Day 14: Number Tricks

Today in Geometry I started with Mental Math where students compared two fractions. It is homecoming this week so everything was pretty crazy. We watched Dan’s Magic Octagon and took a few notes on rotations/reflections. After we made Hexaflexagons, which is where all chaos broke loose. I did not prep students well enough and we ran out of time, this was a bummer but I can pick up the pieces tomorrow.

In Algebra I had one of the best days of my teaching career. The lesson had awesome scaffolding and I felt like students took a lot of way from the day. I wrote about Jinx Math earlier this year and today built of those ideas.

I opened up with this:


I asked students to make a claim on what the number will always be, in this case it will always come out to 7. But mathematicians can be lazy so lets go ahead and write an expression that will do all these steps.


We walked through the first one together.


Let’s try another; make a claim on this one too.


After a few times through we translated this number trick to math as well. Students worked through this one on their own.

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“now we could do this again for the next 20 minutes but let’s mix things up”

Write the steps to this number trick.
Write the steps to this number trick.

They did an awesome job here! Later in the day I started asking students to name the number tricks, this was a lot of fun.

Check your steps.
Check your steps.

Time for the big one.


I was a little worried about how students would take this…

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Trying to pull a fast one.

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I should never doubt student ability. They were lovin’ this.


I followed this up by working with 1 and 2 step equations – smoooooooth transition into this.


Credit for this goes out to Dan.

What a day!


Day 13: Translating

The textbook I follow starts the off with translating. I decided to open the year a little differently (as you can tell if you follow my blog). I started with introducing two-step equations then moved to translating. My only reason behind this is students spend SO. MUCH. TIME. solving equations. I wanted to mix things up a little.

With that said Algebra started off with Mental Math which went great. It is always interesting to see how students approach different types of problems.

After I followed along with Dan’s  method of introducing translating from week 3. I think he has done a great job of scaffolding the problems, students followed really well. One area of particular interest for me was talking with students about the power of a comma;


There is a massive difference between:

  • the sum of 12 and five times m.
  • the sum of 12 and five, times m.

We had great discussions all day over this.

For some reason students wanted to set each expression equal to something. For example: The product of 15 and c had to equal some other variable. Not sure where this came from, better talk to my people because I am not sure what consequences this type of thinking may have.

In Geometry we wrapped up Best Midpoint then started messing around with the distance and midpoint formulas. I may have dumped a little too much information/proof on them today; I don’t like just throwing around formulas and having them practice, with out any ideas of where they come from.

I am looking forward to a great week, lots of fun activities planned!