Gordon Hamilton is the amazing mind behind one of my favorite math sites, Math Pickle. (For a list of interesting math sites, check out this post.) Numberphile is an awesome YouTube channel for anyone passionate about math. So, when the two collaborate, you know that it is going to be good. “Frog Jumping” is one of Hamilton’s recent math challenges featured on Numberphile. I would definitely invite your students (probably 3rd grade and up) to try each problem he poses throughout the video – pausing for them to make their attempts. As for his final frog-jumping challenge, I may have to take him up on it, although it’s hard to imagine that I could solve something that eludes Gordon Hamilton!
It amazed me to discover yesterday that the last time I posted about Math Pickle was in 2011. This is a great resource for challenging those mathematical wizards in your class, and I really need to access it more often myself.
“We learn best through hard fun,” is a quote that you will find on the Math Pickle website. And there are many “hard fun” puzzles and conundrums to bewilder students of all age levels.
If this is your first time visiting Math Pickle, then I would recommend you click on the link for K-12 Video Support. From there you can click on any grade level or math skill for a grid of suggested activities. Some of the activities are videos, while others include Powerpoint, Keynote, and even PDF worksheets.
My 2nd graders did the “Termite Terrorists” activity yesterday, and I really enjoyed watching them work through some of the puzzles. The included video is meant more to explain the activity to the teacher, but I actually showed the beginning to my students so they could see the lovely introduction that included the disgusting termites;) This lesson lent itself to differentiation so easily because the students who made it through a puzzle could go on to another one that was a bit more difficult. Their conversations and strategies were varied and fascinating. We were amazed by some of the different solutions that could be found for the same problem. Since I actually didn’t look at any answers (and not all are provided), the students had fun trying to “beat” my lowest number on each challenge – and they often did!
Another wonderful resource on the site is the Curricular Puzzle Books link. It includes free materials for Grades 1-6, and even includes a student-created puzzle book.
There are lots of other areas to explore on the site, including recommended board games. Gordon Hamilton has done a fabulous service to the education community by providing so many great challenges and resources for free. You can find out more about the amazing creator of this site, who also happens to be a board game designer, here. If you can’t get enough hard fun from the Math Pickle website, check out Gordon Hamilton’s Teachers Pay Teachers site for additional puzzles available for purchase.
Many schools are out for the next two weeks, which gives teachers the opportunity to catch up on their personal lives. Sometimes, though, teachers like to use this time for planning. As the number of subscribers to this blog climbs, I am aware that many of you may not have had time to read all of the posts, or might have missed some of the earlier suggestions. So, I thought this might be a good time of year to summarize and emphasize some of the most valuable resources I have reviewed so far. Today, I would like to offer my Favorite Online Math Sites:
#3 – Math Pickle – This site has great higher order thinking activities for different grade levels. Videos and printables are provided.
#2 – Thinking Blocks – I really like how the students can use online manipulatives in order to visualize these math problems. The only disadvantage of this site is the inability to track the progress of students in your class.
#1 – Manga High– I have been phasing this program in with my gifted students in grades 3-5, and they are really excited about it. This is a relatively new site, which means that there are features being added on a regular basis. However, it already has the options for assigning lessons to your students and tracking them. You can view their progress individually or as a class. You can even print out progress reports for them. This is all for free, and allows you to offer some differentiation to your students for the times when you cannot work with them individually.