Math = Love: April 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Egg of Columbus Puzzle

For the 4th grade class my husband and I teach at church on Wednesday nights, we were tasked with coming up with an Easter craft or activity. I'm not the type to break out paint or glitter in these situations because I hate the clean-up and chaos of the entire experience.

Earlier this year, I was browsing through Puzzles.com and ran across a new-to-me tangram style puzzle called the "Egg of Columbus." I decided this would be perfect to try out with our group of 4th graders!

Image Source: http://www.puzzles.com/PuzzlePlayground/TheEggOfColumbus/TheEggOfColumbus.htm
I used the snipping tool to grab the egg image and printed them two to a sheet on different colors of paper.


Next, I spent some quality time with the laminator. I figured that 4th graders might be a bit rough on these pieces. Plus, I wanted them to be able to take their puzzles home with them to keep.


My next step of preparation involved making a "poof book" for the students to assemble that included different challenges that they could complete with their egg pieces. The cover of the poof book included the solution to the egg puzzle.


This book is assembled from just a single sheet of letter sized paper. If you're not sure how to fold/assemble a poof book, check out this blog post for step-by-step directions. 





Our students' first task was to cut out their Egg of Columbus pieces.

Next, we challenged them to reassemble the pieces into the egg shape. This turned out to be much harder for them than I anticipated. Numerous students made comments along the lines of "This is impossible!" I reminded them that the pieces had been in the form of an egg before they cut them out!



Next, I blew their minds with the assembly of the poof book. After assembling their book of challenges, each student picked a picture of their choosing to try and make with their pieces.




I have uploaded the files I made for the puzzle and poof book using the images from ThinkFun and Puzzles.com here.

Want a sturdier version of this puzzle for your puzzle table? There are several options worth looking into on Amazon.

This wooden version (affiliate link) is super affordable and comes with free shipping, but I'm a bit worried about the fact that there aren't any reviews.

ThinkFun produces a commercial version of this puzzle known as Scrambled Egg (affiliate link).



Monkey Pod Games (affiliate link) produces a very nice version, but it's a little more expensive than I would want to spend for my classroom.


If you prefer to eat your puzzle after you have solved it, you might be interested in an Egg of Columbus cookie cutter (affiliate link)!



If you have access to a 3D printer, you can 3D print your puzzle pieces!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mixed Emotions Puzzle from The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers

I'm not sure what it is about this week's puzzle table selection, but it's been much more popular than the last few puzzles combined! Maybe it's the bright yellow paper or emojis that catch the eyes of students... Whatever it is, I'm excited to see students gathered around the puzzle table!


The goal of this week's puzzle is to place four pieces onto the 5 x 5 grid so that no two facial expressions are repeated in any horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. You can rotate pieces, but you may not overlap them or flip them over.


One thing I LOVE about this puzzle is that at first there doesn't seem to be that many different ways to arrange the four pieces on the grid until you start thinking about how many ways each piece can be rotated! This makes lots of combinations to check!


Several groups of students ended up solving this puzzle yesterday on the first day it was out!

This puzzle is from one of my newer puzzle book purchases. Yes, I may have a slight addiction to purchasing puzzle books for my classroom. I may or may not have bought four more puzzle books a few weekends ago at a thrift store!


The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers (affiliate link) is an awesome puzzle collection that features 567 different puzzles from The Grabarchuk Family. I ordered a used copy from Amazon for $5.83 with free shipping, so that works out to just over 1 cent per puzzle. Super bargain!



Not sure if the puzzles in this book are for you? You can look at quite a few of the puzzles by clicking the "Surprise Me" button inside Amazon's Look Inside Feature!


Interested in the file for this puzzle? I've uploaded it here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Must Reads: Volume 38

Some weeks, I can't wait to compile my Monday Must Reads post. Other times, like today, I realize that Monday is getting close to being over and I haven't even started sorting through my favorite tweets of the week. My school has four weeks and one day left of the semester, and I have to admit that I am ready for summer. It's really hard to make my mind think about the lessons that I need to teach this week because all my brain wants to think about is the changes I want to make for next year!

That's enough complaining. Let's move on to this week's must reads!


Ryan White shares an awesome set of bookmarks with a mnemonic device that walks students through checking their work.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/rwhite_teacher1/status/985957884751171584
Fran Capone inspires with her "celebration tree."

Image Source: https://twitter.com/algebrafun120/status/985932387769987073
Taylor Grant shares some creative tweaks to my function auction activity in this blog post.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/teachbarefoot/status/985976138907480066
Alice Aspinall demonstrates how to combine paint and marbles to make parabolas!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/aliceaspinall/status/985931839310352384
Susanne F-Pegram gets students up and moving around while reviewing angles with a game of twister.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/wsmom1265/status/985910698164342787
Bethany Tyndall demonstrates how you can make the entire school your classroom by taking a math walk!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/TyndallBethany/status/916288989249855488
Clarissa Grandi inspires, as always, with her beautiful origami!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/c0mplexnumber/status/985200680423120898
Tiffany Ann Mosier shares one of the most fun-looking team-building tasks I have seen. Build a tower with only tape and balloons!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/Mosier_FHS/status/898551516935606272
Check out this masterpiece by Suzanne von Oy!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/von_Oy/status/984510979714138112
Looking for an awesome task to review area/circumference of a circle? Mr Knowles has got you covered! Download it here from TES for free!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/SK18Maths/status/985173524099862528
Todd Malarczuk poses an interesting estimation problem.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/ToddMalarczuk/status/865225026836017152
Allison E Lawrence shares an awesome idea involving dice in a plastic case. I've never seen dice used like this before!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MrsLMathGeek/status/861948914534150144
Amy McNabb shares a brilliant use for $5 in your classroom.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/amcnabb3/status/984883101087289345
Blaire Conner gets students outside to practice systems of equations.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/blaireconner/status/984805075318173697
Chris Pierce brilliantly combines polar graphs and cryptology.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/PierceLikesMath/status/984827296229023746
Check out these awesome laser-cut tesselations by Kathy Henderson's students!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/kathyhenderson/status/984535512466665472
Stacey Beacher not only has her students create their own representations of the real number system, but she also has students give other students feedback on their projects.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/SBeacher_BMS/status/914100714716172288
Stacey also shares an awesome hands-on activity for collecting data to create a scatter plot that involves jumping!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/SBeacher_BMS/status/940272581768249344
Kate Baker shares an awesome mini-golf lesson that gives students plenty of trig practice.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/ms_baker_dchs/status/961002251467845634
Kimberly Lentz builds a great geometry lesson that centers around a brown lunch bag.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/Miss_Lentz/status/936002824470716416
Kristen Fouss brings spring into her classroom with a function flower garden.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/Fouss/status/984501880050110464
Samantha Cruz shares an inspiring triangle-based math project.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/cruzteach/status/942888978235129857
Margaret Brown shows us how math teachers should decorate their doors.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/margaret001100/status/984449735460294656
Janice Novakowski encourages teachers to create their own WODB problems by providing them with wooden trays to set-up their problems.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/jnovakowski38/status/984188919876018177
I'm super impressed with this Venn diagram for sine vs cosine functions created by Ms. Fye's class.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/krfye/status/984132722514948097
Kristan Morales shares a brilliant project idea: have students create a 3D representation of a trig problem!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/KristanMorales1/status/982036196485316608
Carly Bowden takes advantage of a tiled wall to set up composite figures for students to find the area of. This is pure brilliance!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MrsCBowden/status/841423826017742848
Lara Staker shares a great data collection activity involving reaction time.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/larree12/status/967240255433854977
Elissa Miller shares a new-to-me use of straws: graphing trig functions. This is so much better than using spaghetti!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/misscalcul8
Tori Cox created an awesome deck of war cards for comparing average rate of change.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/ToriTeachesMath/status/983798255107690496
Liz Mastalio shares an awesome lesson using my Guess My Rule cards.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MissMastalio/status/983765751235534851
How have I been teaching trig for so long without ever thinking of creating a giant unit circle in my classroom?!? Thanks to Ms. Holley for the inspiration!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MsHolley_/status/968189782001115141
Abigail Fulton introduced statistics in the yummiest of ways - a marshmallow catching contest!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/afulton345/status/970825088747450368
Jackie Selevan makes me wish I lived closer to a volcano so we could estimate it's height using trig!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/jselevan/status/983403483406610433
Interested in doing Quarter the Cross with your students? Check out these awesome templates from Kim Spek.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/kvdspek/status/983150086216699904
I absolutely love this exponent-themed comic unearthed by Jo Morgan. She always finds the best stuff!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/mathsjem/status/983352641114779648
 Debbie Hurtado brings a real-world problem into the classroom.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/DebbieHurtado/status/983138423916511232
Sara Van Der Werf's most recent blog post about why she hangs orange plastic golf balls from her ceiling is a must-read.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/saravdwerf/status/983115064101261312
Until next week, keep sharing your awesome ideas!