Friday, June 10, 2016

It's summer!

Dear Parents,
Free Summer Clipart Illustration Of A Happy Smiling Sun 
Your middle schooler has already had his or her first day off.  I am sure that there has been a lot of hanging out today.

While everyone should enjoy their vacations, it is good to be thinking about the ideas and skills that have been learned in classes.  You can help out.  Even if you feel uncomfortable with middle school math, there is so much that you can do. 

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.  At the end, I have put some internet links that you may find useful.

A key point to remember is that the things you do together should be natural.  Look at “problems” as you see or use them.  Don’t make up artificial situations just to “challenge” your children.  It is also important to listen to your children’s thinking.  It may not be the same as yours, but see if it makes sense.  Finally, don’t try to take advantage of every situation.  You don’t want them to feel as if doing something with mom or dad will always means a math lesson!

Point out to your middle schooler how math is being used all around you.  Talk about it, explain how you are using it, and ask for your children’s help in different situations.

Traveling:  There is plenty to do while on the road.  Your children can keep track of expenses and distances traveled.  They can read maps and schedules and make basic conversions for currency.  Use and explain estimation skills.  Get some math puzzles or apps (logic, number, patterns, etc.) for long flights or road trips.

Shopping:  There is a whole world of opportunity in a supermarket.  Figure out what the costs of certain items will be if you buy six (or however many you need) of a particular item.  Estimate how many cans are on a shelf.  Explain how you decide which product is a better buy.

Sports:  Track a favorite team or player’s statistics. The Olympics in Rio will start on August 5.  There are plenty of statistics to keep track of while you cheer on your country!

Take a trip to a museum, observatory, or library. 

Critical thinking, even if not directly math-related, is a good thing. Expose your son or daughter to lots of interesting new ideas to think about.

All children can benefit from being involved with cooking.  Measuring and comparing skills get a good workout.  For some students, it will be good practical reading practice, too! 

Weather.  Keep track of the weather.  Compare the weather where you are spending the summer with what is happening in Tashkent.  Make a graph or chart of highs and lows or rainfall.  Compare to the averages.

Also, all children can benefit from strategy games like Battleship and Score-Four.  You can get them as board games or as apps. 

I have not emphasized math drills and computation practice.  Computation is just one (important) part of math.  However, if you or your child sense that skills are not where they should be, then do practice.  All students at this point should know the basic facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—quickly and correctly.  If multiplication is a problem, see my earlier posting with good links for practice.

Finally, your children’s IXL accounts will still be open for the summer, so encourage them to visit the site periodically.

I have enjoyed working with your children this year.  

Have a great summer!

Mr. Hughes

Some sites to check out… This gives parents a pdf file of a booklet put out by the US Department of Education.  It contains a number of activities that are appropriate for students of all ages.  At the end of it are some well-known books with math themes and ideas.  You may want to add those to your shopping lists or look for them in a public library. There are a number of games and activities put up by the BBC.  They are organized by levels based on the UK system.  Middle schoolers would be in KS3.  This is a great site for families to work on together. This is a commercial site that will allow you to print off five free logic puzzles that use computation.  You will need to register (free).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Message for parents

The end of the school year is just about here.  It is a matter of days!  Report cards are scheduled to go out tomorrow.  I would like to remind you that this report will only have grades for the courses and criteria.   There will be no comments from the teachers or scores for the ATLs.

If you need a refresher on how the MYP grading works, you can look in your child’s Planner or for a more specific explanation of math, check the January 28 entry on this blog.

Later in the week, I will post some ideas of things that you and your middle schooler can do mathematically over the summer.  Also, note that students will be able to access their IXL accounts through the summer.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Grade 7: Tree diagrams

We have been using tree diagrams to keep track of all possibilities when given a situation.  Here are a few links for those who still have questions.  You will need to understand these ideas for Friday’s Investigation. 

Here is a basic explanation.  Try the question at the end about colored balls in the bag.  You might also want to try this problem:

Here is an introduction to tree diagrams.

Here is another introduction

YouTube.  Here are a couple video clips.  Both are pretty clear.  The second teacher does not start with all of the branches connected (I don’t know why), but don’t let that confuse you.  He has a practice problem at the end for you to try.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Math text books

All students were issued a math text book at the start of the year.  The books now need to be returned so that inventorying can take place and so that if any books been lost or damaged, students have the chance to make payments.

6I will need to have their books in school on Thursday, May 26.
6T, 7T, and 7I will need to have their books in school on Friday, May 27.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Grade 7: Fun and games (and some learning)

Today we played The Two-Dice Game.  The more games that were played, the more seventh graders began to see that there was something happening with how the dice were landing.  Next week, we’ll figure out what the probabilities really were.