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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? poster – Number Grid Puzzle

What Do You Notice? poster – Number Grid Puzzle

I hosted my first Family Math Night event of the school year last week. I had 33 student station facilitators – the most ever! It’s so exciting when kids volunteer to spend an evening doing math.

I also had a new What Do You Notice? poster. Here’s the skinny…

Title: Number Grid Pattern

K-2: number recognition, pattern
3-5: pattern, addition

Background Information: My youngest son visited the Basilica Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona, Spain and brought this pattern back for me as a gift. Here’s a photo of his gift: (And before you read the next paragraph where I describe the main pattern, you may want to discover your own patterns first.)

Having done a lot of these types of puzzles, it didn’t take me long to figure out the all rows, columns, and diagonals add to 33. It just so happens that 33 was the age of Jesus when he died.

The second and third columns are interesting. Notice how they both have the numbers ’14’ and ’10’. The second column includes ‘7’ and ‘2’. The third column includes ‘6’ which is one less than ‘7’ and ‘3’ which is one more than ‘2’. Number sense tells us that both columns, therefore, should add to the same number – which they do.

Younger students can focus on number recognition, repeated numbers, finding the number that represents their age, etc.

Here’s what it looked like at the event:

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.