Middle School

A Family Channukah Problem

How many candles do we need for our Channukiah on Channuka?

The festival of Channukah is eight days long. For each of the eight days, we light a candle in the Channukiah – one on the first day, two on the second day, three on the third etc. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes and no.  After each night the candles, which were lit on this night, will have burnt out and will need to be replaced on the next night. This adds up to a lot of candles over the eight days of Channukah. We also must not forget the candle […]

Dinner Time Maths – Maths Facts

Dinner time is the perfect time for conversations and a great opportunity to engage with your children. The idea of Dinner Time Maths is to add a small spark of maths to the conversation. Discuss a mathematical idea as a family or solve a problem together.

Here are some fun maths facts to spark interesting conversation over the dinner table.

If you write out pi to two decimal places, backwards it spells “pie”. Next time you serve up some apple pie at dinner, tell your kids this great little tidbit! It may even help them to remember pi to 2 decimal […]

Maths 101 For Parents

Sometimes parents who were not terribly good at maths when they were at school, feel overwhelmed by the thought of helping their children with their maths. So we thought that we would provide you with what we feel are some of the basics for you to brush up on. You’ll be surprised at how much easier things may seem when you look at them with your older, wiser eyes.

Timetables
Having good number skills is one of the most important foundation blocks that children need to build and a lot of this stems from being confident and accurate when calculating numbers. […]

Fractions in Time

Using some paper/plastic plates and a thick marker or pen, you can help your children to better understand the meaning behind some commonly used terms when we tell the time. Explaining the connection between the fractions of a circle and telling the time might seem obvious to some people, however; these obvious connections are not always made by children and it can help them immensely if we take a few minutes to show them.

Each hour is a whole 60 minutes and one whole circle.

Half of an hour is half of 60 minutes, which is 30 minutes, and we divide […]

Exploring 3D Shapes Using Lego

Recently we wrote about 3-Dimensional drawing. This can be a lot of fun and an excellent way to strengthen spatial skills. Naturally we became very excited when one of our readers shared a picture of her toddler experimenting with 3-Dimensional shapes. We love her idea, it is a brilliant way of introducing the concepts of 3D drawing, discussed in our earlier article, with your toddler.

Stefanie Schwartz has drawn the front view of various shapes for her toddler to replicate using Lego blocks. Once the object has been built using the lego blocks her child is then able to see […]

Logic Puzzles and Mathematical Reasoning

There’s a big difference between those students who can “do maths” and those who can explain what they’re doing and why. At all times our goal is to raise mathematical thinkers who have the skills to back it up.
Kids often ask me why they need to learn what they’re learning and how it is relevant to the real world. As part of my reply, I explain to them that maths trains the brain in problem solving and logic in ways that no other school subject does. In the “real world” it’s important to be able to break a problem […]

3 Dimensional Drawing

I was teaching volume of prisms to my Year 7 students the other day, and they were amazed at my ability to draw three-dimensional shapes. They were more impressed by my drawings on my PC tablet than on the content!

Earlier this year when teaching my Year 10 Extension class topics on Measurement, they asked, half-jokingly, whether maths teachers had to attend a special class at university to learn to draw prisms and pyramids.
It occurred to me that perhaps we don’t spend enough time teaching kids to draw in three dimensions, and that’s such a pity because it’s so much […]

Dinner Time Maths – Ice Bucket Challenge

How many people do you know who’ve been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge? Have you yourself been nominated and taped yourself being soaked by a freezing cold bucket of water? Are your kids talking about it?
How about bringing the following question up during your next Dinner Time Maths chat and seeing where it leads?

How many days will it take for all the adults of Australia to be nominated for and take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraiser for ALS?

16 days.
No, I’m not missing a zero and my calculator isn’t broken. Based on a mathematical model, it will […]

Addictive Spatial Maths Games

At least once a year, per class, I get asked “But when are we actually going to use this?”
Sometimes I’m asked politely with genuine curiosity, and at other times the question is asked from a place of boredom and frustration. Either way, I mostly answer this question in the same way.
Maths trains our brains in ways that no other subject can. In no other subject in school do we get the same opportunity to deal with abstract and spatial concepts using only the power of our minds. Other subjects teach us how to explore and discuss ideas and to […]

The Power of Algebra through Mind Reading Tricks

A great way to get your children interested and curious about the power of algebra is through fun and freely available activities involving what first appears to be mind reading.
Let’s have a go!

Think of a number.

Add one to your answer.

Double it.

Take away 3.

Add the number you first thought of.

Add 7.

Divide by 3.

Now take away the number you first thought of.

I’m now reading your mind………

Your final result is 2!
 
Are you intrigued? You might be wondering how this works. Try it with your kids. Try it as a family or even with friends.
Here is a great website to try heaps more: […]