# Keep Math Alive This Summer

The school weeks are winding down and summer is quickly approaching. While teachers and students alike welcome the break, it’s important to keep math skills alive over the many weeks of summer vacation.

Here are four fun ideas for helping your kids use their math skills this summer:

This new, engaging math game by Ron Larson reinforces many of the Common Core skills that are vital to math literacy. Playing the game for 15 minutes a day is a fun, easy way to keep math skills fresh! My Dear Aunt Sally includes number sense, number operations, order of operations, and problem solving.

2. Set up a family game night

The Big Ideas Math Game Closet includes dozens of interactive math games that can be printed and played at home. Get the family together once a week, make some popcorn, and have fun with math!

3. Ask the kids to help with dinner

Cooking together is a great way to reinforce math skills! Using measuring cups is a perfect way to practice adding or subtracting fractions (example: The recipe calls for ½ cup of flour. How many quarter cups could I use to get the same amount?). Cutting a pizza into equal parts lends easily to fraction questions as well.

4. Get active

Get your child a pedometer to wear and keep track of his/her daily steps. Keep a record of the daily count for a week (or more) and graph the results to compare the steps taken each day. Students can also record their heart rate while performing various activities (resting, walking, running, climbing stairs, jumping, etc.) and compare the results.

Are there any activities you would add to the list? Please share them with us in the comments!

Have you ever hosted a classroom contest? Consider arranging a contest to get your students in the holiday spirit by having them decorate paper gingerbread men.

Challenge your students to be as creative as possible when decorating their gingerbread men. When the entries have been displayed, have students vote for their top three favorites. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss the probability of one gingerbread man winning over another or to review the voting method and tallying procedures.

The Big Ideas Math and Larson Texts, Inc. staff recently took part in a company Gingerbread Man Contest. Here are some of the best entries to use as examples:

# Cooperative Group Tip

Here’s a great management technique from Mr. Anthony Ness at Belleview Middle School in Belleview, Florida.

When students are working in cooperative groups, give each group a red, yellow and green paper cup in a stack. Each group keeps the stack of cups face down on the table. If the group is still working then they keep the red cup on top. This lets the teacher know, “Not ready to stop because we are still working”. If they need assistance then they put the yellow cup on top of the stack. Once the group is finished and ready to move on, they place the green cup on top of the stack.

This easy technique allows you the teacher to continuously survey your students and where they are during the assignment.

# Fun for the Entire Family

Parents and students, do you have a game night at home?

Try choosing a Game from the Big Ideas Game Closet at least once a month.

All the game pieces, boards, spinners and directions accompany each activity.  Have fun while practicing some math skills.

You may want to begin with Name the Number, a simple activity to identify place value.

Or you may want to race each other while practicing with expressions and substitution.

Whatever game you choose fun is waiting for the entire family.

Now the games in the Big Ideas Game Closet are available in Spanish!

# Pinterest Challenge: Back to School Edition

As we mentioned last week, Big Ideas Math is now on Pinterest!

Here’s the part where you come in. We would like our amazing Big Ideas Math teachers to help contribute to our Pinterest boards!

For the next two weeks, we are asking that you snap a photo of your back-to-school classroom setup and send it to us.

Back-to-school photo ideas:

• Classroom materials organization
• Wall displays or posters
• Cubbies or welcome area
• Teacher’s desk setup
• Student desk arrangement
• Group work or technology area
• Any creative classroom setup or display

After you have sent in your photos, we will include them in a blog post and create a Back to School board on Pinterest.

Attach your photo to an email with the subject line ”Back to School Photo” and send it to blog@bigideaslearning.com.

[By submitting photos to the Pinterest Challenge: Back to School Edition, you agree that Big Ideas Learning LLC has the right to redistribute photos on the Big Ideas Math blog and Big Ideas Math Pinterest account.]