Only once a century do we experience Ultimate Pi Day: On March 14, XX15 at 9:26:53 (a.m. and p.m.) the date and time line up to 3.141592653 Awesome!
I can’t let Ultimate Pi Day go by without giving a shout out to a book by one of my favorite authors, Wendy Mass. Her novel Pi in the Sky takes us to outer space for a funny and informative science fiction adventure. With pie!
In Wendy’s own words:
“The germ of the idea for Pi in the Sky came from a quote a middle-schooler gave me. It was by astronomer Carl Sagan: ‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.’ My brain just started churning that quote over and over until a story started to form. I’ve always loved reading science fiction—starting with Ray Bradbury when I was younger—and I felt ready to take on the challenge.”
She actually started her career writing nonfiction for kids, so she’s no stranger to researching science and math. It actually took her three years to do the research for this book before she felt ready to write about astronomy, evolution, and astrophysics on a level that students could understand.
I hope you will consider taking part in this annual classroom event that makes math fun!
Students will make predictions, practice counting skills, and record observations as they take turns stacking oreo cookies and comparing their results. The data collected by each class is then submitted online, where it will be combined with data from other classrooms all over the world. The final results will be posted at the project site on October 8 in a spreadsheet format, and you can then use those results to create your own graphs and charts.
Instructions, standards, activities, and worksheets are provided for you.
There are several cross-curricular components to this project, including viewing a map to see where the data is coming from, creating a timeline of the history of the oreo cookie, and creating cookie sculptures with the oreos once the stacking is finished.
This Week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is ….Study Jams!
Each Study Jam is made up of a video, slide show, or step by step tutorial for a Math or Science topic, all tailored to kids. These are great for introducing or reviewing a concept on an Interactive Whiteboard, or for giving students individual instruction and/or practice on a computer or netbook.
To make learning even more fun, some concepts have an accompanying karaoke song so kids can sing along if they’d like! (Tools of Measurement has a good beat, and you can really dance learn about measurement to it!)
Key vocabulary words with definitions are also provided, and there is a “test yourself” section for each concept where kids can practice what they’ve just learned.
Explanation are clear, graphics are large and bright, and the characters are appealing. You can browse the broad categories (Addition & Subtraction, Geometry, Fractions, Measurement, Plants, Animals, Human Body, Matter, etc) or search for a specific topic.
The site has no ads, and requires no registration or login. So what are you waiting for? Go start Jamming!
In the spirit of using this blog to focus on my little successes (in the face of so many big changes) our faculty has decided to make improved math performance our goal for the year.
Why is this a success for me? After all, I was hoping that Reading would be the big thing this year. It’s because my first WWW of the year just happened to be a math site! Yay me!
And by continuing to showcase different math tools throughout the year (in addition to the math materials in our collection) I can demonstrate that I’m a valuable curriculum resource for teachers and students in areas other than ELA. Yay me again!
So if you have any tried-and-true, can’t-live-without-it math suggestions (books, websites, blogs, DVDs, etc) for elementary students, please leave a comment and tell me about them!
A couple of my teachers mentioned to me last week that their students really needed a review of basic math skills, so I’m recommending Academic Skill Builders as a fun site for kids to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as money, fractions, time, and more. There are some geography and language arts games, too.
There are both single-player and multi-player games available. Multi-player games can be public, allowing anyone to join in; or they can be protected by a password so that only selected students may play.
These games can be played on student computers, on a class set of netbooks, or on the interactive whiteboard. The graphics are bright and cheerful, and the instructions are easy to understand.
The games are (and according to the site, always will be) free, but additional features are available for a fee. If you’d like to be able to customize game content, track individual student progress, and print reports, you can sign up for a subscription.
Right now, the site is in beta testing, and they are waiving the usual $199 subscription price in return for your feedback. Once the site is ready to launch fully – and I don’t know when that will be – beta testers will receive half off the first year’s subscription price.