Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Long Time Coming.....

Well it's finally finished.... it took a lot more work that anticipated, so I really hope it blesses some of you...LOL.... 

I have finished gathering, putting together, checking, making answer keys, re-checking, uploading, and scanning the math lab book into a digital file that is easy to download!

In this little digital book, you will find 19 originally created math labs, 3 math lab booklets (print and fold them to make a cute little booklet for your students), and 4 projects. Answer keys for every assignment is also included.

I've scanned the book so that it is a PDF file which will be easy for download, copying, and viewing whether you are on a PC or a mac. It is a total of 64 MB, and 130 pages...Lots of manipulative resources available for you to use in your classroom. :)

Here are a few sample images for your viewing enticement:

  - ($30) - preferred method of payment :)  You will receive a digital download link from Adobe SendNow to either print or save directly to your computer once payment clears

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Digital Marketplace

Well, I've finally had more than just a day off this summer to really focus on getting my math labs in order to compile in a digital book. I thought about doing a hard copy, but I know many teachers (including myself) use technology SO much in and out of the classroom, that I've decided to do a digital download for the book.

I signed up to create my own digital marketplace store and have all math labs for individual sale, OR all together for the "Middle School Math Lab" book (which is discounted compared to purchasing all the labs individually). I am working on uploading everything right now....literally, right now.... and once it is complete, I will be offering a week-long "Back to School" sale for the Math Lab book.

I am SUPER excited about this and I hope it blesses you and your students and of course inspires them!!!

Here's the link to my store:  CLICK HERE

There will also be a direct link on the side bar by the "Follow Me" on Pinterest button!!! Thanks for stopping by, and spread the word!!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"I ate sum pi"....

So I found this shirt the other day on Pinterest (my other addiction) and don't you just LOVE it!!!! I am so thinking about getting one of these!
Delicious Women's Cap Sleeve T-Shirt

Math Camp {Summer with Pizzazz!}

 These were a few of my lovely "Middle School" kids that took place in my first annual Math Camp. I dedicated two months of the summer to building and shaping students to better prepare them for the coming school year. I spent June with Elementary ages and July with Middle and High Schoolers.

And might I add.... IT WAS A BLAST!!!

Far more fun than I anticipated! And if you ask any of the students, they had fun too!

Here's some of the things we did this summer: (of course each grade level varied on the content)

  • Math Horse (with math facts)
  • Tangram puzzles to build problem solving
  • Math fact beach ball
  • Fraction scavenger hunts
  • Dice games to build operational skills (highly recommend the game I foung called "Salamander Shootout" - this also worked with my middle school kids)
  • And of course, the ever popular Fact Race game
 Middle/High School:
  • Checkers problem solving puzzle (found at Dr. Mikes games for kids)
  • Fractions, decimals & percents scavenger hunt and race game
  • Math Maze
  • Honeycomb magic square
  • Marcy Cook's Double tiles and Order of Operation tiles
  • Math horse with fractions
  • Nerf gun graphing
  • Factoring (algebra review)
  • Formulas (algebra review)
  • Radicals and Polynomials (algebra review)

I cannot wait until next summer to elaborate more on what I did and to have more students take part in making their summer meaningful!!! Here's to school starting in a couple weeks! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Algebraic Smoothies

Teaching a seventh grade level math course can be fun, but also have it's challenges - especially when teaching sixth graders who may not be ready for some of the algebraic content that we introduce at the end of the year. One of my favorite concepts though is that of Combining Like Terms.

It really sets the stage for their algebraic future and their understanding in solving more complete equations. But getting the students to really understand what you are doing with different letters can be frustrating...So we make algebraic smoothies and learn about combining like terms and have a delicious treat at the end!!!

*Remember to check with your students for any allergies before conducting this math lab
  • Blender
  • Three types of fruit (I brough frozen strawberries, bananas and frozen blueberries)
  • Orange Juice
  • 8 oz. cups (enough for each student)
  • Spatula or spoon
  • Paper Towels
  1. Have your students bring their notebook and a pencil down to the school kitchen and if you're able to be fore class, set-up all the materials. We have a nice stainless steel island in ours, so I had my students stand around with me and the blender at one end.
  2. Take out some of the fruit. I took out bananas and strawberries.
  3. Tell your students: "The Strawberries represent "x" and the Bananas represent "y"'
  4. Lay out like the picture below and tell them that we have "3 strawberries, 2 bananas, 2 more strawberries, and 1 more banana, which are 3x, 2y, 2x and 1y", right?

  1.  If I add them together, will I get 8 banana-berries? 8xy? NO!!!! We still have strawberries and bananas. we have 5 strawberries and 3 bananas.... 5x + 3y
  2. Conduct a few more examples to check for student understanding. Have students do these examples in their notebook. Feel free to use all the different fruits you brought and don't be afraid to challenge your students!
  3. After students have grasped the addition, introduce muiltiplication by saying "what if we want to multiply our terms?" This is where the blender comes in.
  4. Pour in about 1 cup of OJ. Add about 10 strawberries. Ask students to tell you what you added. They should reply with "10x" Add about 2 bananas. Ask students to tell you what this represents. this is "2y". As you blend (or before, depending on how loud your blender is) ask students to notice what happens when you blend together. Can you tell where strawberries and bananas are anymore? They are mixed together! This represemts multiplication of terms and our answer would be "20xy".
  5. Repeat with other fruit making additional examples.
  6. When you go back to the classroom to reinforce, be sure to do a few examples without the visual cues to check for understanding.
Happy Algebra Learning and I hope your students enjoy this as much as mine do!!! I know they look forward to it from the first day of school! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A new horizon

Summer is in full swing here and I am going to feature some things that are not just for middle school on here as I am piloting a program at my school this summer for students in grades 3 - high school. It is awesome so far!!!

The program I am piloting is Math Camp. Yeah, I know, sounds like math is trying to be fun... well, it is!!! I've dedicated the month of June to elementary school students and have it broken into two two-week sessions. Each class is an hour and a half long and we've focused on mastering math facts, decoding word problems, and above all gaining confidence in our mathematical skills and learning that math is indeed fun!

One of the students' favorite game is the Fact Ball. I took a beach ball and wrote math facts all over the ball in wet erase marker. This allows me to be able to change the facts each day and for each level. We play "hot potatoe" with it and take turns yelling "STOP!" Whoever has the ball when stop is yelled has to answer the fact that is underneath their right hand. It's been a lot of fun so far.

Look for some other fun games that you can also modify for your students during the school year!

I am also working on putting ALL (like over a hundred) math labs that I've created over the past couple of years together in a book to sell in the near future. I'll be promoting it and featuring it on the blog a little later, so keep your eyes peeled!

What fun things are YOU doing this summer???

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Perspective - {3D Shapes Lab}

We all need a little perspective from time to time... And I personally LOVE teaching this lesson to my 6th/7th graders during this time because it gives me a chance to teach them beyond the classroom and give them a little "life" perspective too. I teach this lesson when we cover the intro to three-dimensional shapes (prisms, pyramids, cones, cylinders and spheres) in conjunction with the lesson on drawing them (along with top, side and front views).

  •  45 - 60 minutes
  • Perspectives Math Lab booklet 
  • Snap Cubes

After you've taught the lesson introducing the different solids and you've shown your students how to use isometric dot paper, this is a great lesson for them to "put it into practice" and my students really enjoyed themselves!

Have your students get into groups and pass out the "Perspectives" Math Lab. Hand students 20 or so snap cubes to use to help them visualize their creations. Students will be putting "front", "side", and "top" views together to create a solid and then draw it using isometric dot paper. This can be hard for students in the beginning, so I usually walk through the first one as a class, so they can see how we can put it together and get a different viewpoint using idometric dot paper. The math lab also goes in reverse by having students take a solid and drawing the top, front and side views.

Happy drawing and constructing!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Around and Around Again {Math Lab}

This year I've also been teaching high school geometry along with 6th grade science. I love geometry because it's so tangible and fun for the kids to do activities with. This year, I did a math lab combining circumference and area. The cool thing about this lab is that students bring their own cylindrical object from home, and they end up memorizing important formulas :)

  • One cylindrical object brought from home from each student (also have extras in case students forget - although it works well giving a homework grade for them bringing in their object)
  • "Around and Around Again" Math Lab printout - available for $1 HERE 
  • Ruler
Time Period:  1 class period (30 - 45 mins)
Have students take their cylindrical objects and their rulers and get into groups of two or three. Students will use their ruler to measuren the top of objects in either cm. or in.  to find the diameter. Instruct them to fill in their chart and find the area and circumference of each object. Vary pi by using 3.14, 22/7 and leaving their answer in terms of pi.

This is a great lesson to reinforce circumference and area for students before they enter pre-algebra. Students also have a lot of fun finding different objects that have the same circumference and area for their circle bases. This also makes a great lead into volume and surface area of cylinders.

Have fun!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Just a HUGE
for all of you faithful readers. The blog has hit 20,000 hits and has surpassed my dreams with this. I am SO thankful for everyone of of you who share this blog with friends!

Now to start finding ways to make a little $ with it.... any ideas?????

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Get it in order" -{Math Lab}

Teaching 7th grade level math is a lot of fun because there's a bunch of different concepts to teach and so much fun you can have teaching them! One of the hard things though that I've had in the past is getting my students to understand the difference between a permutation and a combination...and apply it..... So I made this math lab.... and it was awesome (in my own opinion!)

Students will explore the difference between permutations and combinations by completing a hands-on math lab involving real-life senarios of permutations and combinations.

 * Construction paper (for the pizza toppings and flowers)
* scissors
 * Glue
 * Math Lab on "Get It Order: Permutations & Combinations" ($1 USD)

It was awesome to see the kids actually grasp the difference between the permutations and combinations and be able to complete problems involving both permutations AND combinations on the same paper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Percent of Change

What better way to teach percent of change than through real-life experiences? The very core of me wants to make math relational to students and to show them that even with technology and modern conviences, we still need to know how things work... So even though this math lab uses calculators, we talked at how to the stock market works.

Below is a little snapshot of the math lab. You can download the full version for $1 by clicking here:  

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have as much fun as I did with this little math lab!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

M&M's and Stats {project}

Every year I rotate what major projects I am going to do in my classroom. Partly because I get boared teaching the same thing every year and want to spice it up, partly because I have a lot of siblings and don't want them all to have expectations, and also partly because in the five years I've taught at Legacy, I've had the privelage of teaching everything from 5th graders to 10th graders. One year I taught math all day long 5th - 8th grade. So naturally, my projects have to be adjusted for the appropriate age-level.

Well, this year, I am doing a project I did my 2nd year teaching and have tweaked it a little to fit my liking this year. It's a great project to demonstrate during data and statistical analysis. I just assigned this project at the beginning of chapter 9 and explain that it's not due until the end of chapter 9, which means I expect wonderful, accurate graphs and work. My students don't disappoint either :) You can download the project at the end of the post.

Project Description:
Investigate through data collecting the color distribution of M&M's or Skittles candy. then evaluate claims made from respective companies of color distribution based on analyzing through various charts and graphs.

Project Timeline: 1 chapter (3 weeks) - I have this due the day before the test and have one project workday incorperated into my lesson plans half way through to check progress and guide and graphing mistakes/errors/confusion.

Pictures: close ups of the various elements on the poster.
pie chart of color breakdown by percentages
Bar Graph

Download the Project PDF for $1 here:
I hope you have a great time doing this project as well as I did!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Just wanted to say that I haven't forgotten all of you faithful readers this past week. I was sick with the crud and now am playing catch up with those exponentially growing math papers that got pushed off last week, and of course the ever-present lesson plans that need writing.... LOL.... I've got three things coming up this week, so I'll be back to posting tomorrow evening! :) Thanks for checking in!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Percent Estimation {Math Lab Game}

This is something NEW I tried this year and it was a big hit with my students. I usually don't teach % estimation through a math lab, but this year I decided to incorporate the lab into my instruction since we changed text books and it fell on a Friday in the middle of a chapter they were strong in.

To teach students to evaluate percent of a number by using estimation.

  • 10 index cards for each group
  • 2 spinners with 0 - 9 on them. One marked "Ones" and the other "Tens"
  • Math Lab Booklet

Before class starts: Gather two spinners for each group and label one "Ones" and the other "Tens". If your school doesn't have spinners, they are easily googled for pre-made templates. These will make the PERCENT the students will be using. Have the math lab booklets run off and the index cards made. I used random numbers like "28", "33", "78", etc. These will be the NUMBERS the students will be rounding.

During class: I spent a quick 15 minutes reinforcing this concept. We had already covered it with fractions, and my 6th graders take 7th grade level math, so it's not new to them. Explain the game by playing a practice round with one of your students. Then split students up into teams of two or four, depending on class size. If you have an odd number, then you can choose to play with that student, or create a group of three.

Game Play:
Each student will take a turn spinning EACH spinner. This will make the percent. Let's say you spin a "24". Then the player draws a card. Let's say, "62". The other player writes down "24% of 62". Then both work to find a good estimation. The correct answer would be "25% of 60". The player that spun then computes 25% of 60 and the answer is that persons score for the round. So in our example, this player would have scored "15" for their turn. Players take turns until every card has been used. (You can create more or less cards depending on time). At the end of the game, students add up their scores and the player with the highest score is the winner!!!

**I also turn this into a "Class Competition" by seeing who got the highest score out of the class. That person gets a "small, but fabulous prize" from the prize box ;)

Wanna keep mathnspire ideas and printables free?? Consider donating to great math ideas!

I hope you enjoy this game with your class!!!


I thought I'd let you "peek in" to my teaching hiatus. I love my job. I love my school. It took me a while to find my niche, but I am glad that God lead me to Legacy, because I have an amazing administrative team that gives me the freedom to teach with creativity and I know that they have confidence in my teaching ability.
My classroom from the front (in doorway)

If you're new to teaching, or to my blog, you've probably questioned the "how" or said something like "yeah, that works for you, but it would never work for me." It may seem like a lot of play, but trust me, my kids know their material.

My school is unique in that it's a UMS school (University Model School). I teach Monday, Wednesday and Friday - my math class is 90 minutes long, and I have the privilege of partnering with the parents in educating their kids. I believe education works better when family is involved.

I questioned the "logistics" of this type of school when I started teaching there five years ago. I've taught 5th through 10th grade level math and I can say that the kids learn. My current 6th graders take 7th grade level math and I also have 7th graders in there too! that's what's so awesome - no "boxes to fit into!" Last year, my 5th graders scored in the 98th percentile on the national SAT test - so I know they learned through the year.
Classroom from the back - (I teach science too)

I have found in my 8 years of teaching (oh my gosh, has it been that long already!!!)  that my students have learned best when I make math more than worksheets, formulas, and rote practice. Make it so they are involved. Which is why I teach to inspire ;) I hope you enjoy my posts and find a use in your classroom.

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And I love comments!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blog Award

I feel so honored to be awarded my first blog award...

A BIG thank you to Lauren from Life in Middle School blog! This is my first blog award and I feel so honored! "Liebster" means beloved or most loved, so THANK YOU for bestowing this upon me!

Here are the rules upon accepting this blog award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their page (link is up ^)
  2. Nominate 5 blogs to pass the award on to:

  3. Caught in the Middle, Button

    A+ Blogs

  4. Leave a comment on the blogs you chose notifying them of their award.

Be sure to check out these awesome blogs and remember to pass it along! :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

And the winner is......


Thank you, Mrs. Straus over at PLAY BY PLAY for her comment on the Freebie Friday post. Message me your address and I'll be sending your your awesome prize! :) Can't wait to see it in action in the classroom!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Freebie Friday {Give-away!}

I'm starting a new, cool, thing on the site called "Freebie Friday". It will occur every other Friday with some new, cool thing to win to inspire your students to do more, achieve more, and be inspired! All YOU have to do is leave a comment saying why you think this would be a benefit to your classroom and I will then randonly choose one to recieve this awesome gift! You have until 12:00 midnight (CST) to enter. If you win, blog about how you used it and include a link back to Math-N-Spire.  Good luck and happy Freebie Friday!

Marcy Cook Positive & Negative Add-Sub Tiles
This packet of Marcy Cook Math includes 20 task cards, instructions, answer sheet and marking sheet. Incuded is also 1 packet of quiet tiles. These algebra tiles have been a useful tool in my classroom in motivating my students and even getting them excited about doing math. You can make it a reward game, or incorperate it into your daily routine as a warm-up. Visit my post on using the Order of Operations Tiles to see how I've used them!

Keep Freebie Friday Free! Consider donating financially or with a great new product you use!

Happy Freebie Friday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Geometry Project

Thank you to CINDY over at love2learn2day for linking me in the teaching blogging community. If you haven't been over to visit her blog, it's an awesome resource and I am posting this post for the "Math Box Monday" :)

This is a project I usually do in the winter right after Christmas break to ease us into school again. It's a FUN project that allows students to use their creativity while exploring new/old geometry concepts.

Time Allotment:
- 1 week (or more)

Concepts Covered:
- Intersecting, Parallel & Perpendicular Lines
- Acute, Right, Obtuse & Straight Angles
- Polygons
- Polyhedrons

The first two days are spent working on the Geo-Map and the last two days are spent working on the Geo-Bug. Their only homework during this time is to work on these projects so that they are AWESOME on Friday.

Students will design a city that incorperates many 2-D geometric properties such as lines and polygons. Have students draw their whole city in pencil first and then color it.

Students will design a 3-D geometry bug based on polyhedra that has been covered. Students will give the bug a name, describe its features and habitat.
"Geopillar" circa 2010
Uses spheres, trapezoidal wings, rectangular prisms for legs and triangular prisms for antenna

Directions for Geo-Bug and Geo-Map: $4

I hope this is a great project for your classroom! I know my students LOVE this one and it is anticipated every year from the start of school!