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!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Revisited {Review Game}

I had posted this once before, but thought it needed a "repost" with some different pictures :)
{Link to original post}
**excuse the crumby photos, I had forgotten my camera and took them with my old phone!**

Time Period:
1 class period (60 or 90 mins) - you can adjust the length according to your plans. More cards = more time,

  • Index Cards (1 for each question you plan on covering) - I usually do 20 for an hour's time
  1. Decide on how many questions you are wanting to use. I say anywhere between 15 and 20 questions is good for an hour's worth of time. This is a great time to add in that spiral review too!
  2. BEFORE class, write a numerical sequence that is OUT OF ORDER. This is your "key" to know if the students have solved the questions correctly. Make sure your last number and your first number are the same. (This allows you to start your groups out at different places and always end up back where they started!)
  3. Take the first number on your list (In my case, 7) and your first index card. Write in the upper left hand corner "card ____" . In the upper right hand corner write A: (but leave it blank for now. This is where the answer for the last card on your list will go. In my case, it would be card #13) In the middle of your card write the problem you wish your students to solve. Here's an example of a completed card:
  4. This is card #10 which has the answer to card #19 on it. The answer to this is on card #25.
  5. On the next card, repeat; only label it with the next card in your sequence. Place the answer to the previous card in the answer spot and come up with a new question. Repeat until all your cards and questions are used up.
    *Note: I do not put word problem labels on purpose because I want students to actually solve it, not just look for the label.
  6. Before class, place your index cards all over the room - we're talking on the backs of chairs, doors, tables, on walls, where ever! It really gets my students to LOOK too and become more observant! Be sure not to place them in order too. You want them not walking in a circle b/c they will catch on.
  7. Put students into groups and give each member a job. I assign the following jobs: Scout (the one that goes looking for the next card), Task Master (the one that solves the problems), Checkmate (the one that double checks the work of the Task Master), and the Record Keeper (the one that writes down the sequence of the cards)
  8. Assign each group a starting point. Since the sequence makes a loop, it doesn't matter where you start, you'll know you're finished bc your last card will lead you back to where you started!

  9. The first team that finishes with the correct sequence gets 5 points extra credit and a "small but fabulous prize". Each team that finishes after them also will get a "small but fabulous prize", but no extra credit.

Have a great "Scavenger Hunt" and leave a comment on how you enjoyed this in your classroom! :)