Showing posts with label Mathematics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mathematics. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Printables versus Factory-made Classroom Manipulatives

Using Printable Manipulatives versus Factory-made ones

I love to have my students learn new things in a most hands on way. This of course often requires bulky manipulatives that take up a lot of precious space. That's why I try to have printable version of hands-on manipulatives that are just as effective as a factory made plastic one. The added bonus to the printables is that they are flat and can be stored away in a folder so that I don't have to compromise on space. I just laminate them for durability.

This inspired my to make these printable inchworm rulers for introducing the inch. Well, it's more than rulers. It's a measurement task card set which includes a tutorial about measuring with an inchworm ruler. A sheet of printable rulers are included for you to laminate and cut out for your students. You can click here to see the complete listing of what you get with this download. It is available at my TpT store and I'd love for you to check it out! 

Isn't it addictive for you, once you start using printable manipulatives? I'm an addict for sure! But I try to have balance by exposing my students to a bit of everything: real objects, field trips, and videos too.  I like that these options are 'easy on my pocket'. So if a printable version is way cheaper than a brand-name item, I'd take the printable! ...How about you?

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fraction Dominoes

Fraction Dominoes matching card game for equivalent fractions

Have you ever seen Fractions Dominoes? It is played like regular dominoes but you match the numeral fraction to its corresponding pictorial fraction instead. This game is perfect for enriching fraction lessons and is great as an activity on its own. It has 54 fraction domino cards with 3 doubles and three blanks included. For higher grades, equivalent fractions can be matched. Instructions for playing and a game modification for advanced students are included. You can get it here at my TpT collection or here from Teachers Notebook. Happy teaching!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Base 10 Blocks can do so much!


A few years ago, I was introduced to Base 10 Blocks and until I used them, I never knew that Base 10 Blocks can do so much! If you do not have Base 10 blocks (other known as Dienes Blocks), I have for you the next best thing! It's place value clip art that you can print and laminate 'as is' to use as hands-on manipulatives when teaching about place value. 

Each block has special name and value:

Units - Each of these single digit blocks represents 1 unit
Rods or tens - Each represents 10 units
Flats or hundreds - Each represents 100 units
Cubes or Thousands - Each represents 1000 units

The most economical way you can use this is to print the black and white version (to save ink) and photocopy it onto sets of colored paper. Laminate and cut out each color group and put each group into a different container. Divide your students in to groups for center work and give each group a place value kit! See the pictures below... and click on them to see more sample pictures of my three dollar Place Value Clip Art set which also includes a Word doc with the black and white clip art already inserted for you to print on colored paper (as seen below) or to make your worksheets. 

Base-10-Blocks-Place-Value-Printables-template    Base-10-Block-Place-Value-Printables
I printed the base 10 block templates onto blue paper, then cut out each block. Then I put each block into a laminating pouch and ran it through my laminator. Finally, I cut the blocks out. They were so firm!

Other ways to Base 10 Block printables:
  • Students can write on these to fill in each square with the numerals e.g. fill out the 'flat' (hundred block) with the numbers 1 - 100 like a hundreds chart.
  • You customize your worksheets with them.
  • Use them to teach decimals conceptually. With this, the names and values would change.
  • Use any of the large colorful versions in a place value bulletin board display.
Base 10 Blocks can do so much!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Recycling Packaging Material to make 3D Shapes


Ooh! Can you believe that you can make these yourself? Well, most of them. All you need is packaging material like the spongy polymer type as seen above, a craft knife, and a steady hand. If you're a hoarder like me, you can always save anything that is soft, cut-able, yet durable to cut into cuboids, cubes or prisms because you only need straight line cuts for those. For the cylinders, I cut off sections from the ends of my pool noodles. What? A pool noodle does not have to be so long...

As for the spheres, those are the only ones I bought, I got them at a craft store. They sell them to be used to create bouquets, pin cushions and other crafty stuff. I also saw Styrofoam cones too but they were too large. Anyway, it was a fun experience to discover ways of recycling to make solids and they are really quiet to handle in the classroom. That's an added perk. So I encourage you to try it sometime!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Elapsed Time Rulers for quickly finding Duration Time

Time is one of my favorite topics to teach and elapsed time does not have to be as tricky as it may seem. Many students have to find their own way of working out an elapsed time problem. The abstract way of just working it out by adding and subtracting is too difficult for students who need to really 'see' and visualize the time period in question. 

Elapsed Time Ruler printablesWhat do students need to learn in order to understand elapsed time? First of all, they need to know that even though an analog clock only shows twelve hours, there are actually twenty-four hours in a day. Elapsed time rulers can be use to demonstrate this. I use the 24 hour ruler (a laminated printable so it's bendable) by curving it into a circle so that the 12:00 a.m. point is overlapped onto the other 12:00 a.m. that is on the other end of the ruler, exactly 24 hours further down. The circle will help them to see the continuous cycle of day and night. Students also need to know that to find elapsed time, they must know the starting time and finishing time. And likewise, if they are already given the elapsed time, they can use it to find the finishing time if given the starting time, and vice versa.

The picture above shows how elapsed time rulers can be used like a number line for students to count on from the starting time to the completion time of an event. The rulers give students a visual picture of the time span and with enough practice, students can visualize time spans in their heads better than they previously could have. This has given my students an easier and faster alternative to solely using their working columns to calculate the answers.

I decided to color-code the elapsed time rulers to match our clocks from Learning Resources by having red stokes for the hours (upper half) and blue strokes for the minutes (lower half). Five minute and fifteen minute increments are also shown in blue. I wanted to have consistency in this because the color-coded Learning Resources Clocks have really made it easier for them to learn about time when I was teaching it and I know that many other teachers out there use these clocks as well. 

My elapsed time rulers are available in three different time spans:
  • 24 hour rulers
  • a.m. 12 hour rulers
  • p.m. 12 hour rulers
Elapsed Time Rulers for math

The set is available here at my TpT collection and teachers can print them on transparent sheets to use with an overhead projector to demonstrate their use. Each ruler is 31.5cm long (that's just over a foot long). To print them out for the students, use 8.5 x 14 (legal) sized paper to accommodate the full length of the rulers. The rulers shown in the preview here are the 12:00 a.m (midnight) to 12:00 p.m. (noon) 12 hour rulers. Check it out to see more pictures!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

How to Teach Symmetry - Fun Geometry Activities for the Classroom


Symmetry  is seen all around us and can be taken for granted. It is present in nature, as well as in most man-made objects around us. Why do we like it so much? It is aesthetically pleasing and it has useful functions think of bridges and towers). 

Why teach Symmetry? The hands-on activities that are required for the learning of this concept reinforces the concept of left and right and allow for the increase of students' dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination e.g. cutting out and folding of shapes. I think that it will also help students to develop a sense of Aesthetics congruence to help them imagine and visualize (using abstract thinking).

Some resources for teaching symmetry are:

Pictures - Simple pictures of objects that are symmetrical in shape, some can have only one line of symmetry. Also, pictures of irregular shaped objects are to be used to give students precise criteria for symmetry.
Ink blots - For reflections. Ink is blotted to one side of a page, when the page is folded the blot pattern is superimposed onto the other side. It is important to point out to students that the folded crease becomes the line of symmetry.
A Geoboard - This can be used for building geometrical designs with rubber bands on the geoboard. First, you stretch a rubber band down the center to make a line, then make a design or shape on one side and another student creates its mirror image on the other side.

Dot grids - Students connect the dots on grid paper to create symmetrical shapes and to predict and complete the missing congruent half of the shape.
Symmetrical plane shapes - Paper shapes, wooden shapes, foam shapes, felt shapes, etc. The wooden shapes are very durable, I have never needed to replace mine. However, the paper, felt, and foam shapes are bendable and this is important because it allows students to bend and fold the shapes to find out if they have symmetry.

Mirrors - There's the mirror and there's the mira. There is a possible element of danger if you are using mirrors in the classroom. What if it breaks? The mira (also called a geo-reflector) works almost like a mirror but not quite. It is used specifically for teaching symmetry and it is safe for classroom use. Read more about it here and here.

Non-symmetrical plane shapes - as non-examples, to show that not all shapes have symmetry (irregular shapes).

I keep my own collection of paper shapes that I print on colored paper from a template. This is my collection for my students to fold to find symmetry. Click here or on the pictures below to download it for free!

You may also be interested in the symmetry book project my students did...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Measurement Task Cards for cm and mm - metric unit activities


I had so much fum making these linear measurement task cards! They will make a great leaning station for your students to practice measuring small everyday objects in cm and mm. The set includes a free illustrated tutorial about measuring with a metric ruler. There are a total of 24 task cards, each with a picture of a familiar object and a guide line for them to place their ruler to take the measurements. Your students can measure each object directly from the card because they are drawn to scale, and fill in the blanks to complete each statement.

Bonus: A printing guide, an answer key and printable rulers are also included! 

These task cards are available at both TeacherspayTeachers and Teachers Notebook. Just click on the pictures to see more...

Metric-Measurement-tutorial-Cards-for-cm-and-mm Measurement-Activities-for-cm-and-mm


You may also be interested in my Measurement Task Cards for Inches and my Area and Perimeter Unit Plan.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Polygon Word Wall, Books, and Resources

This is an illustrated word wall of polygons with a definition sentence strip. Students can count the sides or corners of each shape to deduce the meanings of each polygon word. The polygon prefixes can also be studied and linked to the number sides, for example, the prefix 'tri-' means three, therefore the three-sided or three-angled polygon is called the triangle.  


This book, The Greedy Triangle, introduces polygons and their properties starting from the simplest one, the triangle. In this story, the triangle was unhappy about only having three sides so he added a fourth to become a square,  then a fifth to become a pentagon and so on... Let's just say that as he underwent each change, he learned about each shape's properties and learned to appreciate his own. See other polygon books here.

I created a set of activities for polygons that you can check out. It is available here at my TpT store.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Free Math Board Game for Square Roots!

It's time for games this time of year! (Educational ones.) Now that the concepts have been taught, even the topics you taught back in Autumn and Fall, you can drill them over in a fun way using card games or board games.  I keep my board games organized in sheet protectors in a ring binder. To store my card games, I re-use Q-tip containers and soap dishes (you can read more about that here). As long as they are organised neatly, you students can come in their groups and rotate from station to station during class revision time or weaker students can stay in at lunch time if they need the extra drill time. 

square root games

This is a new game I created specifically to get the boys in my class to revise the square root number facts. Rather than to have them recite these facts till they are bored to death, it's always better to use a game so that they get their drill and practice but without the monotony. The boys in your class will love this because it's a big car race around the track. Players get to turbo up when they correctly answer the question cards given. I got the inspiration to make this from the new movie 'Turbo' - with the speed racing snail'. This game will also help them to remember the reciprocals of the square root facts which are the squared number relationships.

You too can make games for your students. Just think of what they need to learn and other books, movies or sports they are passionate about. Find a creative way to combine the two, try it out with them to see what works, make your modifications, and try it out again. You can read more tips about it here. It's fun and it's even better if you let your students help you with the process!

I have other math games that I made at This one seen above is my fraction domino game. It is played just like regular dominoes but you can match up the same fraction values. Click here to see it! Do you need more free top-notch math games for your students? Well, you're in luck! This post is featured in collaboration with other blog posts about using math games and you can click here to visit and grab more free math games and ideas for your class!

About Me

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As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!