Are you familiar with the Pythagorean Theorem? Even if you know the equation, do you know what it means? What all the letters stand for? Why it even matters? Understanding and then using and applying the Pythagorean theorem is important for students because it is so foundational. It can be applied to all kinds of right triangle problems in trigonometry and geometry and is incredibly useful in the real world to determine measurements and right angles. One problem that I encountered as a high school teacher was that often students would forget what the formula was or (more frequently) what the Keep Reading...

## Exploring Surface Area of Pyramids and Cones!

As promised, I have another surface area lesson to share today! This builds on students' previous knowledge from the prisms and cylinders lesson to get them thinking about other three dimensional shapes: pyramids and cones. This FREE surface area of pyramids and cones investigation is a sure way to get kids thinking and better understanding area. It is also a fun, hands-on way to help them form a conceptual understanding, rather than trying to memorize formulas. This lesson is intended to be used together with the prisms and cylinders lesson, but helps students take their learning a bit Keep Reading...

## Exploring Surface Area: Hands-On Lesson!

One topic that I believe is too often rushed through, whether in pre-algebra or geometry, is the surface area of three dimensional objects. Because it is often seen as an "easy" topic where students are expected to simply "plug the numbers into the formula," it can be easy to say, "Here's the formula, GO." And while this may work for some students, especially students who have a strong foundation in geometry vocabulary and a strong understanding of area in general, simply "plugging numbers into the formula" doesn't come as easily to others. This hands-on investigation for exploring surface 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...

## Hot Chocolate Math Investigation: Estimation and Measurement!

My kids love hot chocolate. It's such a special treat! When the weather is nice, they love to curl up in the yard at night and star gaze with a large cup of hot chocolate. When the weather is cold and snowy, they love to warm up with a cup! The problem is, they tend to fight over silly things, like who gets which cup. Whether they want a particular mug, or a certain color, it drives me insane to have them argue over which cup they get! However, if they're so concerned about who gets which cup, I'm going to turn it into a learning opportunity! This hot chocolate math investigation allowed us to Keep Reading...

## Math Art: Learning about Circles with Bubble Prints

There are lots of different ways to explore shapes with your kids. So why not get creative? (And gloriously messy?!) Because I love using art as a way to teach and discover math concepts (and because it helps me to be intentional about letting my kids get messy and creative, something that I do not naturally want to do), I decided to make a batch of bubbles and let the kids "paint" with bubbles. We then used our creations to talk about circles and spheres, as well as measure to see who made the biggest bubble print! Exploring math with bubble art was such a hit with my kids, they continued to 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...

## Exploring Triangles with “The Greedy Triangle!”

The Greedy Triangle, by Marilyn Burns, is a great way to introduce shapes to young kids. It explores various shapes and gives copious examples of shapes in the world around us, and gave us a great starting place for exploring triangles! In addition, it provides an important character lesson: be content with who you are! Or as Dr. Seuss put it, Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." *Please Note: This post contains affiliate links which help support the work of this site. Read our full disclosure policy here.* The Greedy Keep Reading...