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A Go Figure Debut for a Math Person Who's New (to me, anyway)!

Today, I debut a math teacher who is new to me, but through TPT has become a colleague.  Brittany is from Colorado; so, she named her store The Colorado Classroom - a very fitting name in my opinion.

Brittany shares that when she was eight years old, her second grade teacher had a remarkable effect on her. This teacher showed her how a teacher could truly inspire students. Ever since then, her desire has been to be a teacher and to try to emulate her.

She has taught 6th grade for almost her entire teaching career, but in two very distinct ways. Her first teaching position was at a charter school where she taught 6th grade for eleven years; however, at this school sixth grade was considered an elementary grade.  This meant she taught all the disciplines. Seeking a new challenge, she moved to teaching sixth grade math at a local middle school.

Overall, she tends to use a variety of teaching styles based on the goals and objectives for each individual lesson. These vary from direct instruction and journaling, to student led creations, games, cooperative learning, and more. She really enjoys getting her students involved in their learning and making classroom activities hands-on.

You will find more than 200 resources in Brittany's Teachers Pay Teachers store. Many are math activities, but her store also showcases various resources for social studies. I especially like Overall Average, one of her free math resources since finding the average can be a tricky concept to master. It includes teacher notes and six practice problems as well as two complete example problems with a full answer key.

Ratios and Equivalent Ratios is a paid resource that includes a 12 page mini-lesson on ratios and equivalent ratios. Also contained in this package are 32 task cards so that the students can work on and practice their skills. Some of the tasks students are asked to do are....
  1. Write ratios in various forms – part:part; part:whole; whole:part
  2. Use tables to write ratios
  3. Find the ratio that doesn't belong
  4. Solve word problems
  5. Extend their problem by applying the ratio to a real word situation
  6. Complete ratio tables
I hope you will take the time to check out Brittany's store and the numerous resources she has to offer for grades 4-8.  While you are there, why not download one of her free items and then become a follower?

Milk Lid Math

Start saving those milk jug lids because there are countless math activities you can do in your classroom using this free manipulative
Here are just four of those ideas.

1) Sort the lids by various attributes such as:
  • Color
  • Snap-on or Twist-on 
  • Label or No Label
  • Kind of edge (smooth or rough)

2) Let the students grab one handful of lids.
  • Ask the students to count the lids.
  • See if the students can write that number.

3) Make a pattern using two different colors of lids.
  • Identify the pattern using letters of the alphabet or numbers. The pattern above would be an A, A, B pattern or a 1, 1, 2 pattern.
  • Now ask the students to use more than two colors to make a pattern
  • Once more, have the students identify the pattern using alphabet letters or numbers.

4) Decide on a money value for each color of lid. (Example: Red lids are worth a nickel, blue lids are worth a dime, and white lids are worth a penny.) Put all of the lids into a bag and have the students draw out four lids. Have the students add up the total value of these four lids.
Milk Lid Math
  • Use play money (coins) to have the students show the value of the lids. 
  • Have the students practice writing money as either a part of a dollar or as cents.
  • Another idea is to have the students find all the combinations of lids that would equal a nickel or a dime or a quarter.

On the original download you will receive 15 ideas with numerous subtopics listed under each one. These may be used with a whole group, small groups, or as center activities.

Dump and Divide or Converting Fractions to Decimals

When working with fractions, my remedial math college students are never quite sure which number to divide by. This same thing often occurred when I taught middle school and high school. So the question I had to answer was, "How can I help my students remember what number goes where?"

First, the student must understand and know the vocabulary for the three parts of a division problem. As seen in the problem above, each part is correctly named and identified.

Side Note: The symbol separating the dividend from the divisor in a long division problem is a straight vertical bar with an attached vinculum (you might have to look this word up) extending to the left, but it seems to have no established name of its own. Therefore, it can simply be called the "long division symbol" or the division bracket. I wish it were named something fancier, but sometimes plain and straight forward is the best!
Now let's look at a fraction that the student is asked to rewrite as a decimal. The fraction on your right is two-fifths and is read from top to bottom as two divided by five. That's easy enough, but when my students enter this into their calculators, many will put in the 5 first, and then press the
division sign, followed by the 2. Of course, they get the wrong answer. Now let's look at the dump and divide method.

First, dump the 2 into the calculator. Then press the division sign; then divide by 5. The answer is 0.4.

I am aware that many of students are not allowed to use calculators; so, let's look at how this method would work using the division bracket. We will use the same fraction of 2/5 and the same phrase, dump and divide.

First, take the numerator and dump it inside the division bracket. (Note: Use N side instead of inside so that numerator and N side both start with "N".) Now place the 5 outside of the long division bracket and divide. The answer is still .4.

Dump and Divide will also work when a division problem is written horizontally as a number sentence such as: 15 ÷ 3. First, reading left to right, dump 15 into the division bracket. Now place the 3 on the outside. Ask, "How many groups of three are in 15?" The answer is 5.

Try using Dump and Divide with your students, and then let me know how it works. You can e-mail by clicking on the page entitled Contact Me or just leave a comment.

Something Else to Think About:  Since many students do not know
their multiplication tables, reducing fractions is almost an
Divisibility Rules
impossible task. The divisibility rules, if learned and understood, can be an excellent math tool. The resource, Using Digital Root to Reduce Fractions, contains four easy to understand divisibility rules as well as the digital root rules for 3, 6, and 9. A clarification of what digital root is and how to find it is explained. Also contained in the resource is a dividing check off list for the student. Download the preview to view the first divisibility rule plus three samples from the student check off list.