Additional Math Pages & Resources

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tour de France: Do the Math

Tour de France Rider
The 102nd Tour de France is well underway. This year's race will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,360 kilometers. 

Watch the exciting Tour as bikers continue riding (and colliding) through France and Belgium now through July 26.  

Here are some photos from stage 16 of the Tour from Bourg de Péage to Gap. 

(Today is the second rest day.) 

Below is a photo of the white jersey wearer after the Stage 16, Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas, of Spain. Tomorrow the riders travel from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup, covering 161 kilometers.

See the latest yellow shirts and watch the riders compete at

Tour de France Stage 16 White Jersey Winner Quintana Ro
The race will finish in Paris on the Champs Elysées. The map below shows the route the riders will take. Encourage your students to calculate the distance the riders will travel on their bikes during the first 10 stages of the race, after the first 12, etc.

For a close-up view of the map and to see the jersey wearers after each stage, visit

In Excel Math, we challenge students to create graphs, calculate distance, read maps, solve in-depth word problems and learn to create their own  problems.
Tour de France route
These Create A Problem exercises merge math with literacy and help students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

As they read and solve more complex word problems students in Grades 2-6. students learn to create their own problems using higher-order thinking skills.

Read more about the unique Create A Problem exercises in Excel Math at and see one for Grade 5.

Here's a Student Lesson Sheet from Grade 4 with a Create A Problem exercise called "Tour de Vacation."

In this activity, students create a graph, calculate distance, and write their own word problems.

Click here to download a PDF file you can use with your students:

Excel Math Grade 4 Student Lesson Sheet Create A Problem 18
Click here to download a PDF file.
Tour de France Riders in 2010
This is a photo my friend Mike took in 2010 when he visited France and followed the riders in the Tour de France.

Learn more about how Excel Math can work for your students at

Excel Math Teacher Editions are available in three versions:
  • Common Core
  • Texas (TEKS aligned—STAAR ready)
  • Standard (Non Common Core)
Download Excel Math correlations here.

Here are the suggested answers to Create A Problem 18 shown above:

Excel Math Grade 4 Student Lesson Sheet Create A Problem 18 Answers
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Friday, July 17, 2015

Disneyland Math — Celebrating 60 Years!

Disneyland Entrance
On July 17, 1955 Disneyland officially opened in Anaheim, California. Happy 60th Birthday to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Walt Disney created a magical world of nostalgia, fantasy, family fun and futurism.

Some people may even remember the live donkeys and E-ticket rides. Which one was (or still is) your favorite?

The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves.

Legend has it that Walt Disney had his workers mark the trees that were to be cut down with a certain color of colored ribbons.

Those trees that were to be spared were tied with a different ribbon color. Somehow, the instructions did not translate properly (or the person coordinating the cutting was color blind) and most of the trees Walt Disney wanted spared were the ones that got cut down!

Common Core Sample
Today Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion. Read more at

Texas Sample Packet
In Excel Math, students learn to recognize coins, calculate costs and solve word problems involving money and decimals.

The unique spiraling system built into Excel Math lessons helps children become confident math students.

Many former Excel Math students mention that they first began to develop a love for math in their elementary school years.

With Excel Math, students learn practical ways to apply mathematical concepts to their everyday lives.

Save on your next Disneyland Trip
Cinderella's Castle at Disneyland
If you're looking for ways to save money on your next Disney vacation, visit as well as

There you'll find the latest discounts, special offers, and tips for saving time in line.

Disney also has a blog where they post updates on new attractions, ceremonies and special events.

Tell us about your Disney experience or share a story in the Comment box below.

The Matterhorn

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Disney Celebration Parade

Monday, July 13, 2015

Counting Coins to Make a Dollar

Counting coins to make a dollar is easier when your students are familiar with base ten and/or 100 charts. You can print base ten cards and 100 charts for your students on our website:

In Excel Math lessons, students learn the value of coins and dollars and begin to add and subtract money amounts.

Here are some teaching ideas to help students learn to use the dollar and cent symbols for money amounts.

Give each student play money: a one dollar bill, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. If you don't have play money on hand, cut out the money from the Coins box below (click on the image to download the file).

Coins from Excel Math Manipulatives
Write 1¢ on the board. Ask the students to find the coin that represents 1¢. (a penny)
Do this for each coin the students have.

Next write some money addition problems on the board where the totals are under $1.00 such as shown below. (Answers are given in parentheses.)

Solve the first two problems as a class, talking about the value of each coin:

2 pennies plus 4 nickels = (22¢)

3 dimes plus 1 quarter = (55¢)

5 nickels plus 2 pennies plus 1 quarter = (52¢)

2 quarters plus 1 nickel = (55¢)

3 quarters plus 3 pennies = (78¢)

2 quarters plus two dimes plus 1 nickel plus 3 pennies = (78¢)

Then let your students find various coin combinations that will make the following amounts (possible answers are given in parentheses):

37¢ (1 quarter, 1 dime plus 2 pennies or 1 quarter, 2 nickels plus 2 pennies)

77¢ (3 quarters and 2 pennies or 2 quarters, 2 dimes, 1 nickel plus 2 pennies)

Talk about the various possibilities of coin combinations to make these amounts. Up to this point students have been writing money with the cent symbol since the amounts have been less than one dollar.

Now have each student find a dime in their collection of coins. Ask the students how much a dime is worth. Write 10¢ on the board. Ask the class what other coins could be used to show 10¢. (2 nickels, 10 pennies, and 1 nickel plus 5 pennies are all equal to one dime.)

Add a dime and have the students write the new amount in cents on the board. Continue to add a dime until you get to one dollar.

Remind the class that one dollar can be written with a $. Ask the students how many dimes equal one dollar. (10)

Then ask the students how dimes compare to dollars. (Dimes are smaller, dimes are parts of dollars.)

Ask what part of a dollar a dime is since it takes ten dimes to make a dollar. (one tenth)

Point out that the cent symbol is not used with the dollar symbol. You can write $1 or 100¢ but you would not write $100¢.

Leave a comment in the box below (click on the word "comment") to share some ways you teach your students to calculate money amounts.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bastille Day Math

In 2015 Bastille Day will be celebrated on July 9 to commemorate the the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, in Paris on July 14, 1789.

Originally built as a medieval fortress, the Bastille eventually came to be used as a state prison. Political prisoners were often held there, along with citizens detained by the authorities for trial.

Some prisoners were held on the direct order of the king, from which there was no appeal.

Although by the late 18th century it was little used and was scheduled to be demolished, the Bastille had come to symbolize the harsh rule of the monarchy.

Military parade on the Champs Elysées in Paris
For the peasant class, the Bastille was a symbol of the hypocrisy and corruption of the aristocratic government - controlled mostly by nobility and clergy.

On July 14, 1789 a mob approached the Bastille to demand the arms and ammunition stored there.

When the forces guarding the fortress resisted, the attackers captured the prison, releasing the seven prisoners held there.

Charles Dickens wrote an historical fiction novel based on this event, A Tale of Two Cities. This is a great summer read, if you haven't read it in a while.

The taking of the Bastille signaled the beginning of the French Revolution and marked the entry of the popular class into the French Revolution

July 14th is often thought of as France's Independence Day

More accurately, it's the French National Day, often called la fête nationale in France.

Bastille Day became an official holiday in 1880.

From the beginning, speeches, military parades and fireworks, along with public revelry, were part of the celebration.

The slogan “Vive le 14 juillet!” (“Long live the 14th of July!”) has continued to be associated with the day.
The Bastille
Today, Parisians celebrate this national holiday with a grand military parade up the Champs Elysées, colorful arts festivals, and raucous parties marking the holiday.

Put the cassoulet in the oven, and join the celebration!

For 40 years, Excel Math has been building student confidence and success with math.

Have an Excel Math story to share?

Send us your story using the Comments box below. We love hearing from parents, teachers and students around the country!

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