Math doodles on chalkboard
3-12, Math

Math Fun with Howie Hua

One thing about me that I always made sure my students knew is that I used to hate math. I dreaded it, and my anxiety levels were super high during class and when I did math homework. It wasn’t until I was in high school, where I encountered some amazing math teachers, that I realized I could enjoy math and even look forward to it. To this day, I love discovering exciting math lessons, puzzling websites, and educators who demonstrate a true passion for this subject.

Speaking of the latter, I follow @Howie_Hua on Twitter. Because I’m slowly learning the value of TikTok, I only recently became aware of Howie’s TikTok videos. This is one in particular that I came across a couple of weeks ago that I think my GT students would have delighted in (and not only because he mentions Fibonacci):

@howie_hua One of my favorite math tricks #math #mathematics #mathtok #teacher #teachersoftiktok #maths ♬ original sound – Howie Hua

Howie has puzzles, math jokes, and more tricks on his TikTok channel here. Whether you’re a math teacher looking for some fun to fill in the spaces between standardized testing and the end of the school year, want some warmups to start class, or just like to play around with math, Howie Hua should definitely be one of your resources.

I’ll be adding this to my Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep collection. Don’t forget to follow me on Wakelet so you can get updates on new resources that I add to my ever-increasing bookmarks!

3-12, Critical Thinking, Games, Math, Problem Solving

Puzzles and Games from Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, which held its first event in 2007, was named after a famous mathematician. Though the festival was partially sidelined due to Covid a couple of years ago, it continued with virtual events, and it looks like it has some upcoming activities. If you are unable to attend in person, though, you can still participate by playing one of the many online games, or even downloading one of the free, printable booklets. The games include some classics, like River Crossings, and Tower of Hanoi, but there are plenty of others that will likely be new to you and your students. One very helpful feature you will find is that the instructions to each game are on Google Slide presentations, with links to the online game, and an option for Spanish instructions.

I’ll be adding this link to two of my collections: Brainteasers and Puzzles and Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep. Got advanced learners? This would be great for them! Early finishers? Students with math anxiety who need to see it can be fun? A little extra time at the end of class or a much-needed break from test prep? These are all good occasions to check out the JRMF site!

women sitting on the couch
3-12, Art, history, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Women in Culture

International Women’s Day will be celebrated on March 8, 2022 this year. I have some links to activities and lessons on my March Holidays Wakelet, but I ran across the “Women in Culture” page on Google Arts and Culture the other day and wanted to make it more widely known. I could spend days exploring this site! I know you don’t have days, hours, or even more than a couple of minutes, so I’ll point out some highlights that will make it worth your while.

Let’s start by passing all of the great images and scrolling to close to the bottom of the page, where you will see this section:

If you have no other time to bathe yourself in the beauty of this site, definitely download some of the free lesson plans, which will give you guided tours through some of the amazing images and information available to you about inspiring women in all types of careers.

Still have a little time? Maybe you can browse through this exhibit of “11 Women Who Changed the World,” and try to learn more about the incredibly gifted females (Still have a little time? Maybe you can browse through this exhibit of “11 Women Who Changed the World,” and try to learn more about the incredibly gifted females who have made universally positive contributions (many of whom rarely appear in school textbooks) who have made universally positive contributions in field ranging from art to science.

Speaking of science, women in STEM are all over this page. For a small taste of what you can find, take 2 minutes to watch this superhero video about one of those women, who is using biomimicry to discover new materials to monitor our health. A few more videos from the series can be found by scrolling about 1/4 way down the page to the section, “The science of tomorrow.”

If you’ve got upper elementary or secondary students beginning Genius Hour/Passion Projects, this would be a great page for them to browse for topic inspiration. Help them find unique subjects like the “Sea Women of South Korea” or the evolution of “Women in Sports.”

Discover the women who made a difference while increasing your motivation to help more young people learn of these achievements so they, too, can see what is possible.

Critical Thinking, Games, Geography, Math

“World” le, Confirmation Bias, and Combinatorics

Yes, you read that correctly and no, it’s not a spelling error. Jumping on the Wordle bandwagon, we now have a geography quiz called “Worldle.” Like its inspiration, it is a daily quiz that gives you six guesses. In this case, however, you are trying to identify a country or territory, the outline of which appears at the top. Your guesses are rated on “the distance, the direction and the proximity from your guess and the target country.” It looks like my average number of guesses needed will be 4, equivalent to my skill at the game that started this all.

Speaking of the original Wordle, there have been lots of comments bandied about on social media that the word list was changed when the New York Times bought the game. I was surprised to see this speculation was correct — well, sort of. People were suspecting the New York Times was trying to make the quiz more “bougie” or “elitist” with more difficult words, but apparently NYT didn’t add any words to the list. According to this hard-hitting, get-to-the-bottom-of-things report from People, they actually removed some words that they thought were too obscure or offensive (the latter was reported by the BBC). If you’ve played the game today (#247), then you will probably agree that the word was neither bougie or offensive. In a response to the flying rumors, @mjshally wrote an interesting thread on Twitter about this being a good example of confirmation bias. If you teach grades 6-12, the Wordle Word Wars could be a gateway to this lesson on confirmation bias from Newseum Ed.

Just in case you missed it, Donna Lasher has lessons for grades K-2 and 3-6 on combinations and permutations that are fabulous tie-ins to games like Wordle and everyday uses like passwords and license plates. I’ve added the link to her lesson, the Worldle link, and an Octordle link to my Wordle Variations collection here. And don’t forget you can follow all of my collections here.

BTW: Tomorrow is Twos Day! If you aren’t prepared, here are some ideas!

Games, K-12, Language Arts, Math

Let’s Talk About Twos Day

Thanks to my friend, Jenness, for reminding me that next Tuesday is a rare date! It will be 2/22/22 (for those of us in the US; some others may write it as 22/2/22), and let’s all recognize that’s not going to happen again for a very long time. I know this post is last minute, but unlike some people in Indiana who seem to think lesson plans can be set in stone before the school year even begins, good teachers know that making adjustments for current events and student needs and fun is important 😉

I thought about adding some resources to my February Wakelet, but since Twos Day isn’t actually an annual event — and probably won’t happen again in my lifetime– I decided just to put them in this blog post. Some teachers with a whole lot more forethought than me have some ideas for you, so here are a few I thought you might like:

If you see any others that would be good to include (free, particularly for 3rd and up, different than what I’ve listed so far), please comment here or e-mail me at! Also, don’t forget that you can visit that February Wakelet for Presidents Day (Feb. 21) Resources!

3-12, Games, Math, Websites

A Puzzle A Day

I sing the praises of the Mathigon website quite a bit on this blog, but I know that many of you don’t have the time to dig deep into all that the site has to offer. Here is a really easy way to get started using its Polypad tool, “A Puzzle A Day.” If you happen to have any digital devices with internet access, this would be a good station for your classroom or a fun challenge for early finishers, and the great thing is that you don’t have to do a thing to change the puzzle each day. Players need to place all of the pentomino pieces on the board so the correct date is left visible. It’s good for spatial reasoning (which, as you know, I strongly support) and, of course, students will need to know the date to do it correctly! Here is a link to the instructions, an example, and another puzzle where you can use spinners to randomly generate the date.

You can find more Mathigon Puzzles and Games here, including a digital version of Genius Square, which was one of my Gifts for the Gifted recommendations last year.

I’ll be adding this to my Brainteasers and Puzzles collection. And don’t forget that you can follow all of my collections here.