# Math Archives - Mary Kienstra

## Halloween Estimation with Pumpkins

By: Mary Kienstra on: October 28, 2017  in: #tlap, Engagement, estimation, Math

Teaching math on Halloween requires even more creativity than other days.  Holding kids’ attention when they are only thinking about dressing up and trick or treating takes a special kind of  magic.  So what’s a teacher to do?  Halloween estimation with pumpkins! Here’s the plan:  Go to your local grocery store or anywhere that sells […]

## Eight Great Ways to Learn Algebra Thinking with Games

By: Mary Kienstra on: July 27, 2017  in: algebra, Engagement, Marcy Cook math, Math, , ,

The best games in the classroom have kids totally engaged and learning while they think they are playing.  With games, kids can practice a variety of skills as well as strategic thinking.  The idea is to give kids eight great ways to learn Algebra.  With games. And this is before they ever see an equation with […]

## Differentiation: Like Changing Gears on a Bike

By: Mary Kienstra on: July 17, 2017  in: differentiation, Math, ,

For so long, math class was every kid doing the same worksheet.  But, as you know, not every student learns the same way of has the same skill set.   As the students’ skills improve, teachers increase the rigor or level of difficulty.  This reminds me of riding a bike when you use the gears […]

## Box Multiplication: Showing the Distributive Property

By: Mary Kienstra on: March 9, 2017  in: algebra, distributive property, Math,

Box multiplication makes multiplying double digits concrete to young mathematicians.  Instead of wondering where to put the digits and why they go there, kids are thinking of the area model of multiplication and filling in the boxes.  The best thing about box multiplication is how easily it translates to the distributive property.   Learning to multiply […]

## The Stock Market Game

By: Mary Kienstra on: April 10, 2016  in: Engagement, Math, stock market

When I announced to my 5th graders that we’d be playing the stock market game and buying stocks, my students replied, “What are stocks?”  A week later, they were exclaiming, “Let’s buy 100 shares of Panera!” If you haven’t seen www.stockmarketgame.org, check it out.  This site has everything you need to teach your students about financial literacy […]

## Weight Logic Algebraic Thinking Problems

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 14, 2015  in: algebra, Engagement, Math

Elementary students access algebraic thinking using different formats and problems. I’ve found the greatest resource for teaching my students algebraic thinking is to practice weekly with Weight Logic algebra problems from Marcy Cook Math.  These problems encourage algebraic thinking in a very friendly way – using balances and pieces of fruit! Marcy Cook Math products […]

## Giant Proportions

By: Mary Kienstra on: January 8, 2015  in: Discussion, Engagement, Math, Uncategorized, ,

A giant stopped by my class and left several of his giant pencils.  As my students observed those pencils, we brainstormed a list of things we could figure out about the giant by knowing the size of his pencil.  They knew that they could use ratios and proportions to estimate the height of the giant, the […]

## Leave the Worksheet Behind: Part 1 in a Series

By: Mary Kienstra on: October 8, 2014  in: Engagement, iPads, Math

It’s not that a math worksheet is not engaging, it’s just that there are other ways to deliver the same lesson in a more engaging way.  The only problem is that once you transform your math class to make learning more engaging, it’s very difficult to go back! Kahoot is one of those engaging games […]

## A Good Problem to Have

By: Mary Kienstra on: September 11, 2014  in: Collaboration, Engagement, enthusiasm, Kakooma, Math

The biggest problem I have this year with my math students is that they are over-enthusiastic about math.  I prefer to call it that instead of “talkative”.  I joke that their enthusiasm is a good problem to have. This group of students LOVES math. They truly are excited and enthusiastic about everything we are doing. […]

## Let Them Measure: Volume Measurements

By: Mary Kienstra on: June 19, 2014  in: #tlap, Engagement, Math, measure, nets, surface area, volume, worksheets

We’ve all had those days where things just don’t go the way you think it should.  You plan the lesson with all the critical elements to meet the target, but when the students get started, there is no excitement, no spark.  It’s just boring. That happened in my room when students were learning volume measurements.  The […]