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Unit Chats

Unit Chats are one of the great openers developed in the last few years. The emphasis is on different units within the image. Students can answer “how many” with respect to the different options of units presented by the picture, and also relate the units to each other to build the framework for a deeper understanding of multiplication, division, and …

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Fraction Talks

Fraction talks developed as a way to use the Number Talk routine to target fractions. A growing body of fraction talks are available at fractiontalks.com. I’ve created a writeup below for how to use fraction talks, as well as a collection here which are ideal for introducing fraction talks to students early in their understanding of fractions, and then continuing …

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Prime Climb Color Chart

Our first board game, Prime Climb, is a mathematical powerhouse. You can get the game on Amazon, or check other options. The good news is, there’s plenty of ways to use the factorized color-coding of the game. Show the Prime Climb chart up to 20. Ask students what they notice, and any conjectures for how the coloring works. Optional: Extend …

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Broken Calculator Warm Up

Broken Calculators are one of the most versatile and delightful openers I know. The image itself communicates the heart of the puzzle, while leaving students open to all manner of different and personal approaches to reaching the goal. Read the lesson below, and check out the images underneath. It’s easy to make your own! This is a good early Broken …

Subtracting Reverses

This extraordinary lesson combines base ten subtraction practice with an irresistible mystery. A pattern slowly reveals itself as the class compiles data.

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Cuisenaire Rods for K/1/2

Topics: Addition, subtraction, measurement, skip counting Materials: See specific lessons Recommended Grade: K, 1, 2 Common Core: K.CC.B.4, K.CC.B.5, K.OA.A.1, K.OA.A.2, K.OA.A.3, 1.OA.A.1, 1.OA.A.2, 1.OA.D.7 Overview This series of lessons is meant to introduce Cuisenaire rods in a creative, engaging way, and see how Cuisenaire rods can illuminate and motivate addition, subtraction, and measurement. Why We Love Cuisenaire Rods Cuisenaire rods are …

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Pattern Block Triangles

This beautiful lesson combines student creative work, counting and addition practice, combining geometric shapes, and a slow build from easier to more challenging work.

Fill the Stairs

Fill the Stairs requires the thoughtful placement of two-digit numbers in order from least to greatest, before all the numbers are known. Overall, it is a fun and compelling game that holds up after repeated playing.

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Penny, Nickel, Dime

This version of Don’t Break the Bank is a hit with students, and also helps give a concrete meaning to place value by linking it to both money, addition, estimation, and multiplying by fives and tens. It takes very little time, so it can be used as a warmup, station activity, or in those five minutes before class ends. While …

Math Magic Trick

This trick is an extraordinary introduction to the power of algebraic thinking, and a reminder of what makes algebra so awe-inspiring. A video Launch for this lesson is available in two parts. PDF of the lesson is below the videos. Part 1. When using as a class launch, stop at 2:45 and let the class come up try to find …