Yes, Math Can Be Fun!

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Math. It’s  one of those subjects that can be just as challenging to teach as it is to comprehend. Which is why we love using math manipulatives! Students learn better when they’re actively engaged, and manipulatives in your home or classroom make it easy for kids to get excited. Below are our favorite ways to use math manipulatives in our home, and they are all kid approved! 🙂

 

#1. Fraction Bars

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Use these pieces to reinforce understanding of equivalent fractions. It’s great to have an item that kids can use to visually help them learn fractions!

 

#2. Fraction Circles

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The common “pie” fraction circles have always been a hit in our house!

 

#3. Linking Cubes

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The creative possibilities are endless with these cubes. Designed to be virtually unbreakable, these blocks will easily meet the rigors of the classroom.

 

#4. Albert’s Insomnia  

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The more you play the more like Albert you will become! WARNING: DON’T GET ADDICTED OR YOU WILL LOSE SLEEP! This easy to learn math card game is fun and challenging. Beginning with the number ‘1’ as the first answer, you’ll be using addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division to combine the randomly displayed four cards into the next number in the sequence, so using the operations, the only answer for the next player is “2”. Sometimes you’ll fl y through the sequence with ease. Other times you’ll literally sit and stew over the cards hoping to expose a combination that produces the needed number. We love this game! It encourages creative and critical thinking. It’s an absolute favorite around here!! 🙂

 

#5. Bear Counters 

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Our kids love these! Perfect for beginning math.

 

#6. Wiz Dice

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Teach place value. “Give each student a handful of dice and have them roll. Then have them randomly arrange the numbers they rolled on their desk. Have them write down which number is in the hundreds place, tens place, ones place and so on. It’s a simple activity, but it’s lots of fun.” —Karen Crawford, second grade, Houston, Texas

 

#7. Learning Placemats 

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Whether you’re at the dinner table, or on the go, these dry erase charts are a must! The backs of them are blank, so you can fill in the answers for plenty of multiplication practice!

 

#8. Geoboards 

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Can be used for creating geometric shapes, showing fractions of a shape, etc.

 

#9. Tangrams 

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Help children explore shape, size, symmetry and more!

 

#10. Color Counters

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Great counting discs for all kinds of math problems!! 

 

 

What about you? Do you have a favorite math manipulative or game you like to use? If so, leave us a comment below! 🙂

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Old Trees, New Life- Camping Activity

When a tree falls, its life is over. But the tree can still give life to others. The dead tree becomes its own ecosystem, where plants, insects, and microorganisms thrive-from the mosses, ferns, and fungi that make the rotting tree their home to a whole host of bugs and bacteria that eat the tree and break it down into soil for new plants! Next time you see a dead log, take a close look and record your observations in your Field Journal. You just might be amazed by what you see.

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What You Do

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#1. Find a rotting log: Look for a tree that has fallen and that has wood breaking apart in pieces. It may be slightly damp.

 

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#2. Describe what the log looks like. What is growing on it? Can you see any mushrooms, ferns, mosses, or lichens? Are there baby trees or any other plants sprouting out of the wood?

 

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#3. Do you see any insects? What are they doing? Look for tiny piles of sawdust at the base of the log. This is evidence that insects have drilled into the wood, starting the decomposition process. The holes left behind create highways for fungi and bacteria to come in and break down the wood even further.

 

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#4.  Tap the log with your fingers. Is it hollow? Wet? Bone-dry? What does it smell like?

 

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#5. Put on your gloves and gently and carefully lift the log a few inches to see if you can take a peek underneath. What do you see? Are there insects underneath? What are they doing? What do they look like? When you’re done, put the log back.

 

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#6.  Use your magnifying glass to peek at the log itself. Do you see insects breaking it down? What do they look like under the magnifying glass? What about the plants growing on the tree? What do the mushrooms look like up close?

 

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#7. Draw and describe what you’ve seen in your field journal. Try to identify plants, animals, and insects by looking at your field guide or Nature Anatomy book! 

 

There is so much to learn! Head outdoors and explore! 🙂

 

 

An Indiana Summer-Part 2

Last week we shared a few of our favorite places to go during the summer. This week we’re sharing our favorite events! All of the following events haven’t happened yet, so there is still plenty of time to plan! 🙂

 

#1. Hendricks County Fair

 

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The fair is a highlight of our July! From the animal showings to the tractor pulls and yummy food-it’s such a fun week! The Hendrick’s County Fair runs from July 16-22 this year! 🙂

 

 

#2. Festival of the Lakes

 

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From carnival rides to boat rides and games… the Festival of the lakes offers a wide variety of family fun. It runs from July 19-23 this year!

 

 

#3. Frankfort Hot Dog Festival

 

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Downtown square. Frankly the BEST HOT DOGS in the WORLD! Great American Dog Competition, exciting sporting events the entire family will love, Disc Dog Competition, Lots or arts and vendors. FREE entertainment both days. Runs July 28-29.

 

 

#4. Indiana Family Star Party At Camp Cullom

 

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Camp Cullom. Indiana’s largest star party. Astronomy, camping, food, speakers, kid’s sky trekker program, telescopes, and so much more! 🙂 Runs July 28-29!

 

 

#5. Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival

 

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Amish Acres. 300+ vendors demonstrate their trade and sell their wares. Family style Thresher’s dinner in the century old barn and guided tours of the historic house and farms! Runs August 3-6.

 

 

If you have a favorite local event, be sure to let us know! We love exploring new places! 🙂

 

 

 

 

An Indiana Summer

One of our favorite things about the summer season is all the fun activities available. From concert series in the park to museums, the options are endless. Here are some of the activities that have been our family’s favorites! 🙂

 

#1. Conner Prairie

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Immerse yourself in a 19th-century village and interact with the people, animals, objects and routines of life in Central Indiana in 1836! After you explore the town check out the Treetop Outpost, Craft Corner, and the Balloon Voyage!  We love that this huge park offers activities for both littles and adults.

 

#2. Town Park Concerts

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Check your town’s website for a list/schedule of concerts. Our local park offers free lawn concerts on the weekends!

 

#3. Farmers Markets

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We LOVE going to farmer’s markets. It’s such a fun way to connect with people, and the food is always amazing. It’s hard to beat fresh Indiana tomatoes!

 

#4. Libraries and Book Stores

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Check your local library or a nearby bookstore. They often have summer reading activities and fun games for kids! It’s a great way to keep littles motivated to read all summer long!

 

#5. Nature Walks

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Print off some simple study guides (guides about insects, trees, etc), and head outdoors to discover a whole new world! Check with your local park to see when their nature days are. They have them often, and are always fun!

 

 

These are just a few of our favorite summer favorites! We’ll be sharing more on our next post! 🙂

What are your favorite summer activities!?

 

 

 

Great Games for the Car!

You’re in the backseat, on the way to the campsite, but the ride goes on and on and on. Mile after mile, the minutes drag. You twitch. You fidget. You ask, “How much longer?”, and still only five minutes pass. Well, fidget no more!! 🙂 These games will make even the longest car trips zip along. They are designed with everyone in mind. You can involve the whole car (though you might want to leave the driver alone), or  just enlist your backseat pal. With some minor tweaks, you can even play the games on your own. Keep score if you want, and eliminate players or assign penalties. Set time limits, or check the odometer to use distance-a number of miles-to signal the end of a game.

 

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The ABC Game:

Look for something that begins with he letter A. You can look at the scenery, or use signs, billboards, and even license plates. Once you get something with the letter A (such as automobile, antenna or apple tree) move on to B, and so forth-until you make your way through the alphabet. You can all play at the same time or take turns.

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Going on a Safari:

In this game, a player starts with the letter A and says: “I’m going on a safari and I’m taking an…” The player says something that starts with the letter A (let’s say apple). The next player repeats the line with the first player’s objects and then adds one beginning with B. “I’m going on a safari and I’m taking an apple and a bench.” The third player then continues with the letter C, and so on! Anyone who makes a mistake or can’t come up with the name of a new object is out. The surviving player wins! (This is one of our favorites)! 🙂

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Destination:

This game is a bit harder. Players start with the letter A and then make up sentences that have a destination, a mode of transportation, and an activity that all begin with that letter. For example: “I’m going to Alabama on an alligator to anchor a boat.” The next player has B-“I’m going to Bavaria on a bus to buy a hat”-and it goes on from there! Tons of fun! 🙂

 

Those are just a few of the fun car games you can play! We’ll add more on our next post!! 🙂