Exponents using Visual Models (video)

Why is a number raised to the zero power equal to 1? And why do terms with negative exponents become fractions? Are we able to see this through visual models?  Yes!   In this short video, you'll see how exponents take on a pattern and can be modeled concretely with cut paper. We'll start with 3 raised to the 2nd power and work our way to 3 to the -2.

Why is a number raised to the zero power equal to 1? And why do terms with negative exponents become fractions? Are we able to see this through visual models?

Yes! 

In this short video, you'll see how exponents take on a pattern and can be modeled concretely with cut paper. We'll start with 3 raised to the 2nd power and work our way to 3 to the -2. 

Print and Digital Math Puzzles

This past week I started making some math puzzles that come print and digital form. The digital versions are drag-and-drop in GOOGLE Slides. In this post I want to show you the math puzzles that cover adding fractions, adding 2-digit decimals and adding integers. These fun math puzzles make for engaging classwork, station activities, partner work and review.

My daughter and I recently worked on a 550-piece puzzle, which took us just under a week to complete. We worked on it on the floor a bit each day after school, hiding it from the cats each night. It had been over 20 years since I had worked on a puzzle that was more than 30 pieces (kid puzzles), so it surprised me how much we both enjoyed it. Figuring out where the pieces went was relaxing and enjoyable, and I could feel it exercising my brain in ways that it doesn't usually exercise.

Working on that puzzle with my daughter got me thinking about making puzzles, so this past week I started making some math puzzle sets that cover various curriculum topics. Students can work on these math puzzles as classwork, in centers, with a partner or as a review activity. In this post, I want to show you a few of these new math puzzles.

Practice Makes Better poster

I made this Practice Makes Better poster to help students remember that working hard and getting better is more important than being perfect.

Perfect is so overrated. Practicing to get better is a much more attainable goal and so much less intimidating. I made this Practice Makes Better poster to help students remember that working hard and getting better is more important than being perfect.

Teaching Teens How to File a 1040 Tax Return

Filing income taxes can be intimidating! In this post is a set of task cards that teach students how to file a 1040 federal tax form. The activity teaches how to file a 1040 tax return and how to fill out a Schedule 1 through a fun tsk cards activity that walks students through how to fill out the forms.

Filing income taxes can be intimidating! And teaching students how to file a federal 1040 tax form can be a bit tedious. There are so many lines on the form, most irrelevant to younger folks, that it can become overwhelming.

Still, at the end of one school year when I had asked my consumer math students what they wished I had taught them more about, many answered, "Taxes." So even though they complained through our tax unit (who can blame them?), I learned that my students found the information valuable. 

Multiplication Flash Cards with Strategies

In this post is a free set of printable multiplication flash cards that combine memorization with strategies.

Discussions about multiplication facts are always coming up in our Facebook group. And arguments for or against memorization of them seem to come up everywhere all the time, too. I remember panicking while waiting to recite my multiplication facts at our teacher's desk, so I get it. But I also know firsthand that not knowing their multiplication facts is a real self-esteem killer for high school students. It's not even the facts themselves; it's where they come up-- factoring quadratics, solving equations. Kids get to thinking they "can't do algebra" when it's actually a multiplication facts issue.

Simplifying fractions using visual models and primes video

Simplifying fractions using visual models and primes video
My favorite way to simplify fractions is by working through a list or prime numbers, checking if both numerator and denominator divide by each larger prime. I like this method because it makes simplifying fractions super concrete for students who need it. It also helps eliminate errors that can occur when a factor is missed. Students who aren't as confident with their division facts can even use a calculator (or divisibility rules) to check each prime.


Estimating square roots using visual models video

How do you estimate square roots without a calculator? Do you use a number line, visuals, manipulatives or something else? In this post is a video for estimating square roots using visual models. There is also a free set of printables (the ones used in the video) linked in the post.

A teacher messaged asking if I had a video showing how to estimate square roots using manipulatives. I didn't, but it sounded like a lot of fun to make a video on this topic.