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Family Math Night Project Series: Bug Box

Family Math Night Project Series: Bug Box

I’m very excited to share with you our newest Family Math Night product line designed around hands-on projects in math. We’re calling it our Project Series and the first one, just released, is Project: Bug Box.

Here’s how we describe it on the website:

Hands-on and super fun, this Family Math Night Bug Box station will get the creative juices flowing! Participants choose one of their favorite (plastic!) bugs and use 2- and 3-dimensional geometry along with number skills to create a rectangular prism. Participants will walk away with a custom designed box for their bug which they get to bring home and share with others.

It’s the perfect STEAM Station!

The idea behind our Project Series is to get participants involved in math in a fun way that results in a project they get to take home. These projects are designed to take 20-30 minutes to complete and are the perfect complement to our Family Math Night kits.

Here’s what it looked like at several recent events:


What Do You Notice? poster – Crossed Lines

What Do You Notice? poster – Crossed Lines

Here’s my latest What Do You Notice? poster.  All you need is inch graph paper, a black sharpie, and small circular stickers (or two different colored sharpie pens to draw in the circles).

Title:  Crossed Lines
K-2:  colors, counting, even/odd numbers

3-5:  multiplication, even/odd numbers, multiples of 3, square numbers

Background Information
Crossed lines is an easy strategy for learning multiplication facts.  The horizontal and vertical lines represent the factors in the multiplication problem.  For example, in the problem 4 x 3, students would draw 4 horizontal lines and then intersect them with 3 vertical lines as is shown in the last example above.  The intersection of the lines is the answer to the problem.  So for 4 x 3, there would be 12 intersections.

To make the strategy more visible, I used colored dots to highlight the intersections.  I was deliberate in the colors I chose.  The green dots represent an even product and the pink dots represent an odd product.  Notice how all the products are multiples of 3.  At a higher level, older students may notice that 3 x 3 makes a square and 9 is a square number.

Here’s what it looked like at the event:

What Do You Notice? Descriptions

What Do You Notice? Descriptions

It’s been on my TO DO list for a long time.  Years, in fact.  But I’ve finally checked it off and I’m thrilled with the results.

As many of you know, for each of my Family Math Night events I include a What Do You Notice? poster.  These posters are designed to get kids and parents thinking about math on a deeper level.  Although each poster has been included on our website, there has never been details…until now.  I’ve taken each of the posters and written a thorough description of the math involved.  I’ve also included the specific skills by grade span, K-2 and 3-5, and given several examples of student responses.

Here’s an example:

What Do You Notice? Rectangular Arrays


Primary students (K-2): shapes, counting, repeated addition, area

Intermediate students (3-5): classifying quadrilaterals, area model of multiplication, multiplication, prime, composite, and square numbers

Mathematical Background
For this one, I represented each number as a rectangular array. I also color-coded the arrays hoping that students would notice the relationship between the colors and the arrays that went with them. Notice how the orange arrays are square numbers. The red arrays are our prime numbers. Then I used blue for arrays that were non-square and had a length of two. Purple was non-square with a length of three.

I was also hoping that students would notice that some numbers were represented by more than one array (composite numbers). Prime numbers had only one array. Note: ‘1’ is not a prime number which is why I colored it orange – the color of the square numbers.

This activity does a nice job of visually reinforcing the area model of multiplication: L x W = A

Sample Student Responses

“The long grid before the square and/or rectangle grid(s) have the same number of blocks.”
“None of them are the same.”
“There is a color pattern.”
“Some numbers are on there more than once.”

The idea is to make it easier for you to include these posters at your events.  But it’s not just limited to Family Math Night events.  Teachers have written me about how they include them in their classroom learning and some are even displaying them in the school hallways to give students something to think about as they walk the halls.

However you decide to use them, I know they’ll help your students explore math in new and exciting ways.

Family Math Night Make-N-Take Kit

Family Math Night Make-N-Take Kit


We all know that when parents get involved in their child’s education, student learning increases.  What better way to get parents actively involved in important skills than through fun and engaging games that reinforce classroom learning?  That’s the idea behind the newest addition to our Family Math Night kit series:  Make-N-Take Station Kit.

Designed to give students practice in important number skills, our Make-N-Take Kit is the perfect way to make sure your K-5 students continue the learning at home.

Similar to our Play-N-Take Station Kit, families will go home with game boards and the game pieces needed to play the games over and over.  And all games come INDIVIDUALLY packaged saving you a lot of time and effort!

What’s fun and unique about our Make-N-Take Kit is that families play a role in making their game boards and game pieces!  They love that!  And teachers and parents love the extra skills practice kids will receive in a fun and creative way – all aligned to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.

I invite you to check out this short video where I describe the kit contents and the mathematical learning involved.  As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.  Our number one priority is to help you host a fun and successful event.


Beginning Level

Balloon Bunch Capture and Go 4 the Win reinforce beginning place value, addition and subtraction to 20, and making a 10.CCSSM:  K.NBT.A.1; K.OA.A.1; K.OA.A.2; K.OA.A.4; K.OA.A.5; 1.OA.A.1; 1.OA.B.4; 1.OA.C.5; 1.OA.C.6; 1.NBT.B.2

Intermediate Level

Place Value Shuffle and Number Shuffle reinforce place value to the hundreds place, greater than/less than, even/odd numbers, and basic addition and subtraction skills.CCSSM:  2.NBT.A.1; 2.NBT.A.3; 2.NBT.A.4; 2.OA.B.2

Advanced level

Number Shuffle and Cake Walk reinforce place value to the hundreds place, even/odd numbers, multiples, factors, prime and composite numbers, 1- and 2-digit multiplication, division facts, and fractions on a number line.CCSSM:  4.OA.B.4; 4.NBT.A.1; 4.NBT.A.2; 4.NBT.A.3;4.NBT.B.5; 4.NBT.B.6; 4.NF.A.1; 4.NF.A.2; 4.NF.B.3; 5.NBT.A.1


Hunting for Buried Treasure: Angles and Angle Measurement

Hunting for Buried Treasure: Angles and Angle Measurement

Aye, matey, it’s time to hunt for buried treasure. In this fun and creative activity, students will be designing their very own treasure map. As they design their map and hide their treasure, students will get plenty of practice using a protractor while reinforcing mathematical vocabulary such as acute, obtuse, and right angles, parallel and perpendicular lines.

Tying in social studies and writing skills, students will be using a compass rose to write directions in order for their classmates to find their buried treasure.

This activity is designed to be completed over 3 days and makes a great bulletin board when done!

Bring out the mathematical AND creative juices in your students and let the treasure hunt begin!

Click here for more information and to order the lesson.

4.MD.C.5 Recognize angles as geometric shapes that are formed wherever two rays share a common endpoint, and understand concepts of angle measurement.

4.MD.C.5a An angle is measured with reference to a circle with its center at the common endpoint of the rays, by considering the fraction of the circular arc between the points where the two rays intersect the circle. An angle that turns through 1/360 of a circle is called a “one-degree angle,” and can be used to measure angles.

4.MD.C.5b An angle that turns through n one-degree angles is said to have an angle measure of n degrees.

4.MD.C.6 Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Sketch angles of specified measure.

4.G.A.1 Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.

4.G.A.2 Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.