Fun Math Game

One way that I try to reach my boys and spark their interest in learning is by incorporating fun games into our lessons.  Here's a great game that will help reinforce addition and decimals:


Make a Buck

Fourth Grade Math Activities: Make a Buck

What You Need:

  • Deck of cards
  • Scratch paper
  • Pencil
  • 2 or more players

What You Do:

  1. Announce the values of the cards. Cards with the values 3-10 have cent values equivalent to their numbers (threes = $0.03, fours = $0.04 etc.). The remaining cards have the following values: Twos = $0.20 (2 cents), Jacks = $0.15, Queens = $0.20, Kings = $0.25, and Aces = $0.50.
  2. Ask one player to shuffle the playing cards and deal 5 cards face down to each player. The rest of the cards should be placed face down in a pile in the center of the table.
  3. Players pick up their cards and keep them private so no other players can see what they are holding.
  4. Encourage players to add up the sum of their cards. If no one has $1.00, keep playing.
  5. Each player should take a turn drawing a card from the deck in the center of the table, and discarding one of their cards face up in a discard pile.
  6. Continue playing until the first player has $1.00 in their hand, or the deck runs out.
  7. The player who gets $1.00 first wins! If nobody has won and the deck has run out, whoever is closest to $1.00 is the winner.
This activity comes from and you can check out more fun resources here:

Happy Gaming!

Why You Need to Make Time for Fractions

We recently completed a unit on fractions and my oldest kiddo had done really well with identifying, comparing, and writing fractions.  In fact, he told me that he was ready to move on from fractions. Well the beauty of homeschool is that we could just totally move on!  But when I thought for a minute, I suddenly thought of a way to stretch his thinking in regards to fractions a bit.  I knew that he could pretty easily identify that thirty minutes was one half of an hour and even that a quarter of an hour was fifteen minutes. But would he recognize that one-sixth of an hour was ten minutes?  Or that five-sixths was fifty minutes?  We were about to find out.  I sent him to play for a few minutes so I could print out some clocks.  (Plus, it gave his little brain a break, which is so important!)

Then we set out to do a little exploration!  He cut out the clocks, partitioned circles into equal parts, and discovered different fractions of time.  It definitely caused him to think a bit.  Could he partition the clock into six equal parts?  Twelve equal parts?

Out of this spur of the moment lesson, it made me remember a few important things!  Making connections between concepts truly strengthens learning.  By integrating time and fractions, my kiddo now has a better and deeper understanding of these concepts.  Rather than seeing these skills in isolation, he saw how they worked fluidly.  Isn't that what we want for our students?  Isn't that more realistic in terms of how we learn in life anyway?

Plus, by focusing on time and fractions, learning had become more authentic and meaningful for him. And authenticity and meaning help lead the brain to better remember information!  I don't know about you but I need to do all I can to help strengthen my little learners' neural pathways!!

One more reason that combining these math skills was a good ideas is that the idea of a challenge was very motivating for him.  Earlier he in our day he stated that he knew everything about fractions.  By stretching his cognitive abilities a bit, he was excited to continue focusing on the topic.  Presenting children with a problem or question and allowing them to explore the answer or test and retest ideas is always highly stimulating for kiddos.

So in order to allow your students to connect time and fractions, I've created a little freebie that you can grab by clicking on the picture above.  I've created it to be a guided exploration but you could certainly make it very open ended and have your students come to some conclusions on their own about fractions.  And you could extend it to discuss even smaller fractions, such as 1/20 or 1/60.  

I'd love to hear how what fun things you do to teach fraction and/or time.  Have you ever integrated these skills?  If you did, what did you do and how did you see the benefits in your students?


Earth Day Fun

Earth Day originated on April 22, 1970 as a demonstration led by Gaylord Nelson with a call to action for Americans to begin paying attention to the environment.  People around the world continue to celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22 and I'm sure that you'll be leading your students or children in some activities to help them become more environmentally aware.

As I was planning Earth Day activities for us to do in homeschool, I first reflected on why I choose to celebrate Earth Day with my kiddos.  The main reason goes back to the creation of this earth.  God created this earth as our temporary home and I want to be a good steward and care for it as best as I can.

Plus these two guys (and their little sis) LOVE to be outside!  I want to pass on to them a desire to appreciate the beauty of nature and to instill in them habits that will help them best care for our earth. I plan to build environmental awareness in developmentally appropriate ways.

During the planning process, I came across Earth Day Network.  This website shares that this year's focus for Earth Day is Environmental and Climate Literacy.  There is a free toolkit that you can download that includes integrated and web-based activities to help you teach your students about climate change.  If you click the logo below, it will take you to the toolkit.

In addition to some of the activities from the Earth Day Network Toolkit, we'll do plenty of reading about topics like the Three R's:  Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. A great nonfiction book to read to your kids is called Let's Find Out About Recycling by Dr. Mike Goldsmith.  In addition to great content, there are lots of text features that you can use to reinforce expository text structure.

Another thing we'll do, which is super simple, but my kids will love is to plant some flowers and some veggies.  Planting flowers will give us opportunities to talk about the benefits of plants to our environment and about how they remove pollutants from the air.  We are also going to plant a few vegetables in container gardens.  They love caring for the vegetables, watching them grow, and enjoying the harvest when they time comes.

I've got a few more projects planned for Earth Day that I'll share with you later but I want to leave you with a freebie that you can use with your own students.  Yay!!   My We Heart Earth Day Freebies pack includes a short reading selection (Lexile 700) that focuses on the 3 R's.  There is an accompanying worksheet that has students identify the definitions of three vocabulary words and two comprehension questions to check for understanding.  This would be a great morning work activity or just a supplement to any of your Earth Day learning.  In addition to the comprehension selection, there is a poster that you can print for your kiddos to complete where they can illustrate and write about ways they plan to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

If you'd like to have this freebie, just click on the picture below to grab it from my TPT store.

How are you planning to celebrate Earth Day?  What resources will you use with your kiddos?  I'd love to hear from you!
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