Understanding how to work with expressions involving variables can be such a huge leap for kids. On more than one occasion, I've had students tell me, "I was great at math until it started to involve letters. What's up with that??" What I constantly tried to convey to my students was that a variable is still just a number. When you're feeling stuck, replace it with a number to try and figure out what's going on. So if your students are feeling Keep Reading...

## 8 Engaging Early Algebra Lessons (FREE)

I love Algebra. It's true, I do! I don't even mind long, tedious calculations. I love the challenge of correctly "undoing" an equation to find the solution. I love knowing I can check my answer. I love the feeling of satisfaction when I correctly solve it. This is why I spent most of my time in the classroom as an Algebra teacher. In the beginning, however, students often get hung up on some of those early foundations, making the rest of their Keep Reading...

## Adding and Subtracting Integers {FREE Lesson!}

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 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 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 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. 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. 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 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, 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 Keep Reading...