Winter Wonderland, Activities before Winter Break! Featuring Coordinate Grids and Crystal Snowflakes

Saturday, December 17, 2016 1 comment
If your school is anything like mine, there are tons of activities right before winter break.  It is hard to get anything taught, let alone keep students engaged and behaved.  So this week I decided to just Let it Go!
On Monday, we had Polar Express Day, which is held by our librarian, and we all were pajamas.  We had shortened class periods so we began our Crystal Snowflake Experiment.  I took on the role of a science teacher and we discuss the important vocabulary that would be seen in our experiment.  These words included solubility, solution, boiling point, pore space to name a few.  We discussed what would be occurring tomorrow in science terms.  We also watched a few short videos about solutions and dissolving substances into water. The next day we put our plan in action! I had asked parents to send jars the week before and I had one jar per person.  Side note, the pint sized wide mouthed mason jars as well as the common chip dip jars work the best.  Bigger jars require A LOT of water and A LOT of Borax soap, so if you have extra jars like I did, I just made them trade their jar for a smaller one.  We also used colored pipe cleaners instead of food coloring and it worked out amazingly!
I boiled the water and put the water into the jar.  Students then put in 3 tablespoons of Borax for each cup of water and stirred. Not all the soap will dissolve and that is okay.  We then put our jars in an empty room and left them overnight.  The next day, Wednesday, revealed awesome crystals that students could use for ornaments on their tree!

While students waited patiently for me to heat their water and make their crystal, students completed my Winter Wonderland Coordinate Grid Decoding Activity! This is super fun! Students used their knowledge of locating points on a coordinate grid to decode answers to riddles and jokes! Students then created their own secret messages for other students to decode! They loved it! Visit my store here for the Winter Wonderland activity! 

I am looking forward to the new year! I hope everyone has a safe holiday break! 

Peace, Love and Math

Reaching for the Stars! Movement on the Coordinate Grid

Saturday, December 10, 2016 No comments
TEKS 5.8C explains that students will need to be able to move around on the coordinate grid using directions like right, left, up and down as well as cardinal directions such as north, south, east and west.  Thus I created Reach for the Stars! This game was fabulous and the students loved playing!

The partner game required so many different TEKS and standards that it was awesome to see the students work together! First students came up with a starting point, by spinning a spinner.  This is the only time that they will spin the spinner.  Next students drew cards from the bag.  Cards have 1, 2 and 3 step directional movements.  Students then follow the directions.  If they ever pass through a star or land on a star, the students receive the points indicated on each star.  Students record and add up their points on the score board.  I laminated my game boards and had students use dry erase markers.  I gave students two different colored markers.  I also had my students complete an exit slip with STAAR prep questions, and I was amazed at how many students retained the movement concept! If you would like to complete this activity in your class, check it out HERE!

Next week, is our last week before winter break.  My class will be making a Crystalized Snowflake and I have also made an activity called Winter Wonderland! I can't wait to use this new activity in my class! If you would like a sneak peak, check it out HERE!

Have a wonderful last week (if it is your last week:)
Peace, Love and Math

Order of Operations and Integrating Literature with Coordinates!

Saturday, December 3, 2016 No comments
This week we focused on Order of Operations without exponents.  I developed a great activity that allowed students to analyze different problems while looking for mistakes.  I instructed the students that they were human lie detectors :) .  Students determined if the statements where Truths or Lies.  Students worked through each problem justifying why the problem was a Truth and why the problem was a Lie.  They sorted the cards onto the sorting mat which has QR codes to reveal the correct answers.

You can get your own copy of this activity by visiting my store: Order of Operations Lie Detector Activity

Next the students played a partner game in which students "Choose Your Fate".  Students were given an equation card with a QR Code.  The partner chooses the fate (which step to solve the problem to) of the other partner.  This is a great activity to really focus in on which step is first and which step is third and so on.  This is also a QR Code activity which reveals all the steps to solve each equation.  This is very rigorous and really helped my students slow down and look at each individual step! 

If you would like the Choose Your Fate activity click HERE to be taken to my store! 

On Friday we began one of my favorite units which is coordinate grids.  I love to integrate literature whenever possible, so we started off the unit with the Fly on the Ceiling by Julie Glass.  This is a great book to begin learning coordinates and it actually tells a story about how Rene Decartes developed the coordinate system.  Afterwards the students had their own flies on the ceiling activity to practice plotting flies onto a coordinate grid.  I bought little plastic flies from Amazon.  The students LOVED this activity! 

If you would love to have flies on your ceiling, check out my Shoo-Fly Activity: HERE

Until next time! 
Peace, Love and Math!