## Friday, December 20, 2013

### 100 Years of Crossword Puzzles

Saturday marks the 100th birthday of the crossword puzzle! The first one was created in 1913 and we've been enjoying them (or struggling over them) ever since.

Excel Math lessons have been helping students succeed for over 35 years. Take a look at samples on our website.

Then read a special holiday greeting from the president and owner of Excel Math.

Read more about the history of the crossword puzzle from Smithsonian Magazine. And take a look at today's clever Google Doodle in honor of this auspicious occasion and the inventor of the crossword puzzle,  Arthur Wynne. Click on the doodle and the puzzle expands to let you highlight the clues along with the corresponding puzzle boxes. Simply start typing and the highlighted boxes fill with your letters.

If you'd like to give your students some crosswords listed by topic, The New York Times Learning Network adds a new puzzle twice each month. These are edited by the Times puzzle master  Will Shortz. You can print the puzzles for your students or let them solve the crosswords online (if your browser supports Java). Here's a link to one on money: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/xwords/19990101.html

You may want to have your students create their own puzzles in the new year. The puzzles can reflect on the past year, review vocabulary words, or anticipate the year to come. Give each student a piece of graph paper. Give the class a word to start with (year, math, vocabulary, new, etc.) or have each student come up a word and print one letter per square reading up or down. Have the students connect a new word with the first one. It may help to keep a separate list of words as they are used.

Make sure connecting letters also form a word. When done, have the students shade the unused squares in the grid. Help them number the spaces so the first letter of each word (across and down) has a number. Then let the students create a fill-in-the blank, a definition or question for each word used and print these on the bottom half of a piece of blank graph paper. Number the clues to match the words in the crossword puzzle.

Finally, have the students copy the numbered grid (without the letters) onto the top half of the graph paper with clues. Copy the student crossword puzzles and hand them out as bell work or extra credit throughout the rest of the year.

You may want to try creating your own puzzle for the holidays and then try it out with family and friends. Enjoy!

Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

## Wednesday, December 11, 2013

### Math Bulletin Boards: Let It Snow!

 Let It Snow! Excel Math Bulletin Board
Get your classroom ready for winter and the new year with these snowy bulletin board ideas from Excel Math. Even if you don't have an actual bulletin board, your math classroom can celebrate the season with creative wall decorations that encourage your students to do basic math facts.

Use the snowflake patterns to create basic fact problems appropriate for your students.

These can include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division operations.

For older students you can include a review of these basic operations as well as fractions, decimals, adding angles, finding equivalent fractions and problems with money.

Let your students add more math problems (one per snowflake), cut out the patterns, and use ribbon or colorful yarn to hang the snowflakes from your classroom windows and doors. Your students can add glitter glue for a sparkling effect.
 Snowflake Pattern

For a 3-dimensional look, hang the snowflakes from your ceiling so they dangle in front of your winter bulletin board at varying heights and depths.

After students solve the math problems, they can take home the snowflakes and use them as flashcards to review their basic math facts as well as to decorate their holiday gift packages.

 Snowflake Math Pattern Page

Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

## Monday, December 9, 2013

### Winter Bulletin Boards for the Math Class

 December Excel Math Bulletin Board
Spruce up your classroom for the holidays and the new year with these fun bulletin board ideas from Excel Math. Even if you don't have an actual bulletin board, your math classroom can come alive with creative decorations that encourage your students to do basic math facts.

Simply cover a large area on your wall with colored paper or festive red wrapping paper. Add a holiday border (or a plain scalloped green border to which your students can add handmade snowflakes). Use blue and white for Hanukkah colors or red, black and green for Kwaanza.

Use the gift tags to create basic fact problems appropriate for your students. Let your students add more math problems (one per gift tag), cut out the tags, and use ribbon or colorful yarn to hang the tags from your classroom windows and doors.

After students solve the problems, they can take home the gift tags and use them as flashcards to review their basic math facts as well as to decorate their holiday gift packages.

Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

## Monday, December 2, 2013

Yesterday marked the first day of December. Sounds like it's time to bring out the holiday recipes and work a little math magic.

Here are some fun cookies in various holiday shapes that your students can decorate while doing some holiday math. For the Santas, you can use any sugar cookie recipe you have on hand. Make the cookies into round shapes and bake. (Slice and bake refrigerator cookies work well, too.)

Let the cookies cool, then frost half of each cookie with red frosting and the other half with white. Add coconut to cover the white frosting, if you wish.

Use chocolate chips for eyes, placed just at the top of  the white frosting. Add a red cinnamon candy for a small mouth in the middle of the coconut. A mini marshmallow becomes the pom-pom on Santa's hat.

Give each of your students a Santa or gingerbread boy cookie and let the students decorate the cookies with frosting. Then they can add chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, cinnamon candies, small gumdrops, and other colorful decorations. While they decorate the cookies, give them the following word problem:

Sandi is decorating gingerbread boy cookies. For each cookie she uses two chocolate chips for eyes, one cinnamon candy for a mouth, and three small gumdrops for buttons. If Sandi makes 2 dozen cookies, how many gumdrops will she need? (72) How many chocolate chips? (48) How many cinnamon candies? (24)

Have volunteers show their solutions on the board. Talk about various ways to solve the problems. For example, you could solve for cinnamon candies first, since that's the smallest number and then multiply that number by 2 for chocolate chips and by 3 for gumdrops. Or, once you have the number of chocolate chips and cinnamon candies needed, you could simply add those two numbers together to find the total number of gumdrops needed.

Provide plastic snack bags if your students will take their cookies home. Or provide napkins and water if they will eat the cookies in class. (Make sure no one is allergic to the ingredients.)

If you have the time and equipment available, let your students make a variety of cookies or pies to share with a local senior center, soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

Bring in one of your favorite holiday recipes and have your students double or triple it. Then have them create a shopping list and price each ingredient. After the students calculate the cost to make the recipe, ask them to find the unit cost. For example, if the ingredients for 4 dozen cookies cost \$9.50, what would be the cost per cookie? (40¢)

If they hold a bake sale and sell all 4 dozen cookies, what will they need to charge per cookie to make a profit of \$10.00? What will they need to charge per dozen cookies? Could they make 8 dozen cookies with the ingredients they purchased? What would be the cost per cookie if they make 8 dozen cookies? (20¢) What would they need to charge per cookie to make \$10.00 in profit?

Excel Math is designed to combine math worksheets with hands-on activities and active learning. Our unique spiraling process helps students retain the math concepts for the long term.

Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

## Thursday, November 28, 2013

### Fostering an Attitude of Gratitude

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. A perfect time to help your students reflect on those people they are thankful to know. Let your students brainstorm about the influential people in their lives (parents, teachers, neighbors, relatives, a special coach or tutor, a pastor or rabbi, a club advisor or counselor, etc.).

The list could go on and on. Have the class share some of the words they would use to describe these people who are important to them. Let volunteers print some of these descriptor words on the board.
As the holidays get in to full swing, encourage each student to write a brief note of appreciation and gratitude to one or more of the people who have had an impact on his or her life. Use one of these card patterns or let each student create a unique design with cardboard, colored paper, paint, nature items or stickers.

For a 3-D look, have your students cut out the small card patterns and stick them on the front or inside of the card backed with a piece of thick tape or glued to a small piece of sponge.

Here are a few more activities to help your students practice showing an attitude of gratitude, even in the midst of the holiday frenzy.

Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

If you have some special activities you use to foster an attitude of gratitude in your students, we'd love to hear about them! Leave a comment in the box below (click on the word Comment) to tell us more.

## Tuesday, November 26, 2013

### 5 Fun Ways to Add Fractions

When students begin learning about fractions, confusion can easily set in. At times it may seem that a thick fog over your classroom has screened out any rational thinking and logic has simply flown out the window.

Here are five activities from Excel Math to bring some clarity back to your students and help them get a solid start on the fraction track.

What is our No. 1 suggestion for teaching students to add fractions?

1. Use manipulatives and visuals including counters, fraction pieces, drawings, paper and scissors, tile and flooring, a school or community garden, fruit, snacks classroom tables, and even your classroom or storage closet. Give your students hands-on experiences with breaking apart wholes into fractional parts and putting the parts together again. Here's one idea.

Give each pair of students a pack of blank 4 x 6-inch index cards. Let the students work in pairs to discover how many cards it takes to cover a desk when the cards are touching but not overlapping, with no gaps between them. Then ask the class to calculate how many cards would be needed to cover 1/4 of the desk, 1/2 of the desk, 1/3 of the desk, etc.

Excel Math is designed to combine math worksheets with hands-on activities and active learning. Our unique spiraling process helps students retain the math concepts for the long term.

Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

If you have some special activities you use to introduce fractions to your students, we'd love to hear them! Leave a comment in the box below to tell us about them.

## Saturday, November 23, 2013

### Fibonacci Day Math 11-23

Happy Fibonacci Day!

Mathematicians celebrate Fibonacci Day on November 23 or 11/23, which are the first four numbers in the Fibonacci sequence shown below.

The Fibonacci Series is a sequence of numbers first created by Leonardo Fibonacci (born in Pisa, Italy) in 1202 and introduced in his writing, Liber abaci.

In this work he introduced the Latin-speaking world to the decimal number system. Later this sequence of numbers was named the Fibonacci sequence in his honor.

The Fibonacci series begins with 0 or 1. After that, use the simple rule: Add the last two numbers to get the next number in the sequence. See the series in action at thinkquest.org.

This is readily translatable into the following set of equations [Liber abaci 3, p4]:
• 1 = 1²
• 1 + 3 = 2²
• 1 + 3 + 5 = 3²
• 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 4²
and suggests the general formula:
• 1 + 3 + ... + (2n-1) = n²
From this number statement come the famous Fibonacci numbers:
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987, ...

where the first two numbers of the series are 1 and 1 and each number afterward is defined as the sum of the two previous terms, Fn = Fn - 2 + Fn - 1
In Fibonacci's sequence the first number was 1 and the second number was two, the first one was assumed. Read more on our previous blog post, Fibonacci's Spiral and Excel Math

Excel Math also uses a unique spiraling system, similar to that found in the nautilus shell (pictured) to help students retain math concepts over the long term.  \This unique spiraling strategy introduces new math concepts to students while reviewing previously-taught concepts.

Spiraling the math concepts gives students the opportunity to master the old through spaced repetition, while being challenged with the new. Once a concept is introduced, it literally stays in front of the students for the rest of the school year.
 Excel Math Spiraling Process for math lessons that really work!
This spiraling strategy of repeating concepts at regular intervals throughout the curriculum is an integral part of Excel Math.
"Excel Math allowed me to effectively teach math at two grade levels...without it I don't know how I would have hit all standards and provided the review and practice the students required to succeed.Excel Math provides a solid framework, allowing the teacher to put their own flavor and flare into each lesson or concept. I love Excel Math...it has helped me become a stronger math teacher, and I KNOW it has increased my students' confidence in math (and their test scores!)."
—Anne Evans, Teacher in Idaho

Read more about what teachers, parents and principals around the country are saying about how their students begin to develop a love for math.
Students aren't tested on a subject until they've had multiple chances to succeed in Guided Practice and Homework. Here's a visual road map explaining this spiraling strategy. Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. Download correlations here.

This year, Fibonacci Day falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. From everyone at Excel Math, Happy Fibonacci Day!

Read more about Fibonacci, Roman numerals, spiraling and the decimal system on our previous blog posts:
Fibonacci—810 Years of Mathematical Magic
Celebrating Fibonacci Day
Fibonacci's Spiral and Excel Math

## Friday, November 22, 2013

### Counting All Coins: Kennedy Half Dollars

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy. When our much-loved 35th president was assassinated on November 22, 1963, our nation was deeply saddened and shocked.

The fact that it happened during a motorcade in Dallas as crowds lined the streets and others watched the televised broadcast added to the turmoil and grief.

There was such strong public sentiment that Congress made a special law to commemorate President Kennedy on a coin—the half-dollar.

In February 1964, the first Kennedy half-dollars were struck.

In Excel Math, we teach students how to add dollars, half dollar and coins and make sense of monetary calculations. Pictured below is a Guided Practice page from the Excel Math Second Grade Teacher's Edition.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade: www.excelmath.com/tour/tour01.html

Remember, Excel Math lessons are much more than just worksheets. Using strategically placed spaced repetition, Excel Math gives you a proven approach to teach math concepts for long-term retention, with powerful features including our unique Spiraling Strategy and CheckAnswer systemRead more about Excel Math and try a sample lesson.

## Wednesday, November 20, 2013

### Those Fantastic Fractional Parts

Here are some fun activities to help your students partition circles and rectangles into equal shares. In the process younger students will describe the shares using the words halves and fourths or quarters.

Older students will divide objects into smaller shares using the words thirds and a third of, and eventually using smaller and smaller fractional parts.

For each student provide scissors, 2 graham crackers, 2 round crackers, a letter-size piece of paper, an envelope and a paper plate. If you like, bring a pie cut in half along with a knife to divide it further as you talk about various fractional parts.

Give each student scissors, 2 graham crackers, a letter-size piece of paper, an envelope, and a paper plate. Ask the students to cut the paper in half to form 2 equal shares (they can fold it first to form a cutting line). Ask them how many halves make one whole. (2)

Now have the students fold one rectangular shaped paper in half to form two equal triangles. Ask them how many triangular halves make a whole. (2)

Have the students sort the items by shape. Let them describe which are circles, which are triangles and which are rectangles. (circles = paper plate, round crackers; triangles = paper halves; rectangles = graham crackers, paper halves, envelope)

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade: www.excelmath.com/tour/tour01.html

## Thursday, November 14, 2013

### Thanksgiving Math

 Click for a larger view
In just two weeks we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States. On December 26, 1941 Congress passed a law designating the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Ever since, we've gathered for turkey (or tofu), potatoes, pumpkin pie and a time of giving thanks.

Although Thanksgiving is widely considered an American holiday, it is also celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
Here's a turkey bulletin board you can use to help your students recall math facts as well as to teach them character traits that will have parents and teachers giving thanks. Let each student use a paper plate for a base and cut colorful construction paper feathers and a turkey body to glue to the base. Cut out extra feathers and print a positive character trait on each.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade: www.excelmath.com/tour/tour01.html

## Monday, November 11, 2013

### Veteran's Day — Thanking Our Heroes

 Arlington National Cemetery
In honor of Veteran's Day, a big thank-you to all of our vets and to those people currently serving in the U.S. military.

We owe you more than words can express.

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia (pictured left).

The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns (shown below).
 Laying of the Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns

The Veterans Day ceremony continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is held each year to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Each year for 17 years, my husband took his middle school students back to Washington D.C. and New York. A few years after his final trip, our daughter went on a similar trip with her eighth grade class. These photos capture just a few of the monuments and historical sites they visited: Arlington Cemetery, The Tomb of the Unknowns, The World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
 World War II Memorial Washington D.C.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was also a very  moving experience. The wall chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country. Many people take rubbings of their relative's name as a keepsake of their visit to the wall.

The photo below captures one student's well-written tribute to his fallen uncle:
"Dear Uncle John, Thank you for risking your life to keep mine safe. I know it must have been scary to run into tunnels five feet high and flooded with Vietnamese soldiers. It must have been hard knowing that you might not come back. you must have had real courage to do that. Thank Uncle John. Thank you all the veterans who fought for this country's freedom."
 Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Download free resources for celebrating veterans, their stories and their contributions to our country: http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate_americas_freedoms.asp

Do you need some proven math resources to help your students get ready for spring testing and assessments? Try the Excel Math Summer School/Intersession 6-week program. Take a look at samples on our website or give us a call to find out more. The cost is just \$6.25 per student for the entire 30 lessons.

Excel Math lessons also work well in a blended learning environment. You can use technology along with the lessons and Student Lesson Sheets. (Check out our Projectable Lessons on CD for each grade level.)

You might also like these articles:
From Stress to Success with Excel Math

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Wednesday, November 6, 2013

### From Stress to Success with Excel Math

Mastering mathematics at the elementary school level can be stressful for many students (not to mention parents and teachers). Excel Math helps remove the stress by giving students incremental math concepts that spiral through the Student Lesson Sheets (through spaced repetition) and are reinforced and mastered with Guided Practice, homework and regular assessments.

Excel Math students remember concepts because they practice them regularly. They learn to master basic skills and then use those skills in more complex ways as they move those concepts into long-term memory. Students get excited because they finally achieve success in mathematics!

It's no surprise that many graduates of Excel Math leave elementary school feeling math is their favorite subject!

Excel Math lessons also work well in a blended learning environment. You can use technology along with the lessons and Student Lesson Sheets. (Check out our Projectable Lessons on CD for Grades K -  6.)

Do you need some proven math resources to help your students get ready for spring testing? Try the Excel Math Summer School/Intersession 6-week program.

You might also like these articles:

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Tuesday, November 5, 2013

### Doughnut Math

Today is National Doughnut Day! Back in June we celebrated National Donut Day (pictured), which recognizes the "Donut Lassies"who worked for the Salvation Army during World War I handing out doughnuts to American soldiers in France.

On November 5 we celebrate the actual food (thus the word "dough"). The first donuts came from the Dutch, were called "oily cakes" and didn’t have a hole. They were fried in hot oil and the dough was sweet. Read more at eatocracy.CNN.com

We've removed most sweet treats from our Excel Math curriculum so we don't promote tooth decay or other not-so-great habits among students. However, doughnuts are still a favorite at AnsMar Publishers, Inc., where the curriculum is created (though we try not to indulge very often).

With Excel Math, students learn addition and subtraction plus foundational math concepts. Our unique spiraling process helps students retain those concepts over the long term. Learn more and take a look at www.excelmath.com. You can also download our free Excel Math Placement Test for Kindergarten through Grade 6 to make sure your new students are starting at the optimal grade level. Grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut and surf on over to www.excelmath.com for lots of great math resources.

To celebrate this yummy day of doughnuts, have your students make up word problems using doughnuts. Calculate how many dozen doughnuts you would need to have if you gave each person in the class one doughnut. (Don't forget the teacher!) If your students are learning to multiply using decimals, let them calculate the total cost if the doughnuts cost \$3.50/dozen and they buy enough for the class and then find the cost per doughnut. Finally have the class calculate the total if the doughnuts cost \$4.20/dozen. How much more would it cost to feed the whole class at the higher price?

This might be a good time to explain the concept of a "baker's dozen" or 13 doughnuts instead of 12. It was the practice of medieval English bakers to give thirteen rolls when twelve were purchased, to protect themselves against accusations of the rolls weighing too little. The bread was sold by weight, not by number of pieces. Bakers could be flogged for selling bread that was under weight. So whenever they sold bread in any quantity, the bakers added something extra to make sure the total weight wasn't short. Read more about the baker's dozen at www.phrases.org.uk.

If you'd like to try making your own doughnuts, an easy recipe is to start with canned refrigerator biscuits. Separate the biscuit dough. Cut a small hole in the middle of each piece of dough. Heat 1 - 2 inches of oil to medium high heat in a cast iron or heavy skillet. Drop in a doughnut hole to test. Turn it once using tongs and remove it when nicely browned. Drain it on a brown paper grocery bag.

Add several doughnuts and holes to the oil, brown, turn them and drain on a brown paper bag. Turn down the heat if the oil gets too hot. Then use the tongs to dip the warm donuts in powdered sugar or a mixture of cinnamon sugar. Let cool, then eat.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

Do you have some favorite fall or food activities for teaching your students math concepts? Leave a comment in the box below. We love hearing from teachers, administrators and parents from around the country.

## Thursday, October 31, 2013

### Falling for Math: Ten Frame Activities

Jumping in a pile of leaves is a fun way to spend a fall afternoon. Your students may not be jumping for joy about math lessons, but here a few ways to bring the excitement of fall into the math classroom.

Use these Excel Math Ten Frame Pumpkin cards to help your students identify and add numbers and begin to understand base ten. Or use them as flashcards. Print a set for each pair of students. Hold up a card and have students tell you the number of white or orange pumpkins. Then have them write the numbers.

Remind them to write neatly. Place several cards on your whiteboard pen tray or tape them to a wall and let students put them in order from least to greatest white pumpkins. (Use removable tape.) Do the same with students holding the cards while another student arranges the classmates in order. Have the students mix up, and let another student put them in order.

Mix the cards again.

You might also like these articles:
New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

## Tuesday, October 22, 2013

### Pumpkin Math: Subtraction

Your students will enjoy combining the fall season, pumpkins, cookies and pumpkin seeds with their math lessons. Today we'll look at some fun ways to incorporate pumpkins with subtraction and basic fact practice.

With Excel Math, students learn addition and subtraction plus foundational math concepts. Our unique spiraling process helps students retain those concepts over the long term. Learn more at www.excelmath.com.

Scoop out the seeds from a pumpkin and rinse them off. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and spray them with cooking spray. Sprinkle them lightly with salt. Cook at 350Âº for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn them halfway through, if you like.

Let the seeds cool. Give each student 12-20 seeds.

Pumpkin Seed Toss
Save an empty egg carton for each pair of students. Let the students number the egg cups 1-12. Place two pumpkin seeds (or use beads or buttons) in each carton, close the lid and have one student shake the carton. The other student opens the carton and says a subtraction equation, using the numbers where the pumpkin seeds landed. Explain that they should subtract the smaller number from the larger one.

You might also like these articles:

What are some fun ways you teach subtraction using fall visuals? Share your ideas using the Comments box below.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: www.excelmath.com.

You might also like these articles:

## Monday, October 14, 2013

Now that fall is here and school is well underway, it's a good time to bring out some pumpkins and celebrate the season. Your students will enjoy combining harvest time and fall foods with their math lessons. Today we'll look at some fun ways to incorporate pumpkins with addition and basic fact practice.

With Excel Math, students learn addition and subtraction plus foundational math concepts. Our unique spiraling process helps students retain those concepts over the long term. Learn more at www.excelmath.com.

Copy the Pumpkin Patterns and Base Ten Cards for your students so each child has one of each worksheet page. Have the students cut out the smaller pumpkins and the Base Ten Cards. You may want to provide envelopes for storing the pieces so they can be reused. Make sure students put their names on the envelopes. Let them take home the cards and envelopes in November with game instructions so they can continue playing with their family members and friends.

Pumpkin Muffin Word Problems
To help your students solve word problems, bring in some pumpkin muffins. Tell the following story: Emma had 4 muffins. Ethan had 7 muffins. How many muffins did they have together?

Have two students come to the front of the room and count out the number of muffins mentioned. Ask the students how they would find the total. Point out that they should begin adding with the larger number. They could then count on: Ethan has 7 muffins, Emma has 8, 9, 10, 11. Or if they remember that 7 + 3 = 10, they could group together the 10 muffins and add one more for a total of 11.

Pumpkin Base Ten Cards
Now have the students use their Base Ten Cards to solve this problem. Some students may choose the card that shows 4 pumpkins. Talk about which number would be easiest to start with. (the largest, which is 7) Ask the students how many more pumpkins they will need to be able to show the word problem with their cards. (4 more if they chose the 7 card)

Do a few word problems in this way, modeling them with the students and muffins and again with the Base Ten Cards. If you have time, let your students make up their own stories. Then give everyone a pumpkin muffin treat (make sure none of your students have allergies to them).

Pumpkin Hopscotch
Draw a hopscotch pattern on the floor (or create one with masking tape). Let the students number the large pumpkins 0-11 (one number per pumpkin) and cut them into square shapes to form cards. Have each student initial the back of his cards. Divide the class into pairs. Have each pair combine the cards into one pile. Let one student draw a card from the pile and say the number aloud. The partner goes to the hopscotch grid and takes a number of hops equal the value of that number card. The hopper may have to go down to the end and back (or do it more than once) to use up the value of the number card.

After each partner has a turn drawing a card and hopping, play an addition version. Let both players draw a card and say the number aloud. One player becomes the hopper. The hopper now hops the total number of spaces equal to the value of the two cards added together. If they are unsure, have them use the Base Ten Cards to add the two numbers together before hopping. Play continues with both players drawing a card and a new player becoming the hopper.

 Excel Math Pumpkin Patch Bulletin Board