As the year draws to an end, especially after testing, it can become more challenging than ever to keep students on task and engaged. It’s that time of year when I feel I have to step it up a bit with the fun factor for my students. And a great way to introduce fun math lessons is by incorporating either food or sports. This posts shows an example of each, and my students loved them! The week before testing we finished our line plot unit (talk about rushing through a unit – wow). We ended on a lesson that my students absolutely loved.
Fun Math Lessons: Cake Research
We used cake recipes to create different line plots that show how much sugar and flour were in different cake recipes. I modeled the task by showing my absolute favorite cake recipe on Pioneer Woman. Ree, I bet you never thought fourth graders would be using your website for a math lesson!! I showed students how to find the ingredients in the cake, especially the flour and sugar. Students had to find ten or more different cake recipes and find how much sugar and flour was needed for each recipe.
Since we have Chromebooks, students were able to go online to find the recipes. If we didn’t have Chromebooks, I would have checked out some of our cookbooks from the school library. I found that allrecipes.com was an easy site for my students to navigate, because they could search cake recipes.
On the back of students’ recording sheets, they made a triple t-chart. On the t-chart, students wrote the name of each recipe, and how much sugar and flour was needed.
Students used that information to create two line plots that represent how much sugar and flour was in each cake. The most challenging part of the activity, was determining which numbers were necessary to include on the line plot.
Correction – the most challenging part of this activity was that after looking at delicious recipes online, we were all absolutely starving!
Fun Math Lessons: Sports Digital Worksheet
An activity my students enjoyed even more than the line plot activity was a Sports Math Google Classroom digital worksheet. At first glance, the activity looks like nothing more than a basic worksheet. And it can certainly be used that way!
What made this awesome for my students was that I included a link to a brief sports clip for each word problem. Students could click the link and actually see the event mentioned in the word problem. On the student edition, they don’t have the capability to change or remove the link – thank goodness! About half of my class had ear buds, so the noise level wasn’t too bad either.
My favorite clip was a super imposed video of Usain Bolt racing a cheetah. Several of my students thought it was a real race!! I also love Simone Bile’s floor routine. She is amazing!!! I included a few blasts from the past, as well as several modern day sporting events.
I also made sure to include a variety of sports to keep everyone’s interest. My students enjoyed it so much I’m already working on a Part 2 of this activity. Some of the word problems are a bit challenging. I designed them for my fourth graders, so they would definitely be useful in fifth grade. Possibly even for third grade, with a little guidance on a few of the decimal problems. If you’d like to use the Sports Math activity, you can click here to download it in Google Slides.
Living in the south, there are few things that spark more passion and excitement than college football. This passion definitely carries over to the classroom as well. In the fall, football is the one of the main topics of my students’ conversations and thoughts. Even if they know nothing about football, everyone has a favorite team, and a team that they just cannot stand. I’ve always had the philosophy of instead of trying to teach around this type of passion, find a way to use it to my advantage. Why not combine what they enjoy with what they need to learn? This thought lead to the creation of one of my newest products – College Football Math Task Cards.
I’ve created 24 addition and subtraction task cards and 24 multiplication and division task cards for a total of 48 task cards that all have a football theme. The word problems also represent 24 different college football teams, so hopefully your favorite team is included! I searched high and low for color combinations to reflect each of the teams, so each team has its own unique look. The first 24 cards are only addition and subtraction, because I’m sure I’ll have students who won’t be able to multiply and divide when I start using these cards. The second half of the cards are all multiplication and division word problems.