MAKE MATHEMATICS FUN: Engage students with brainteasers and puzzles

 

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No doubt about it, for many students, mathematics is scary. But it doesn’t have to be! One of the most effective ways to ease student fears is to incorporate brainteasers and puzzlers into your lesson mathematics lessons plans, allowing kids to logic out the answers in groups or on their own—without even realizing they’re doing mathematics.

Solving mathematics brainteasers and puzzles comes with numerous side benefits, as well—they help kids grasp diverse concepts, build fluency, develop strategic thinking, allow children to work at their own level, teach transferable skills, and can help with test preparation.

Consider working through the following three mathematics brainteasers and puzzlers with your class. (Shhhh. Answers at the bottom of the blog…)

  1. A factory produced 2300 TV sets in its first year of production. 4500 sets were produced in its second year and 500 more sets were produced in its third year than in its second year. How many TV sets were produced in three years?
  2. A company that frames houses gets paid in digital currency, called bitcoin. They charge 225 bitcoins for materials and 35 bitcoins per hour for labour. The total cost of building a home is 330 bitcoins. How many hours did it take the team of workers to frame the house?
  3. How many minutes are in one week?

As you review the solutions with your students, observe how each child worked through the problem. What can you learn about your students from their process?

For more brainteasers and puzzles, check out the Teachers Media International website where you’ll access the Mathematics hub featuring videos, articles, and hands-on activities to help with teaching and learning mathematics. Our “Lite” service is free.

Have a great weekend—and to our Canadian readers, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

~ The Teachers Media Team

Answers:

Problem #1
Year 1 – 2,3oo TVs
Year 2 – 4,500 TVs
Year 3 – 4,500 + 500 = 5,000
In 3 years: 2,300 + 4,500 + 5,000 = 11,800 TVs

Problem #2
Set up the equation.  225 + 35(x) = 330.
Let x be the number of hours the labourers worked.
Solve the equation. Remember to keep the equation balanced, you must perform the same operation to both sides.
x = 3
The painter worked 3 hours
That makes sense, but it is always good to check your work. Start with the original equation.
225 + 35(x) = 330
Substitute 3 for x
225 + 35(3) = 330
225 + 105 = 330
330 = 330
You are correct.

Problem #3
Start small and work up.
There are 60 min in one hour.
There are 24 hours in one day.
There are 7 days in one week.
So —
1.) There would be (60 x 24) min in one day. 60 x 24 = 1,440 Thus, there are 1,440 min in one day.
2.) There are (1,440 x 7) min in one week. 1440 x 7=10,080. There are 10,080 min in one week.
That’s a lot of minutes! Ever wonder how many of those minutes you spent sleeping? Eating? Do the math!

 

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Writing prompt: Change of seasons

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There is perhaps nothing as visually inspiring as the changing of the seasons. For many—particularly artists and writers—this natural rotation of nature has become a backdrop for life, representing change, fresh starts and new beginnings—or the opportunity to observe, reflect, and document.

Of course, those observations will vary depending on where you’re located on the globe. As much of North America watches the leaves change from gold and amber in preparation for winter, countries across the equator—such as Australia—are gearing up for summer. And in some places, such as chilly Antarctica, “summer” doesn’t quite mean what it does to students in the UK, for instance.

Regardless of where you are in the world, the following prompts will not only spark student writing, but will also help create an awareness of how the changing seasons impact the lives of people everywhere. But first, take a look at this Teachers Media International video, which demonstrates a variety of creative ways to talk to students about climate, or one of our most popular resources, Weather Around the World.

Now, let’s put pen to paper and get writing!

Primary Prompts

  1. Have students draw or insert a symbol/shape of the season they are in or like (leaf, snowflake, umbrella, sun, etc) and write a poem, putting the words of the poem around the shape.
  2. It’s the first (or last) snowfall of the year. What do you do? Go sledding? Build a snowman? Describe your perfect day.
  3. Write a descriptive paragraph about what is growing in your backyard.
  4. Brainstorm a list of the BEST things about the current season in your country.
  5. Ask students to respond to the following question: what is your favourite season and why?
  6. Consider asking students to move away from the scientific reason and use their imaginations to explain why leaves change from green to red, yellow and brown.

Secondary Prompts

  1. Write a poem about your favourite season.
  2. You’re shopping for Christmas presents and discover a secret portal to a winter wonderland. What do you see?
  3. An older man is walking along the beach on a warm sunny morning when something happens to completely change his life.
  4. Describe snow to someone who has never seen snow.
  5. Describe what it would be like to live in one of the warmest cities in the world.

We’re curious, what is YOUR favourite season and why? Share in the comments or email us at contactus@teachers-media.com. Be sure to include your country!

~ The Teachers Media Team

World Teachers’ Day: Valuing teachers, improving their status

13064This Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of World Teachers’ Day, created by UNESCO back in 1966 to appreciate, assess, and improve educators of the world.

This year’s theme, Valuing Teachers, Improving Their Status, shines a light on the need to support teachers in the Sustainable Development Goals as set out by UNESCO’s Global Education 2030 Agenda. For education, that means a focus on inclusive and equitable education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Official celebrations kick off in France, 5 October, with a keynote speech from Marc Tucker, President of the National Center on Education and the Economy, followed by panel discussions with representation by a number of countries from across the globe. Check out the full agenda here.

Can’t make it to France? Not a problem. Everyone can help celebrate the profession by generating awareness about common—and specific—teacher issues. Spend some time with your school administration this week to discuss, compare, learn, argue, share, and improve.

In the classroom, consider activities that celebrate teaching, or create awareness about the profession, such as these writing prompts published last week on the Teachers Media International blog. Encourage students to write letters to teachers who have made an impact on their lives. Or have students create personalised cards or artwork.

Perhaps students would be interested in being a “teacher for a day” such as the kids in this cute video resource?

For some humourous accounts of teaching, check out our homepage this week and link to videos like this one, where six teachers recall funny and inspirational experiences from their teachers careers.

In what ways will you celebrate the profession this week? At Teachers Media International, we salute you and all that you do for our children around the world. We value you, and want to help you improve.

~ The Teachers Media Team