepts in.  The criteria that I give them is below. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Middle School Math Projects - Treasure Island

This project came to me while trying to cover a few topics at the same time near the end of the year.  Angles, probablity, measurement and I fit in ratios as well.  This project has been borrowed by quite a few people and adapted in many different ways.  The idea is that the student are pirates and need to bury their treasure.  The must make a treasure map and give directions on where the treasure is buried.  There are many things you can do with it.  Here is my original criteria sheet that I handed out to students.  The possibilites of what can be done here are endless.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Math projects for Middle School - Designing a hotel

As an educator in Middle school for over a decade I have been actively creating math projects.  I also at times run out of ideas and am always looking for collaboration.  I figured this out a few years ago when on a learning team about Math and again recently when I changed jobs and now have the chance to discuss ideas with my partner.  Through the discussion new projects are created.  My idea here is to post different projects that I have created but hope that others will post there ideas as well. 

My first post is a new idea that my partner and I recently put together.  The idea revolves around students designing a Las Vegas style hotel.  See the Criteria Sheet I put together and make comments if you wish. If you use the idea, it would be great to see the results of what you did.  We have not used this idea yet but it is going to be our next project.  Feel free to change anything in the project, we are hoping to have the students build there hotels with either foam board or cardboard and then have a Vegas type day where the students have a chance to go to the hotel and play some of the games there.  We will hopefully make a miniature Vegas Strip for kids.  I will try to post some pictures when the project is done.

Please also see my update post at: