Additional Math Pages & Resources

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Spring Forward for Daylight Saving Time

On Sunday, March 8 Daylight Saving Time or DST begins once again. DST is often incorrectly referred to as "daylight savings time." Other countries call it “Summer Time.” When DST is not observed, we say we are observing "standard time," "normal time" or "winter time."

Unless you live in Hawaii, parts of Arizona, all of American Samoa, Guam, etc. you will be resetting your clocks this weekend, moving them ahead one hour (to 3:00) on Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. or before you go to bed Saturday night.

Standard time zones were introduced in the US and Canada by the railroads in 1883. Before this development, time in each local area was determined by the sun overhead at high noon method.

The 1918 Standard Time Act made time zones official.
Details of making it work were left to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which controlled train schedules. The bill also established DST.

Due to constant bickering and complaining, DST was repealed in 1919. It was re-established nationally during World War II, ending in September 1945. After the war, observance varied depending on where you lived.

The 1966 Uniform Time Act formalized a national DST beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and ending on the last Sunday in October. Responsibility was shifted to the Department of Transportation (trains, planes and buses).

During the "energy crisis of 1974," Congress temporarily set the starting days as January 6, 1974 and February 23, 1975, then DST reverted back to the last Sunday in April.

The 1986 Public Law 99-359 shifted the starting date to the first Sunday in April, 1987. The ending date remained the last Sunday in October.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act changed the starting date to the second Sunday in March and the ending date to the first Sunday in November.

The website gives a brief (but not complete) overview listing which countries and territories plan to observe DST this year.

You may want to have your students discuss the value of Daylight Saving Time and whether it actually helps us save time in the year 2015. They could list the pros and cons and then take a class vote to find out if it's worth keeping.

In Excel Math, students learn to tell time, calculate time across weeks and years, find time intervals on a number line and much more. Take a look at sample math lessons for Kindergarten through Grade 6 on our website:

Read more . . . 

Questions about Excel Math? Give us a call at 1-866-866-7026. When you call between the hours of 8:00 and 4:30 Monday through Friday (West Coast Time), a friendly person will answer the phone to help you.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Celebrate Pi Day in the Math Class

Next week we celebrate National Pi Day! On March 14 (3.1415926...) we recognize the never-ending number π with classroom celebrations, special events, food, song and rhyme

Pi Day is a holiday celebrating the mathematical constant, π. For 2015 the date includes the first 5 digits of Pi—3/14/15. If you hold your celebration at 9:26, you will have covered the first eight numerals: 3.1415926.

This year marks the twenty-seventh annual Pi Day. On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day. 

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is always the same number, no matter what size circle you use to compute it.

You might want to plan a Pi Day celebration for your students to help them remember this special number. They could write their own songs and poems, see how much of the number Pi they can recall, draw pictures of what comes to mind when they hear the word infinity, solve a Pi-related brainteaser, and enjoy some Pi-related snacks.

You could even hold a school-wide Pi-athalon at 9:26 where you have students ride tricycles, eat pie, recite the digits in pi, solve pi-related brainteasers, etc.

Read more ideas . . .
Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Celebrate Read Across America with Math

March 2, 2015 is Read Across America Day or Dr. Seuss Day. This year the book being read across America is the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You'll Go. After reading it to your class, let your students write their own story (or poem) in a similar Seuss style or summarize the book or set some of the lines to music.

You can read more about Dr. Seuss and download posters, visuals and certificates for Read Across America Day from the NEA website:

You can also get activity ideas and event suggestions for Read Across America Day. You may want to celebrate reading and books (especially those by Dr. Seuss) all week just you can try out a variety of reading and literacy activities with your students.

The Hats Off to Reading Educator's Guide gives some fun teaching ideas and creative suggestions for celebrating Dr. Seuss in the classroom.

After reading The Lorax together, you could challenge your students to come up with some ways to conserve natural resources, recycle, reuse and reduce waste.

Help your students tidy up their desks and work areas after reading The Cat in the Hat. Let your students make posters encouraging their classmates to pick up after themselves, recycle paper and aluminum, and conserve water and energy at home as well as at school.

You may want to ask your students to share their favorite Dr. Seuss books or characters, write their own poems, stories or songs, make up their own colorful Seuss-style character, and then share their creations with others.
Excel Math merges math with literacy using frequent word problems plus longer story problems and Create A Problem exercises that let students write and solve their own word problems.

What do you do to encourage reading and literacy in your classroom? Share your ideas in the Comments box below.

Read more . . . 

Questions about Excel Math?Give us a call at 1-866-866-7026. When you call between the hours of 8:00 and 4:30 Monday through Friday (West Coast Time), a friendly person will answer the phone to help you.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Number Line Addition in the Math Classroom

Using number lines in the math classroom can help your students visualize math concepts and learn some new problem-solving techniques.

Here's a simple number line showing the numbers 0 to 20 from Excel Math.

Draw this number line from 0 to 20 on your white board or post it on your wall.

Also use masking tape to create this number line on your class floor.

Your students can stand on a life-size number line to show greater than and less than.

Choose a number and ask a student to stand on it on the floor number line. Have another student circle the number on the white board.

While the first student remain on his number, choose a new number and ask a second student to stand on it.

Excel Math Number Line with Half Inch Increments
Have the remaining students show you which number is smaller by using their fingers to make a "greater than" or "less than" sign.

(Have them form a peace sign or V with two fingers and then turn it sideways so the point of the V points to the smaller number.)

If your students are learning fractions, next use the half inch number line shown at right.

You can download a free Number Line worksheet from the Downloads section of our website and give one to each student.

Read more . . .

Questions about Excel Math?
Give us a call at 1-866-866-7026. When you call between the hours of 8:00 and 4:30 Monday through Friday (West Coast Time), a friendly person will answer the phone to help you.

You might also like these articles:

Ten Tax Tips for Educators

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chinese New Year: Goats in the Math Class

The Chinese New Year, year 4713, begins on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Say goodbye to the  Year of the Wood Horse; this marks the year of the sheep (or goat or ram). Here's a picture of sheep and goats grazing in a field.

Thursday is a new moon day, and is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year." We've compiled some fun ways to celebrate this festival in your math class.

According to Chinese astrology, each lunar year is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. This year is the eighth animal. 

It is a Chinese custom to give out red envelopes with lucky money called ‘lai see’ as a blessing during Chinese New Year. Keeping to this tradition, visitors arriving in Hong Kong will be given red packets containing coupons at the airport throughout the first seven days of the Chinese New Year (19-25 February).

Bright red lanterns (and red decorations similar to those shown at right) adorn many cities during the Chinese New Year.

In Excel Math, we help build confident, successful math students. Here's a question about China's population from our Grade 5 Excel Math Guided Practice 95. Which answer would you choose?

In 1950, the population of China was 562,580,000 and
in 1990 it was 1,138,895,000. Which choice is the closest to the increase in China's population between 1950 and 1990?
a. 5 billion
b. 60 billion
c. 500 million
Chinese New Year's Eve is a day of family reunions. Your students could each create a family scrapbook (print or online or both) complete with photos, stories, and a family tree. Talk about some of the things that were not yet invented when their grandparents and great-grandparents were born.
Let your students bring Chinese food, clothing, toys, money and other objects to display. Show pictures of China—the land and its people while listening to Chinese music and trying some Chinese food. If you know someone who has lived in China, have them visit your class and share some of their experiences with your students.

Traditionally, people celebrate the Chinese New Year for 15 days, ending with the Chinese Lantern Festival. Make paper lanterns to hang around your classroom. You'll find directions for making colorful paper lanterns at Enchanted Learning. Continue your own classroom celebration through March 5, if you like.
Lantern hanging from a cherry tree
How do you help your students learn about other cultures and holidays? Leave a comment in the box below with your suggestions.

New to Excel Math? Take a look at our proven mathematics curriculum for elementary students at and request your free samples. We have three versions available:

Texas Edition
Common Core Edition
Standard Edition 
Download sample lessons. Then take a quick tour of Excel Math at

Read more . . .

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

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Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bulletin Board Ideas: Snowflake Math Facts

Snowflake Math Bulletin Board
Let your students help decorate your classroom for winter while learning their math facts with this snowy bulletin board idea from Excel Math.

Even if you don't have an actual bulletin board, your math classroom can come alive with creative wall decorations that encourage your students to do basic math facts. Cover your bulletin board or wall with black, silver or blue sparkly paper (or fabric), if you wish. Label the board: "Snowflake Math" or "It's Snowing Math Facts!"

Snowflake Pattern
Give each student a square of paper. Also provide scissors, tape, and ribbon or yarn. (For more durable snowflakes, provide white dessert-size paper plates of the flimsy variety instead of sheets of paper.)

Have your students fold the papers or paper plates into triangle shapes, trim the wide, non-folded end of each triangle so it curves (similar to an ice-cream cone), and then make several small cuts or openings into the triangle, without cutting it in half. (Provide clear tape for mistakes.)
Hanging Snowflake

Read more . . .

Excel Math Teacher Editions are available in three versions: Texas Edition, Common Core, and  Standard Edition. Take a look at the options here.

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.