Valentines Jeopardy! (Age 9)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Money. Book: The Story of Money by Maestro. This book traces the history of money from the earliest people to present day. We read until the Lydians invented the first coins. Both kids were really interested in this book, and didn’t want to stop reading. We had various interesting discussions, for example: what would happen if someone needed a blanket, but the blanket maker didn’t want any eggs.
  2. Topic: Story problems, coordinates, money, combinations. Valentines Jeopardy. We had 4 categories with 5 questions in each category. The questions were worth 100 – 500 points, with the higher point values being harder.  Our categories were “Broken Hearts”, “Time for Love”, “Map of My Heart”, and “Valentines Store”. Here are all the questions and answers.

Valentines Shop

Valentines Shop
Stickers…………12 for $2
Toys…………….5 for $3
Cards…………..25 for $4

Each Valentine is made of 1 card, 1 toy, and 1 sticker.

100: How much do 3 Valentines cost?
200: How much do 11 Valentines cost?
300: How much do 25 Valentines cost?
400: How much to 26 Valentines cost?
500: How much do 100 Valentines cost?

Time for Love

100: Katie sang a love song to Alex. She started singing at 5:22AM, and sang for 1 hour and 34 minutes. What time did she stop singing?
200: Fluffy bunny loved carrots so much she hopped around the garden with joy. Each hop was 2 feet long. She hopped 10 times per minute for 6 minutes. How far did she hop?
300: Luke has been waiting for Valentines day since December 8th. How many days did he have to wait?
400: Sam loves candy hearts. A pack contains 30 hearts, and it takes Sam 3 minutes to each one pack. How long does it take same to eat 5 hearts?
500: Corey loves numbers. She started at 5 and counted by fives for 30 minutes. She said one number every 2 seconds. What number did she end on?

Broken Hearts

100: You have 2 colors. How many ways can you color in a heart split into two sections?
200: You have 4 colors. How many ways can you color in a heart split into two sections?
300: You have 4 colors, and each heart has to use two different colors. How many ways can you color a heart split into two sections?
400: You have 2 colors. How many ways can you color in a heart split into 5 sections?
500: You have 3 colors. Each heart much use each color. How many ways can you color a heart split into 3 sections?

Map of My Heart

What word do the letters at the given coordinates spell? Starting at 300, the words are scrambled.img_20170212_181129

100: (7, 17) (11, 19) (3, 12) (16, 10)
200: (20, 1) (16, 10) (8, 5) (18, 3) (2, 20)
300: (2, 2) (8, 5) (8, 2) (9, 11) (6, 21)
(16, 10) (4, 6) (18, 7) (7, 17) (9, 11) (13, 1) (15, 5) (8, 5) (2, 20) (16, 10)
500: (19, 13) (5, 10) (2, 2) (18, 7) (6, 21)

How did it go?

We only had two kids in the circle, which was unlucky, since competitive activities like jeopardy usually go better if you have teams. Otherwise there can be too much pressure on individual kids. My daughter had an especially hard time with the competition aspect, especially after she fell behind early. She started ripping up all the materials and crying in between questions, but refused my attempts to turn the activity into group problem solving instead of a competition. Here’s the room after the activity was done. Notice all the ripped up paper bits strewn around.


Ultimately my daughter came back from a 1400 to 100 deficit, to win 2000 to 1900. The other kid was a great sport throughout the activity. She answered 7 questions correctly, compared to 6 from my daughter, but the point value was a bit lower.

The questions were just about the right difficulty. They had to work hard for the 500s.

Time for Love: they missed the 300 and the 500. They were close on the 300, but pretty far away from being able to solve the 500.

Valentines Shop: My daughter solved the 100 – 400, but could not compute the 500 (how many 12s make 100?). The other girl was uncomfortable with this category, even though I worked through each problem right afterward to show how it goes. I think she felt overwhelmed by having to compute how many packs you need to buy for each of 3 objects.

Map of my Heart: The other girl solved 100 – 400 very quickly. She was able to guess the Valentines words from just a couple coordinates. For the 100, she guessed the answer was “LOVE” after seeing the L and that the word was four letters long. The 300 was scrambled (CANDY), and it took both girls a while to figure it out. The 400 went quickly, guessed before all letters were searched.  My daughter got the 500 (CUPID), which was the trickiest word to unscramble.

Broken Hearts: I thought this wouldn’t be that hard, but neither girl knew how to compute color combinations through multiplication. They wanted to enumerate the colors. They only answered the 300 correctly. This was because I had enumerated the 16 options for the 200, and my daughter realized she just needed to remove the double color choices to get the 300. (12).

At the end of circle all the kids got a chocolate covered strawberry that me and my daughter made this afternoon.


Happy girl, before tragical jeopardy.


Birthday Treasure Hunt (Age 6)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Multiplication. Book: Too Many Kangaroo Things To Do, by Murphy. This book is about friends planning a surprise party for Kangaroo, using multiplication along the way. The kids all enjoyed the book, taking turns computing the simple multiplication (1×1 up to 4×4). One kid proudly predicted that the animals must be planning a surprise party.
  2. Topic: Various, Story Problems. I made a grid of hexes that were hidden at first. The goal was to find the hex with a diamond printed on it. Each turn the kids got to move their piece to uncover a new hex and then solve a different type of math problem for each picture type. Here are the hex pictures you need, and the full list of problems is below. We worked as one team, and I asked each kid to try each problem. If someone solved it faster than the others, then they were supposed to whisper the answer in my ear instead of shout it out. As soon as the jewel was uncovered, all 4 kids got to pick a prize from our treasure box.IMG_20160821_174304
    1.  Firefly – square numbers:
      1. First square bigger than 0.
      2. First square bigger than 5.
      3. First square bigger than 10.
      4. First square bigger than 20.
      5. First square bigger than 30.
      6. First square bigger than 40.
      7. First square bigger than 50.
      8. First square bigger than 60.
      9. First square bigger than 70.
    2. Unicorn – fractions:
      1. Divide a circle in half, then split each piece into 3 pieces.  How many pieces do you have?
      2. Divide a circle in half, then split each piece in half, then split each piece in half. How many pieces do you have?
      3. Divide a circle in four pieces. Then split each piece in 3 pieces. How many pieces do you have?
      4. Divide a circle in half. Then split each piece into 3. Then split each piece into 2. How many pieces do you have?
    3.  Dragon – money:
      1. A diamond ring costs $100. How many rings can Hans buy with $125?
      2. Diamond earrings cost $20. How many earrings can Olaf buy with $207?
      3. A diamond necklace costs $11. How many necklaces can Marshmallow buy with $110?
      4. Elsa bought 20 diamond rings that each cost $10. How much money did Elsa spend?
      5. Sven bought 4 bracelets that each cost $32, and 3 rings that each cost $14. How much money did Sven spend?
      6. Anna spent $60 on 5 necklaces. How much did each necklace cost?
      7. Hans spent $39 on 3 bracelets. How much did each bracelet cost?
    4. Troll – story problems:
      1. A troll had 12 muffins. He ate some of them. Now he has 7 muffins. How many did he eat?
      2. There are 20 muffins. Some trolls came. Each troll ate 4 muffins. How many trolls are there?
      3. 4 trolls brought muffins to a party. Each brought the same amount. There are 24 muffins at the party. How many did each troll bring?
    5. Witch square – codes: Figure out what the coded word is by subtracting the given number from each letter. For example, DBU -1 = CAT
      1. -1:  DBU
      2. -2: DTQQO
      3. -1: QPJTPO
      4. -2: JCV
      5. -1: TQFMM
    6. Maze – patterns:
      1.  1 5 9 13 __   __
      2.  1 2 2 3 3 3 4  __  __  __  __
      3. 91 82 73 64 __   __   __
      4. 11 22 33 __  __  __  __
      5. 1 1 2 3 5 8 __  __  __
      6. 1 2 4 8 __  __


    How did it go?


We had four kids today and they were all very motivated by wanting to earn a prize in honor of my son’s upcoming birthday. We played the game with 37 hexes, and the kids got unlucky and didn’t find the jewel until they had uncovered 30 hexes. Toward the end I started letting them move 2, 3, or 4 hexes without solving the problems, just to make sure we found the jewel.

All four kids worked hard on the game questions. My son is quite far ahead of his age in calculation and story problems but he did a really good job not telling the other kids the answers. The other kids stayed involved though, and we made sure to work out each answer as a group, using Base Ten blocks or counting on our fingers if necessary. One kid got bored after 30 minutes but didn’t distract the others. Another kid especially enjoyed problems the required counting by 4, 20, or 11. At first he didn’t think he could count by 11s, but quickly he saw the pattern and took the lead.

The fourth kid is the least comfortable with the number line but he got really excited by square numbers and solved all three square problems before anyone else (smallest square above 0, smallest square above 5,  smallest square above 10). We used Base Ten Blocks to do this. I showed the kids how 9 is a square number because you can make a square out of 9 unit cubes, and he then spent some time making other squares out of unit cubes. He also solved this pattern: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, _, _, _, _ first.

Everyone enjoyed decoding the witch’s code and trying to sound out the trickier words…pasta? pesto? poh-aye-son? Ooohhhh: poison!

The unicorn fraction problems turned out to be tricky. All the kids could follow the instruction: draw a circle and divide it in half. But “Now divide each piece into three pieces” was tricky. Only my son figured out how to divide each half into three equal pieces. The other kids ended up drawing straight lines and getting three very uneven pieces. Most kids also forgot to divide *each* half, so they would get ‘4’ as the answer instead of 6.

We finally uncovered the jewel, and celebrated. Then everyone picked a prize and ran around outside to get rid of their pent up energy. A very successful circle!


Donkeys and Salt (Age 8)

The Activities

  1. Topics: History of Math, Mathematicians: Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians (Volume One) by L. Reimer and W. Reimer, Chapter 1 (Thales).
  2. Topic: Story Problems: Minute Mysteries 2: More Stories to Solve by T. Witkowski and J. Hirsch, Chapter 1 (Bake Sale).

  3. Topic: Programming: We did the Conditionals with Cards offline activity from Hour of Code.  As a follow up, I dealt three random cards as “YES” and three cards as “NO” cards, and they had to write a conditional expression to separate the two groups of cards.IMG_1800

How Did It Go?

We had all five kids this week.

Mathematicians are People, Too

I was a bit worried they might find this book boring, particularly since the chapters are a bit long, but the Thales chapter held their interest the whole time.  Our daughter immediately noticed that the story of the donkey and the salt was the same as one from a book of Aesop’s Fables she had listened to, and went to get the paper copy.

Minute Mysteries

Once you extract the relevant information, the problem to solve is “There are 180 brownies and cookies, combined.  There are twice as many cookies as brownies.  Brownies sold for 10 cents each, cookies for 5 cents.  How much money did the girls make total?”  The kids were able to solve this problem without any help at all.  One kid made two nice insights: first, that they needed to find a number X so that 3 * X = 180; and second, that the amount of money from cookies = amount of money from brownies, since there are twice as many cookies but they cost half as much.

Conditionals with Cards

We started with the warm-up exercise suggested in the activity, where I went to each kid in turn and then they had to do something different based on what I did.  This was very easy.  They also had very little problem with the main activity: each team takes turns flipping over a card, and then either they or the other team gets points depending on the card.  The first one (“If red, we get a point, otherwise they do”) was very easy; the second (“If red, we get a point, otherwise if <= 5, we get that number of points, otherwise they get a point”) some of them firmly understood and a others were a bit shaky.

The follow-up activity, where they had to write a program to separate two sets of cards, was quite a bit harder.  Two of the kids didn’t make much progress; another had a good initial idea but got stuck; a fourth got correct tests which together could make a correct program but they weren’t nested properly; and a fifth started slow but ended up with a correct program.

Afterwards, I realized that they would probably understand this much better if it were expressed in tree form (similar to the Choose-your-own-adventure activity we did a while ago).  We’ll revisit this activity soon and try again.

Zombies and Torture Chambers (Age 7)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Multiplication, Story Problems. Book: The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math by Connelly. Chapter 1: The Pit and the Pendulum. In this chapter you are tied to a table as a sharp pendulum swings back and forth, lowering with each swing. Meanwhile a rat is one minute away from gnawing through the ropes that hold you. Will you escape before the pendulum kills you?
  2. Topic: Pendulums. Each kid had a spoon pendulum. We experimented with how many times the pendulum would swing back and forth in a certain amount of time.
    1. All 5 pendulums were the same length, but dropped from different heights.
    2. 5 different length pendulum.
    3. One pendulum that we all counted together, with different length strings.

      Spoon pendulum.

      Spoon pendulum.

  3. Topic: Logic, Story Problems. Chapter 13: The Rope Bridge, from the Perfectly Perilous book. Zombies are twenty minutes away from you. You and four friends have to cross a rope bridge. Two people can go at a time, and  you have to share one flashlight. Each person takes a different amount of time to cross: 1, 2, 3, and 8 minutes. Can you all cross in time?

    Our picture of the problem, complete with a Minecraft zombie.

    Our picture of the problem, complete with a Minecraft zombie.

  4. Topic: Combinations. How many different jack-o-lanterns can you make with a set of eyes, nose, and mouth?  There are 2 different eyes, 1 nose, and 2 mouths. Each feature can be right side up or upside down.

    Our messy pumpkin patch.

    Our messy pumpkin patch.

How did it go?

We had all 5 kids this week. Halloween was yesterday so we had spooky, Halloween themed activities.

The Pit and the Pendulum

The kids instantly loved this book. They wanted to look at all the chapters at once, and were excited (and slightly scared) by the short stories.  The book says the pendulum swings back and forth every 7 seconds, and drops one inch per second. The pendulum is 15 inches above you. How long till it hits you? The kids quickly figured out that the answer would be 15 X 7. One girl computed this using long-hand multiplication. I had the other kids check her work by computing: 10*7 + 5*7, which they could all do.

So the pendulum would drop in 105 seconds, but the rat will untie you in 60 seconds, leaving 45 seconds to escape.

Pendulum Spoons

I gave each kids a pendulum spoon. I wanted each pendulum to be 12 inches long so I had a measuring tape. All the kids wanted to measure their own pendulum, which slowed us down.  Eventually, they were all set. Everyone released their spoon at the same time, and counted their swings for 20 seconds. Three kids got 20 swings, and two got 18 swings, so it was pretty close.

Next each kid chose a different length of pendulum. We had some more trouble because at first everyone wanted a long pendulum, and then as soon as I convinced a couple kids to use a short one, then everyone wanted a short one. Finally I got 2 kids with long strings, and 3 with short ones. We tried to time them for 20 more seconds, but spoons were hitting each other, and everyone was laughing and forgetting to count.

I corralled everyone together again, and we used just one pendulum and counted it together, with a long, medium and short string. We did the long string twice to make sure our result was repeatable. We found that in 10 seconds, the long pendulum swung 6 times, the medium 8 times, and the short 12 times.

I asked why that might be. One girl suggested that different parts of the rope may be pulling on the longer pendulum. My daughter suggested that the longer pendulum travels further on each swing.

The Rope Bridge

Again, the kids loved the themes in this book. They all wanted to draw and talk about zombies, and also to solve the problem to see if the kids lived. Two kids quickly came up with the same idea: the fastest person should go with a friend across the bridge, and then run back with the flashlight to get the next person.

Everyone liked that plan, but one girl was worried it would be too slow. So, we worked it out together. First the 1 minute and the 8 minute person crossed. There were some interesting ideas about how long it would take them to get across. Someone said it would take 9 minutes. Someone else said it should take 1 minute, because the fast person could carry the slow one on their back. We finally decided it should take 8 minutes, becuase the 1 minute would have to slow down to the speed of the slower person.

We worked out it should take: 8 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 15 minutes to cross, which gave us one extra minute before the helicopter arrived to rescue us from the zombies.

Pumpkin Combinations

My daughter was really excited to do this one, because the older circle doesn’t work with pictures and glue sticks very often any more. This time, I decided not to sort the pumpkins for the kids. I would make them decide if there were any duplicates.

At first everyone just made pumpkins, but it quickly became difficult to tell if the pumpkin was new. A couple kids volunteered to sort the pumpkins. One kid wanted to sort them first by whether the nose was up or down. Another kid wanted to make rows for each kind of eye.

We ended up making rows for each eye, but then the kids couldn’t figure out how to sort within each row. My daughter wanted to make the columns have the same nose and mouth, but many pumpkins were missing, and there were many duplicates which complicated it.

Also, having 3 kids try to sort at once, without a clear strategy was pretty chaotic. The first kid independently tried to come up with a strategy by drawing different types of pumpkins on her paper. The second kid drifted between the sorting and the pumpkin making without really being engaged. The third made pumpkin after pumpkin without checking if there were duplicates. The fourth delivered pumpkins to the floor where we were sorting.  My daughter and I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to sort the pumpkins together. Then we ran out of time.

So…we don’t know how many different pumpkins we made!  Follow up work for next time.

3178 Sprinkles (Age 7)

The Activities

  1. Topics: Angles, Geometry: Book: Hamster Champs by S. Murphy.
  2. Topics: Jeopardy, Arithmetic, Story Problems, Measurement, Programming, Sudoku: We played Math Jeopardy this week.  The problems can be downloaded here.  The topics were
    1. Arithmetic Chains: The kids had to evaluate a chain of arithmetic operations from left to right: 7 * 8 + 9 / 5 = 13.
    2. Extra Information: These were story problems that all had some extra information.  For example, John has 2 cakes, each with 7 pieces, and each piece has 227 sprinkles.  How many pieces of cake are there?
    3. Estimation: We had a number of objects of different lengths, for each question the kids had to guess the length in cm within some bound (+-1 for a 5 cm object, +- 5 for a 40 cm object).
    4. Programming: The kids had to trace a program using our standard language and execution worksheet.
    5. Sudoku: The kids had to solve 4×4 sudoku with increasingly many numbers missing.

How Did It Go?

We had all 5 kids this week.  The Age 5 circle didn’t happen this week so we both helped with the Age 7 circle.

Hamster Champs

This book was about angles.  The kids really liked it.  They loved the hamsters having to trick the cat.

Math Jeopardy

This was a very competitive game, it came down to the last question and the final difference was only 100 points.  All the kids contributed to their teams.  The way we handled the guessing was whichever team raised their hand first got to guess; if they were wrong, the other team got another 30 seconds to work on it; if they still got it wrong, the first team could guess again.

Arithmetic Chains

This was the easiest category.  The first three were quite easy, but the division caused them more problems.  65 / 5 was fairly tricky for them.  But in the end they got all of these correct.

Extra Information

The problem about the cupcakes (1000 cupcakes in 10 groups, 200 kids ate all but one from each group, how many left?) was the hardest in this group, and no one got it right.  We got 10, 999, and 800 as answers.  The 500 was answered correctly, but probably due to luck rather than fully understanding the answer.


This was the category with the most zeroes; the kids consistently under-guessed.  They usually missed by just a bit more than they were allowed to.


The 300 turned out to be the hardest for them, because they forgot how loops with multiple statements worked.  We went over that problem after no one got it right; and then they were able to answer each of the 400 and 500.  The 500 programming was the final question, and most of the kids made good progress on it.


The 200 puzzle was broken (I had made a mistake when preparing it, which is now fixed); one of the kids pointed it out almost immediately.  4×4 sudoku is easy enough that you can often guess and get it correctly on the first try.  All the kids were able to make progress.  All the puzzles were solved correctly but there was at least one incorrect guess.

Micheltello, the Fifth Ninja Turtle

The Activities

  1. Topic: Story Problems: Book: How High Can a Dinosaur Count? …and Other Math Mysteries by Valorie Fisher.
  2. Topics: Codes, Combinations, Story Problems: We created a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “adventure” with three stages.  All materials for this activity can be found here.  The story is that Shredder has discovered some ancient machines that, when activated, will cover the world in slime (I printed out some pictures of the characters for those less familiar with ninja turtles).  The turtles obviously want to stop him, and they find Beebop and Rocksteady, defeat them, and take from them a coded message from Shredder.  This was a number-letter substitution code, but unlike in the past, I did not give them the key.
    Deciphered message

    Deciphered message

    Then I said that Splinter remembered a legend of an ancient fifth ninja turtle, but he couldn’t quite remember his name.  However, he did remember that the name was a combination of two of the first four turtles’ names (e.g., Raphangelo).  If they can list out all the possible names, he will remember.

    IMG_1182 IMG_1183

    Now that they know the fifth turtle’s name (Micheltello), April O’Niel goes on TV and says that Micheltello should come help them.  He shows up, and says that that he knows where the slime machines are.  The turtles go to the slime machines, but each one has a story problem that the kids must solve in order to turn it off (see link to PowerPoint above for the story problems).  Once they solve the problems, the world is saved and the mayor gives them each a prize!

  3. Topic: Origami: We made the pinwheel from Easy Origami by John Montroll.

How Did It Go?

All six kids attended.  This circle went well, all the kids were engaged the whole time — having a theme definitely helps.

How High Can a Dinosaur Count?

This book has a bunch of story problems, mostly about addition but a few others, including a couple about money.  Most weren’t too hard for them, but they usually couldn’t solve them instantly.  I had the kids raise hands to answer, all the kids gave at least one answer.  The hardest one was to count up how much money two dimes, two nickels, and three pennies was.

Ninja Turtle Adventure

When I first announced the topic, one of the girls said “I’m not interested in boy things.”  Fortunately, once we started working on the problems, she jumped right in :).

The first breakthrough for the code was that one kid said that one of the three letter words could be “the”.  I pointed out there were several three letter words.  They noticed that two of the four three letter words were the same, and tried filling in “the” for that one (which was correct).  They made a bit more progress after this but then got stuck.  One kid kept asking “What are the two little dashes at the bottom?”  I just said “Part of the message.”  Eventually, that kid said “Maybe this says Shredder!”  They didn’t quite get the concept of making sure the pattern of the word worked (they certainly didn’t notice that certain words had double letters until after they filled them in).  Once they got Shredder and filled in the matching letters elsewhere, they guessed “turtle” and “ninja”, and got most of the rest.  They ended up having the whole message decoded except for “_i_th”.  One kid suggested “ninth”, but n was already used.  I suggested they try similar things, and they got “fifth” after a bit.  I had the kids take turns being the writers, since they all wanted to fill in the letters (4 kids writing at the same time is pretty tricky).

They were slower than I expected at generating names.  In similar activities in the past, there’s usually been a flood of suggestions, but I guess the concept of combining a prefix and suffix was trickier.  However, almost immediately, one of the kids suggested drawing a line between the prefix and suffix whenever they thought of a new name.  This was obviously extremely helpful for searching, although they still weren’t that good at that.  After a while, a different kid noticed there were a different number of lines coming from various suffixes, and found things to even it out.  However, they still didn’t realize there needed to be three coming from each one; after a while one of the kids suggested there should be four lines, but I pointed out that you wouldn’t have one for the actual real names, so only three.  All the kids came up with at least one name and wrote it on the chart.  This was the first time in a combinatorics activity that I think they had some concept of having found the all possibilities.

The story problems were somewhat difficult, in particular, understanding what the problem was asking was sometimes tricky.  Their reading is pretty good, but long complicated questions are still difficult.  I had to help almost all the kids understand their questions.  About half the kids finished their own questions fairly quickly, and then I had those kids help the others with their problems.  There some interesting incorrect answers.  For the problem “There are 17 pizzas with 10 slices each, Michelangelo eats one slice from each pizza, how many are left?” the initial answer was 7 (17 – 10).  When another kid came to help, they realized it should be 9 * 17.  I suggested that they might take the initial pieces (170) and subtract the eaten pieces (17), which they could do.  Another interesting problem was “Leo has 2 swords, Raph has 2 sais, Dona has 1 bo, and Michel has 2 nunchuks.  Also, each turtle has 3 ninja stars.  How many total weapons?”  The initial answer was 10, adding all the numbers in the problem.  So, there’s clearly room to improve in translating story problems into math expressions.


The pinwheel wasn’t too bad for them, we can probably do something harder.  But the final step where you pull out the points was tricky for some of them.  One of the kids was eager to tell me that she could make an origami dragon, but we didn’t have time for a demonstration.

Unicorns and Legos

The Activities

  1. Topic: Square Numbers: Book: My Full Moon Is Square by Pinczes.
  2. Topic: Story Problems:  Navigate through a map of fantasy creature hexes, looking for the diamond hex. To move onto each square the kids have to solve a math problem.  Each fantasy creature asks a different type of story problem. Witches: solve a code. Dragon: Solve a money problem.  Troll: Story problem. Firefly: Find a square number bigger than X.  Unicorn: Fractions.  Maze: Complete a numeric pattern. When any team finds the diamond hex, both teams get to pick a small treasure from the box. We did this in two teams, 2 kids on one team, 3 kids on the other.
    The kids solved the following problems during this activity:

    1. (Firefly) First square bigger than 0.
    2. (Unicorn) Divide a circle in half, then split each piece into 3 pieces.  How many pieces do you have?
    3. (Unicorn) Divide a circle in half, then split each piece in half, then split each piece in half. How many pieces do you have?
    4. (Unicorn) Divide a circle in four pieces. Then split each piece in 3 pieces. How many pieces do you have?
    5. (Dragon) A diamond ring costs $100. How many rings can Hans buy with $125?
    6. (Dragon) Diamond earrings cost $20. How many earrings can Olaf buy with $207?
    7. (Troll) A troll had 12 muffins. He ate some of them. Now he has 7 muffins. How many did he eat?
    8. (Troll) There are 20 muffins. Some trolls came. Each troll ate 4 muffins. How many trolls are there?
    9. (Troll) 4 trolls brought muffins to a party. Each brought the same amount. There are 24 muffins at the party. How many did each troll bring?
    10. (Maze) Complete the pattern: 1 5 9 13 __   __
    11. (Maze) Complete the pattern: 1 2 2 3 3 3 4  __  __  __  __
    12. (Maze) Complete the pattern: 91 82 73 64 __   __   __
  3. Topic: Spatial Reasoning: I built several small models out of Legos. The kids each got a model and had to build an exact copy of it.
    Photo 2014-09-05 11.01.45 AM


This circle took longer to prepare for than many circles, because we had to create the hexes for the Fantasy Map activity.  We made them by searching for clip art of the various fantasy creatures, using PowerPoint we printed them out inside hexes.  You can download the PowerPoint here.  Then I glued the hexes onto poster board and cut them out.  I think we’ll be able to use these more than once.  During this activity the kids used pencil and paper, and also Base Ten Blocks to work out the story problems.  I used my standard treasure box which contains stickers and gum.

The lego activity took very little prep time, I just had to come up with some interesting simple models.

How Did it Go?

Both activities were really successful this week!  We had 5 kids at circle this week, which sometimes leads to a wild circle, but all the kids were well-behaved and concentrated on the activities.  In the Fantasy Map activity, some kids were able to solve the problems quickly on their own, but I made them explain it to their teammates to make sure everyone agreed before they got to move on to the next hex. Everyone was excited to pick a treasure when they found the diamond.  We played two rounds of the activity in about 20 minutes.

The Lego activity was also a big hit.  The kids cheered when they saw the Legos. Nobody wanted to leave at the end of circle, the kids wanted to copy all the models.