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...

## 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, 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 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...

## 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 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...

## 3D Shapes Teaching Resources!

If you have upper elementary or middle school students, you will want to check out some of these 3D shapes resources! There's a lot to learn when it comes to 3D shapes, so hopefully this list of lessons, activities and games will get you started! A fun way to introduce shapes to kids of any age (my kids have made these, at ages 4-5) is to build the shapes using their nets! This free nets printable pack includes nets for 8 different Keep Reading...

## 3D Shapes Activity Pack! {FREE Download!}

One of the most important geometry topics covered in middle school math is three-dimensional shapes and their nets. There's a lot to learn regarding 3D shapes-vocabulary, measurements, angles, surface area and volume, etc. But it has to start with a basic understanding of the different shapes, and what makes them different from each other, as well as two-dimensional shapes. If you'd like to start by creating these (and more) shapes with your Keep Reading...

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