Monday, January 25, 2010

Math Resources: Puzzle Books

Teaching with Math on the Level is a totally different experience for us over traditional math books. Without being tied down to a workbook for our math practice, we get to explore a lot of different resources. I picked up this puzzle book a few months ago at the Salvation Army store. Neither of the two nearby to us have great books, but every so often you can find something nice. This was a good day!

I pulled it out last week and gave E11 the assignment to figure out the Triangle Numbers pattern. He also enjoyed, "the last straw" puzzle. I'm not sure he got the equilateral part just right, but he did manage to take six straws and make four triangles from them.
I have especially enjoyed the focus on finding meaningful math challenges with Math on the Level and the chance to focus on skills when we think it's time to work on them. With more traditional math programs, the text or program decides the pace, the order, and how the concept will be taught. As a teacher, I have found it useful to be able to choose those things for my kids. We can devote as much time as needed to a concept without "falling behind". I also look for ways to use the math in real life along the way. Since I'm essentially leading the charge, I get to forge ahead the way that is best for each of the kids.

And the most important thing is that when the rubber meets the road, the kids are showing they know the concepts. Just last night there were 14 fries left on the tray and four kids wanted thirds. R9 was up to distribute them and Dan asked her how many they could each have. She thought a moment and answered there would be 3 for each with a remainder of 2. This from the girl who still hasn't memorized every multiplication table and therefore has only scratched the surface of division and has not done long division much yet at all. But give her a real problem and she is right there with you. That is actually pretty satisfying.


Jimmie said...

And isn't solving a REAL problem actually far more important? (Rhetorical question. I think YES.)

Rachel said...

Heather - I checked it out on amazon and it shows the age range at 9+. What is your review of ages for these puzzles?f