One of the most important concepts introduced in pre-algebra (or algebra) is integer operations. I can distinctly remember learning "the rules" and fun little tricks to remember them. But I also remember wondering why in the world subtracting a negative means you add! So when I saw this method to introduce adding and subtracting integers, I knew I had to try it. *Please Note: This post contains affiliate links which help support the work of this site. Read our full disclosure here.* Understanding integers and especially how to correctly add, subtract, multiply and divide them is a skill Keep Reading...

## Investigating Exponent Properties {FREE Lesson!}

Many of the topics covered in Pre-Algebra or Algebra are taught as "rules," "properties," or "formulas" to be memorized. And while it is definitely helpful to have certain properties or formulas memorized, I think it is much more important that these Algebra facts be taught in a way that is logical and makes sense, rather than simply telling students "This is true. Now use it correctly." If you let students explore and discover math truths on their own (with guidance), they will be more meaningful and it will be much more likely that students will remember them. Today I'm sharing a free Keep Reading...

## Valentine’s Day Algebra Practice Pack! {FREE!}

Having taught many different levels of Algebra over the years, I always have so many ideas that I want to share with you, but not always enough time to get it created and posted! So slowly but surely I'm starting to get things together and today I'm excited to share what I hope is a fun and helpful resource for Valentine's Day! This Valentine's Day Algebra practice pack covers many different skills for students to practice and review. As I began to create this, it started as simply a review of the order of operations. But then I thought it would be fun to include some silly Valentine Keep Reading...

## Making Absolute Value Clear (With FREE Printables!)

One of the math concepts that I have seen students struggle with the most, and yet seems so simple at first glance, is absolute value. It often seems that the only thing students ever "get" from an absolute value lesson is this: absolute value = make it positive. That is NOT, however, the definition of absolute value, and therefore, becomes the cause of much confusion as students try to apply and use absolute value in more complicated problems. This absolute value exploration teaches absolute value in a way that makes sense, and makes it clear to students why absolute value problems are Keep Reading...

## How Much Does a Pumpkin Cost? {FREE Algebra Lesson!}

For many students, the transition from math computations in the upper elementary grades to Algebra is a challenge. Suddenly, they are having to write mathematical equations and use symbols and letters rather than just numbers. (Although hopefully they have at least been introduced to some of these things prior to formal Algebra). One way to help students ease the transition and make sense of it all is by looking at real and meaningful examples. Today I'm going to share a 3 part Algebra lesson based on finding the cost of a pumpkin! *Please Note: This post contains affiliate links which Keep Reading...

## Exploring Patterns in Pascal’s Triangle {FREE Printables!}

When I taught Algebra, there were lots of ways I loved to explore patterns with kids and help them make the connection between a number pattern, a table, a graph and an equation. One way we did that was by looking at fractals. Another really fun way to explore, play with numbers and see patterns is in Pascal's Triangle. The pattern known as Pascal's Triangle is constructed by starting with the number one at the "top" or the triangle, and then building rows below. The second row consists of a one and a one. Then, each subsequent row is formed by starting with one, and then adding the two Keep Reading...

## Disney Math: Frozen Fractal Snowflake {FREE Printable}

Do you know what a fractal is? I LOVE fractals! Fractals are geometric shapes with self-similar patterns, created by repeating a process over and over again. While there is a wonderful complexity to fractals, there is also a beautiful simplicity that even small children can enjoy! In this next post in my Disney Math series, I'm sharing how I introduced my kids to fractals, based on the movie Frozen. Learn how to make a simple fractal snowflake, then get creative and design your own! *Please Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and help support the work of this site. Keep Reading...

## Understanding the Distributive Property {FREE Lesson!}

I distinctly remember the week in 7th grade pre-algebra that was spent learning and (supposedly) understanding the distributive property. I remember this week so vividly because, for some reason, it made NO sense to me. None. At. All. Eventually I understood what it meant, and how to use it and apply it in the wonderful world of Algebra and solving equations and working with expressions. But I never forgot how confusing and nonsensical it seemed that first week. I don't know if my teacher just could not explain it well or if I was having an "off" week or what the issue was, but once I Keep Reading...

## The King’s Chessboard Problem {Free Printables!}

Today's math story problem is a classic problem that is seen in the book: The King's Chessboard by David Birch Similar to The Lion's Share, this classic folktale teaches important lessons on character and the dangers of pride, while also presenting a fascinating mathematical problem. When a King forces the wise man to choose a reward for his service, the man says he simply wants one grain of rice for the first square on the chessboard, then two for the second square, then four, then eight, etc. doubling until they get to the 64th square. So the question becomes, "Just how much rice is Keep Reading...

## Sir Cumference Lesson! {Euler’s Law}

There are so many benefits to reading and engaging with math stories. But I think students will get even more out of the story if the learning doesn't stop once the last page is read. Therefore, I have been creating activities to go along with some of my favorite math books! (If you missed the activities for Math Curse by Jon Scieszka, be sure to check it out!). Honestly, I love all the Sir Cumference books by Cindy Neuschwander. They are so fun and so clever! And the way she weaves math into the story is just beautiful! :) The first book I have chosen to look at is: Sir Keep Reading...