How to help your kids fall in love with math: a guide for grown-ups

So you want your kid to know math? Of course you do. Math is an important tool, used widely in many disciplines, and helps us make sense of our world. It’s also beautiful, fun, and interesting, especially for young children. Kids are just entering the world of patterns and numbers, and their love of math is ready to bloom. They …

Tiny Polka Dot – the colorful math game for young kids

We’re happy to announce that our newest math game, Tiny Polka Dot, is now on Kickstarter! Tiny Polka Dot is a math game deck for 3- to 8-year-old children and their families. Over the past several years we’ve designed series of games through our work with pre-K and K-2 teachers. Tiny Polka Dot is the culmination of that work: a …

Math Festival, TEDx Talk, Fraction Talks

So much is coming up! First, Seattle’s Julia Robinson Math Festival is this Sunday. It’s a festival celebrating collaborative, beautiful, non-competitive mathematics. If you’re interested in signing your child up (4th grade or older), there’s still time! You can learn more about the festival here. Second, my TEDx Talk, Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching, if finally out. I’d love …

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Thoughts on linear equations

I recently received this email from a teacher I work with: “Dan, I have a question for you. I just introduced my [pre-algebra students] to slope and then to slope-intercept form of linear equations and wanted to explore with them some word problems which could be written in that form. (Ex: . For babysitting, Anna charges a flat fee of …

Phi is the new root 2

My knowledge about the foundation history of irrational numbers was challenged today, and I’m pretty happy about it. I had recently tweeted a Vi Hart video that gave a fun, geometric proof of the classic first proof of irrationality: is irrational. If it weren’t, that would mean you could build a square that had integer sides and an integer diagonal, …

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Aggression: the amazing arithmetic game no one knows about

I first played the game Aggression about five years ago. I had recently read Eric Solomon’s Games with Pencil and Paper, and tried the game out with a student I was working with. It was a hit. I heard later that the game was in regular rotation at his house, and had become a family favorite. “I should use this …

Lessons on Volume

I recently collected a series of our favorite lessons for fifth graders on the topic of volume into one tidy booklet. I like these lessons a lot. They start with tangible activities involving squares and cubes, and build up from concrete to abstract until students are able to use an understanding of volume to solve truly complex problems. I’d love …

The Power of 37

Our new lesson plan library is up in beta form. We’re not sharing it widely yet, but it’s getting close. Our goal is to have a collection of great problems for K-6th grade, easily filterable by topic, grade, Common Core, and keyword. We know that many teachers would love an easy place to find high-quality, easy-to-use complex problems and games. …

The Rearrangement Puzzle

On the topic of puzzles, my puzzle in in the NYTimes Numberplay column this week. It’s built to look hard, but come apart easily if you attack it from the right direction. The Rearrangement Puzzle The number 1,525,354,555,657,585,950 is, as it happens, evenly divisible by 99. Fix all the 5s digits where they are in the number, and rearrange the …

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This Week’s NPR Puzzle: Extra Challenge

This week’s Sunday puzzle on NPR is a classic from Sam Loyd. Here’s Will Shortz: This is one of the “lost” puzzles of Sam Loyd, the great American puzzlemaker from the 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s from an old magazine with a Sam Loyd puzzle column. The object is to arrange three 9s to make 20. There is no …