math engagement Archives - Mary Kienstra


Pattern Blocks – Making Fractions Real

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 3, 2017  in: fractions, math engagement

Understanding fractions is so much easier when kids can touch the models.  Pattern blocks are making fractions real.  They are the perfect models just for that.  Today I introduced fractions to my third graders with pattern blocks.  And they got it. We started with thinking that the yellow hexagon represents one.  From there we investigated what the other […] Read more


The Survey Project

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 22, 2016  in: #tlap, graphing, math engagement, , ,

What do you do at the end of the school year when the standard is data analysis?  Create a survey project!  It makes perfect sense.  Kids will care much more about analyzing the data that they collect than about any data presented in the text.  Let them create their own. Take a survey. Create a […] Read more


Volume and Surface Area – with boxes

By: Mary Kienstra on: April 11, 2015  in: math engagement, median, volume

When teaching volume and surface area, there is no better way than to get out the rectangular prisms (a.k.a. boxes) and let the students figure it out.  On days like this, I like to get out of their way and just watch it unfold. Last year I realized that volume and surface area cannot be explored […] Read more


Order Matters! Learning Order of Operations

By: Mary Kienstra on: September 2, 2014  in: Collaboration, Discussion, Greg Tang math, Marcy Cook math, math engagement, order of operations

Nothing rocks the world of young mathematicians like the order of operations. Just when they are feeling confident with their math facts, the rules change! Now they have to follow a certain order – and it makes no sense to them at all! I introduce the proper order using PEMDAS as a guide, but there […] Read more