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Monday Must Reads: Volume 5

It seems like it was just yesterday that I decided to start Monday Must Reads as a weekly feature to highlight the awesomeness I see daily through the blogs I read and the inspiring teachers I follow on Twitter.

The Answer is the Least Important Part of the Problem

Rick Barlow‘s tweet caught my eye not because of what the student had written on the board but because of the poster hanging above the dry erase board. I think this poster belongs in every math classroom.  This is definitely on my list of posters to create for my classroom for next year.

Christie Bradshaw Dry Erase Templates

Christie Bradshaw has been featured before on Monday Must Reads for her innovative dry erase templates, and it doesn’t look like she is stopping anytime soon.  If you haven’t invested in a set of dry erase pockets, you need to do so now! Check out this awesomeness:


dry erase pockets

I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.

Here are my current go-to recommendations:

Introducing Students to Solving Systems by Substitution

Greta Bergman recently published a beautiful blog post about her approach to introducing students to solving systems of equations by substitution.  I love how she approaches it from a task that students should feel comfortable with and slowly moves students toward the way problems are typically approached.  I think we can all learn something by checking out this post!

screenshot of systems of equations problems
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Discovering Trig Formulas

Danitte Kozai‘s recent tweet about challenging her students to do discover formulas in trig instead of simply giving them the formulas has me want to restructure my entire trig class.  I only get to teach trig every other year, so I guess I should wait a bit before tackling that…

Visual Models for Introducing Mean (Average)

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought regarding how to incorporate more visual models into my Algebra 1 classroom.  I was super excited to see Gareth Metcalfe post a new-to-me visual to use with students when working through problems involving mean (average).  Watch out, though. Each diagram includes a mistake that must be identified!  Click here to see a high-res image.

Visual Equation Solving

In the most recent issue of Monday Must Reads, I featured a visual representation for solving equations.  I wondered how it might work with equations that have variables on both sides.  Yah Lee answered my question with a visual model that does just that!  I’ve played around with it, and I like it.  The only thing I can’t figure out how to do now is illustrate an equation that involves subtraction one one side of the equal sign and addition on the other side.

Conway’s Rational Tangles Problem

I was first introduced to Conway’s Rational Tangles problem through a summer immersion program hosted by the Tulsa Math Teachers’ Circle.  Amie Albrecht shared in a recent blog post how to use the questions “What do you notice?” and “What do you wonder?” to motivate the activity.  I think this approach is simply brilliant.

Amie Albrecht Rational Tangles Screenshot
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Explorations with e

A recent twitter conversation between Annie Perkins and Jeffrey Jones both caught my eye and blew my mind.  Annie asked the MTBoS for an exploration of e.  Jeffrey Jones blew my mind by sharing the fact that if you roll a 20 sided die until the cumulative total is greater than 20, it will take on average e times.  How is that even possible?!?  When I get time, I would like to explore this problem with dice of different numbers of sides to see what other exciting mathematical discoveries await.  Thanks Annie for asking an awesome question so I could learn this fun, new fact!

Secants and Tangents INB Page

Katrina Newell blogged about her interactive notebook pages for angles formed by secants and tangents.  I love how she encouraged her special students to use two small pieces of paper to better visualize the arcs and angles.  I think this is a strategy that all students could benefit from!

Katrina Newell Activity
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Math Teacher Mug Decoration

I also love the vinyl decoration she created for her mug!

Malcolm Swan Task

Maths teachers in the UK have been honouring the late Malcolm Swan’s contributions to maths education by using his resources in their classrooms on #malcolmswanday.  Pip Mathematics shared a great Swan task that I look forward to incorporating when my Algebra 1 students tackle evaluating expressions in the fall.

STEM Challenge: Longest Chain from a Single Sheet of Paper

Theressa Engel shared students’ results to a problem-solving task I would love to try out with my own students: create the longest chain possible from a single sheet of paper.  I’m thinking this would make a great first week of school activity!

Introducing the Unit Circle

Sam Shah recently shared a brilliant introduction to the unit circle in trigonometry using every shape but a circle!

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Spaghetti Sine Curve Activity

Susan Russo took the traditional spaghetti activity for graphing sine and cosine curves a set farther by hanging them side-by-side to create a beautifully long graph.

Wasted Space Geometry Task

Andrew Jensen shared a brilliant geometry task regarding wasted packaging space.

Until next time, keep sharing!

Latest Monday Must Reads Posts


Tuesday 20th of June 2017

Sarah let me just say again how much I appreciate you and your work in posting for others. We all encounter these wonderful trinkets of awesomeness but rarely do we take the time to "give back" the way that you do. I am thoroughly inspired with every visit to your site. I try to pay it forward to my students and the other teachers in my district. Bless you! Oh... my whole purpose for commenting was to say that I have gotten about 5 different pearls of inspiration for a Pre-Algebra summer course I am creating from this one post! Thank you , thank you! Madelyne


Thursday 8th of June 2017

I LOVE LOVE these posts!! There are so many great posts on twitter and I feel overwhelmed sometimes trying to read them all so I appreciate you picking out some of your favorites so I can see stuff I miss!

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