More HW examples

Three more examples of homework.

Our next unit is Patterns, but as we move forward, we continue to review fractions and word problems visually and computationally (Levels 1 and 2) on homework. Some students will need weeks of practice on these two skills visually before they are mastered conceptually. Homework is a great place to allow them to continue solidifying those visual skills. Faster-working students will sail through Levels 1 and 2 in a few minutes and have time to work on challenge problems. Continue reading More HW examples

Bar Fractions and Snowflake Fractions

1. Bar Fractions

This activity is adapted from Jo Boaler’s “Mindset Mathematics – Grade 5”, page 106. The only change we made is to use a bar rather than a square. We will use squares for a fraction activity later this week.

Step One (Concrete)

Pass out 5 blocks to each child: 2 Red, 2 Blue and 1 Green(or other color…) We use snap cubes, but any cubes will work. Alternatively, squares of construction paper will work. Continue reading Bar Fractions and Snowflake Fractions

WEEK THREE – Activity TWO – More Word Problems

Let’s Play ‘Alpha Beta Gamma’.

We like this game because it encourages cooperation without leading to too much competition between groups. Since the composition of each group changes constantly, students don’t feel overly tied to the scores of a given group. Continue reading WEEK THREE – Activity TWO – More Word Problems

WEEK THREE – Activity One; Word Problems, + a Note on Differentiation

Our first unit is a twin unit of Fractions (mostly visual) and Word problems. We begin working with both these topics very early in the year, so that we have all year to incorporate them into every unit.  We find that word problems are an excellent way to teach fractions, too. Our next two units will be place value, patterns and multiplication, after which we will return to fractions in more depth.

This introduction to 5th grade word problems starts at the concrete, as it should.



  1. Pass out a handful of rainbow cubes (smallest base-10 blocks) or similar per child.
  2. Have each child count out 11 blocks, and set the others aside.
  3. Project or write up Problem 1.

Continue reading WEEK THREE – Activity One; Word Problems, + a Note on Differentiation

WEEK TWO – Activity Two – Toblerone Fractions


1. Warm Up

Put this puzzle up as a warm up. It is a little easier than last week’s puzzles, and this is a good time to build confidence with this type of logic problem. Have students try this one alone.

Sign #2 cannot be true, since it then declares itself false. Therefore, sign 2 is true …

… read more … >>f WEEK TWO act 3

WEEK TWO – Activity One – Capture the Fraction Circle

1. WARM UP –  The Fraction Template

Project the fraction template below.  Click for pdf:  fraction template

Photocopy it for students if at all possible. Our 5th graders keep one in their binder for weeks.

Ask simply : “WHAT DO YOU SEE? You can’t give a wrong answer – whatever you see is true.” Early answers might refer to colors and numbers. Accept all as true. Gradually ….

… read more… e WEEK ONE act 3

WEEK ONE – Activity Two – The Lady and the Tiger


(~60 minutes)

A puzzle has the ability to pull children into the subject of math. A story even more so. Let’s combine the two.

1. The Story

We start this activity by reading a condensed version of Frank Stockton’s classic tale “The Lady or the Tiger”.  One source online:

Click to access Lady%20or%20the%20Tiger,%20The%20(easy%20version).pdf

After the story, we discuss the word “Ambiguity”, since the children are fascinated and frustrated by the fact that the author does not give an answer to the question “Did …

……read more…  c WEEK ONE act 2