## Thursday, November 17, 2016

### Take a Hike in November!

 Lake Tahoe with the family
It's National Take a Hike Day, celebrated each year on November 17. And since this is also the 100th year celebration of our National Parks, hiking is a wonderful way to join the celebration and simultaneously explore some of the spectacular outdoor places our country has to offer.

This photo was taken at Lake Tahoe, where the Baker family enjoyed a camping trip filled with water sports, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors.

 Big Pine Lake hiking
Big Pine Lake is another beautiful place to hike in California, and now that we have some cooler weather (at times), hiking can be a fun way to see the fall colors and shuffle through the leaves.
The scent of pine brings memories of holidays and anticipating fun times with family and friends.

At Excel Math, we include word problems to help students tackle real-world problems. Here's a word problem from our Grade 3 Student Lesson Sheets:
Mr. Park went on a hike. He saw 8 deer.
That was 7 fewer than the number of
rabbits he saw. He saw 3 more hawks
than rabbits. How many hawks did he see?
Excel Math lessons merge math with literacy in our Create A Problem exercises. These in-depth story problems give students an opportunity to use higher-level thinking skills and begin to write and solve their own word problems as their math skills progress. Take a look at sample Create A Problems for Grades 2-6.

 Cowles Mountain Summit
Here's a photo of the summit of Cowles Mountain in San Diego, a very popular hiking spot for residents and visitors alike.

You can catch just a small glimpse of the 360ยบ views from this photo. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Coronado Islands in Mexico.

Read more about Cowles Mountain and the various hiking trails in our blog posts from several years ago: Take a Hike, Part 1 and then get out and walk your neighborhood.

Be sure to stop by the Mission Trails Visitors' Center just down the road to see local artwork and the interactive exhibits that explain the native culture as well as the plants and animals you may encounter on your hike.

 Mission San Luis Rey Rose Garden
Find a friend and try a new neck of the woods to explore on foot. Use the comments box below to let us know some of your favorite hiking spots.

If you prefer a less strenuous stroll, the Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside has some beautiful gardens, complete with benches that offer a place to rest and smell the aroma of roses.

Certain times of year they also have rooms available for travelers to stay, providing a quiet respite away from the hectic pace of day to day activities and stress.

 Huntington Beach
Traveling around the diverse state of California, there are beaches around every corner along the coast.

Here's a picturesque view of Huntington Beach, where families gather for a meal after a busy day in the water. In the evenings, dinner is followed by s'mores around the fire pits after the sun has set.

Walking or jogging along the beach with the warm wind at your back can be a completely different experience a few weeks later when you walk that same beach in the midst of a downpour. Both are wonderful experiences!

 Sunset at Torrey Pines State Park
A cold, brisk day at the beach when the crowds have stayed home is a great opportunity to walk along the sand and enjoy the restless waves, the sea spray, and the solitude.

Sunsets over the water give a totally new perspective to the same beach that may have been crowded and noisy in the bright light of daytime, just a few hours earlier.

This photo was taken at Torrey Pines State Park.

The many hiking trails above the beach give families a chance to see some of the habitat native to Southern California up close and personal.

 Torrey Pines State Beach
Many of the plants and trees are labeled. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes instead of flip-flops.

Many of the paths and steps take you from the beach up to the scenic views shown in these photos.

Take a Hike Day gives you a great excuse to get outdoors and explore the beautiful areas of your own city and state.

But really, no excuse is needed to walk your neighborhood, your hiking trails, and learn about the history of the place you call home. Every day can be a wonderful time to take a hike!

## Sunday, November 13, 2016

### It's Super Moon!

For the first time in 78 years, we'll have an opportunity to see a supermoon that is traveling extremely close to the earth.

On Sunday or Monday, November 13 or 14, grab a friend and a telescope and enjoy  this rare treat.

You won't see another like this moon for decades!

For those of us in North America, the moon is closer to full on the night of November 13.

The moon turns precisely full on November 14, 2016 at 1352 UTC. This full moon instant will happen in the morning hours before sunrise in western North America and the Pacific islands (to the east of the International Date Line).

The moon will look full and bright all night long on both nights – November 13 and 14 – as it rises in the east around sunset, climbs highest up around midnight, and then sets in the west at or near sunset.

With Excel Math, students learn about astronomy, our solar system, and the world around them. They also learn math concepts for long-term retention.

Excel Math's unique spiraling system reinforces learning, builds proficiency, and develops student confidence in math.

Word problems are included in Excel Math Guided Practice as well as throughout the lessons and homework. Here's a word problem from Excel Math Grade 3:

The distance from the earth to the moon can be measured in_____________.
a. grams
b. pints
c. kilometers
Excel Math goes beyond these basic word problems to teach students how to solve more in-depth story problems, called Create A Problem.

These Create A Problem exercises begin in Grade 2 to help students develop higher-level problem solving skills.

Students are challenged to read a larger section of text, write problems, and solve their own story problems, merging math with literacy.

Here's an example of a Create A Problem exercise from Grade 4. Since this page is from the Teacher Edition, the answers are show in bold. Click on the image for a larger view.
How do you help your student build success in math for the long term? Will some of them be watching the supermoon this week?

You may also like these articles:

Tips & Tricks for Success with Math

Fall Bulletin Boards for the Math Classroom

5 Secrets to Success with Math

Happy 40th Anniversary, Excel Math!Perseid Outburst—Showers of Stars