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What Do You Notice? poster – Fractions on the Geoboard

What Do You Notice? poster – Fractions on the Geoboard

I just hosted my sixth fabulous Family Math Night event of the school year and with it came another new What Do You Notice? poster.  Here are the deets:
Title:  Fractions on the Geoboard

K-2:  shapes, counting, area

3-5:  congruency, area, fractions, equivalent fractions

Background Information: This is similar to the Squares and More Squares poster.  Like that one, this was designed around fractions but at a higher level.  The dots for each square represent the dots on a regular geoboard.  Each square is made up of 5 by 5 dots.  If lines were drawn connecting each of the dots, the larger square would show 16 small squares (4 x 4 small squares).  Each of these small squares represents one square unit.

I divided each of the large squares into fourths.  The third and fifth squares on the poster are the easiest representations of fourths.  It is also easy to see equivalent fractions such as ½ = 2/4.

Upper elementary students can figure out the area of the sections by counting the square units.  Just like in the Squares and More Squares poster, I deliberately made different shapes with the same area because sometime students will think that because the shape is different, the area must be different, as well.

Some students may notice congruency.  For example, in the first square, two of the sections are identical (congruent) even though the orientations are different.

Here’s what it looked like at the event:

Homework the FUN Way

Homework the FUN Way

Everyone loves to play games.  They’re engaging, motivating, and fun.  And from an educational perspective, they can be a powerful learning tool.  Here’s what games can do:

    • reinforce skills learned in the classroom
    • develop mental math skills
    • encourage strategic thinking
    • foster mathematical communication
    • build confidence
    • engage parents

But one of the best things about games is that they offer meaningful practice in a way where kids actually want to do math.  That’s because games, by their very nature, are fun.  It’s not too hard to entice a child to play a game.  And because of that, games offer important practice in a way that worksheets can’t.

When it comes to homework, we need to tap into the innate interest and motivation that games provide so that we can help parents sneak in some important math reinforcement.  It’s no secret that the more engaged parents are in their child’s education, the better their children do in school.  And current research says that homework can be effective when it piques students’ interests, doesn’t take too long, and allows repeated exposure to master new skills.  Games fit the bill on each of these.

So let’s make it easy to engage ALL parents in their child’s learning by periodically sending home games for homework instead of worksheets.

This is where our Power Packs come in.  These Power Packs are filled with engaging dice games created specifically for parents to play with their children.  Not only are the games fun but we took great care to design them around the skills students are learning in the classroom.

Each Pack comes with the games and game pieces needed so all you have to do is pop the Pack in students’ backpacks.  It’s as simple as that.  Soon, parents and kids will be enjoying the games together – not to mention each other’s company!

To give you an idea how this might work as a part of your classroom routine, we put together an introductory letter and weekly game take-home slip (2 pages) that you can send home to families.  And with conferences coming up, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce the game packs to parents.  In fact, you may also want to share this fabulous TED Talk that underscores the importance of practice – or what the speaker calls the learning zone.

Of course, the Power Packs are also perfect for your Family Math Night event.  Here’s how we use them at our events.

As always, our goal is to support you in your support of parents.  If you have any questions about our Power Packs, or any of our Family Math Night products, feel free to email us at

Power Packs: Building Number Sense in Grades 4/5

Power Packs: Building Number Sense in Grades 4/5

I’m excited to share with you that our Building Number Sense in Grades 4-5 Power Pack is now available.  All of our Power Packs are filled with games that teach parents strategies and tools to help their children build strong math skills.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, there have been a lot of changes in mathematics curriculum and pedagogy in recent years and a lot of parents don’t feel as prepared as they’d like to be when it comes to helping their child in math.  The power of these Power Packs comes in the integration of strategies and tools that parents use as they play the games with their children.  While playing the games, not only are parents learning about the new standards, they’re also gaining strategies they can use to help their child in math.

The strategies and tools in our 4/5 Power Pack are:

  • Partial Products Multiplication
  • Partial Quotients Division
  • Distributive Property for single- and multi-digit multiplication
  • Front End Estimation
  • Fraction Bars
  • Multiplying Fractions on a Number Line
  • Rounding
  • Order of Operations
  • Standard Algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  • Multiplication Strategies for Multiples of 10


I’ve been using games from each of our Power Packs during my recent Family Math Night events with great success.  Participants learn to play some of the games at the event and then get to walk away with a Power Pack of their own to continue the learning at home.  Click here to get a pdf describing how to use the Power Packs at your Family Math Night event.

In addition to using the Packs at your Family Math Night event, they can also be used as take-home math packs in the classroom and as classroom math centers.

If you have any questions about our Power Packs, or any of our Family Math Night products, feel free to contact us.  Our number one goal is to help you host the best event of the school year.


Play-N-Take and Make-N-Take Logos

Play-N-Take and Make-N-Take Logos


Play-N-Take logo                         Make-N-Take logo

Our logos for our Family Math Night Take-Home kits are done!  A little behind schedule but all good things are worth the wait!

These Take-Home kits were designed to continue the learning at home! Here are the deets:

Send your families home with games they can play over and over. Used to supplement a Family Math Night event or use separately, these Take Home kits are a great way to engage parents in their child’s learning. We have two different kits to choose from.

Click the images above for even more details.


Family Math Night What Do You Notice? Poster

Family Math Night What Do You Notice? Poster

The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics is really emphasizing number lines in student work with numbers.  So I thought I’d include one on a What Do You Notice? Poster at last night’s Family Math Night event.  But in order to reflect both the primary and intermediate grades, not only did I include the counting numbers, but I marked the fourths, as well.

Some students noticed the color pattern I used – even numbers are blue and odd are red.  Then the half was yellow and so on.  I also put a little dot to mark the halfway point between 0 and 5 and a lot of students picked up on that.  No-one converted fractions to decimals but my favorite comment was from Kelsey who noticed that “there are 20/4 in all on the graph”.

what do you notice7