My Favorite


A post about my favorite thing is impossible!  I love many things; how could I pick just one?

Instead, let’s call this a few of my favorite things.

Kakooma by Greg Tang

My middle school students labor over multiplication facts.  They count on their fingers or reference a multiplication chart.  While both of these methods can be effective, not knowing the relationships between numbers make other math tasks laborious (think fractions, ratios, roots, etc.)

We are currently working on the easy multiplication pentagon puzzles from a printed Kakooma book I picked up at a used book store.   Students are beginning to recognize the fact families that make up the 12 x 12 multiplication chart.   Even more importantly, they are persisting in trying different combinations to find the solution to the puzzle.

One bonus to our current puzzle, I get to say pentagon and 5-sides over and over.  Hopefully by the time their geometry unit rolls around, they’ll know a pentagon from a hexagon.


Like Kakooma, these puzzles appear simple but challenge students to persist and use algebraic thinking.  KenKen puzzles are available on-line or through a weekly e-mail newsletter.

Depending on the level of difficulty, these puzzled work with the four basic operations.  They also play like Sudok, in that each number can only be used once per row or column.  Students must find the combination of numbers will combine to make the necessary sum, difference, product or quotient.

Game Over Gopher by MathSnacks

Learning to plot points in the 4 quadrant plain can be tedious not to mention boring.  The on-line game Game Over Gopher teaches the skills for plotting (CCSS 6.NS.C.6) in a way that students want to keep practicing at home.

Students become caught up in the game, the forget they are practicing placing points at specific coordinates.  To advance in the game, they must become adept at quickly moving to the correct location.

By far, this game is one of my most requested games to play.

What are some of your favorite things?

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