I got the idea for what I am doing for area from this post over at Jack of all Trades.  I love how Leslie writes the title on the top of the page with certain things drawn in to remind them about the formulas.  Like this-

So I am using her idea for each of the shapes we need to study in 7th grade.  Here is what we did for rectangles today:


I plan on using colors and highlighting the sides you need to find the area of each specific shape.  Hopefully it helps!

Here are the shapes I will be using for the notes in case you want them…


Percent of a Number

I forgot my flash drive at home, so I can’t attach any of these files, but if you are interested, just let me know!

Yesterday and today we worked on finding the percent of a number.  Our textbook shows two different methods- using proportions and writing sentences.  I think the writing sentences method is much much easier for the kids to understand.

So I started with a half sheet of paper.  On the paper were the only words students would see in these sentences.  After the words, I had the students write in the translation.  We talked about how in Spanish class they translate English into Spanish so today we are going to translate English into math.

What (or what number)-  X

Percent- %

Of- *

Is- =

Then I gave them this worksheet to glue in on the next page:


We translated the first few together.  So “What percent of 84 is 21?” became “X% * 84 = 21”.  We talked a lot about how you simply go word by word and translate each word into the math sentence.  Then we can solve the multiplication equation.

I felt like this part went really well.  Even the students who typically struggle with math really got it and they understood the process.

Then I gave students a list of 5 sentences that all had the percent given but the original number was missing, so “10% of a number is 80”.  Without translating into math or solving the problems, students were asked to put these 5 sentences in order from least to greatest answer.  Then students wrote about why they put the problems in this order.  This was a major struggle for them, but I think that is good.  They just have no experience writing about math and writing about their thinking.  I plan to do a lot more practice with them on this!  After writing, I put them into groups of 3-4 and had them compare and discuss their answers.  I thought this was really valuable as well.  So many kids had drastically different answers because they really didn’t understand how to put the numbers in order in the first place.  (Which I saw and anticipated from the beginning and I was ok with this because it would provide much more discussion when they disagreed.)

Overall, I loved what we did with this lesson and what the kids took out of it!

EDIT: Here are the files that I didn’t upload earlier!

Percent of a Number Note Page

Percent of a Number Performance Task

Percent of a Number Activity

Unit Rates

On Friday, we did some work with unit rates.  I had the kids cut out ads from the newspaper.


Then they glued the ads into their notebooks:


Then they found the unit rate for each of their items.

Students then FINALLY got to do my #made4math from a few weeks ago- scratch offs.  They LOVED doing this and it made them so much more concerned about checking their answers instead of not caring a moving on. 

Equivalent Ratios

Phew!  I have loved working on the If the World Were a Village projects, but I am so not a project- lovin’ gal!  By the end of the unit, Iwas so ready to get back to a regular activity with a little more structure.  I will take pictures of the final produts and tell you how we finished up the projects as soon as I grade them.

So today, I did an activity where students had to match up equivalent ratios, then write some of their own ratios.


After my first class, I thought it was pretty successful, but then my second class had absolutely no clue where to even start.  I directed them to the ratio 1/2 since most students are most familiar with that number as a fraction and can easily give answers.  The problem is that they were so stuck on making the 1 into a 2, so when I asked why something like 3/6 was equivalent, they would just say “3 is half of 6” instead of recognizing the relationship between the 1/2 and the 3/6.  So then when they saw something like 2/5, and they couldn’t make 2 into 5 by multiplying by a whole number, they had no idea where to start to find an equivalent ratio.  I stopped the activity and did some whole class explanation, but I am going to need to go back and make a new plan for tomorrow.

Equivalent Ratios

On another note, I got an iPad for my room this week!  I am so excited to jump in and see what can be done with it.  If you have any awesome ideas for proportions, I need some ideas!

Graphing Inequalities Day 2

Today we began by doing a words-inequality-graph matching activity.  This went pretty fast and I was very happy to see that a few of my kids who struggle a lot were very successful on this activity!  Love it when kids like this can feel success instead of being frustrated yet again!

Here is a better picture:


Then we played a graphing dice game.


I took my regular dice and put stickers on each side, one for <, >, then < or = and > or =.  I don’t know how to do the fancy symbols on here 🙂  I also did double of two of them to fill the six sides.  I gave each group one of these dice and one regular die.  The students had to roll the inequality die to get the symbol, then the number die to get the number, then graph that inequality.  I had several students tell me that they loved it and it was fun!  Yay!


Graphing Inequalities Day 1

Today we had shortened hours because of state testing, so we did not have a lot of time in class, but we did get some basic graphing inequalities notes.

I started off giving each student 4 different colored post its.  I knew that the kids were in the interactive notebook groove when several of them immediately said to me, “Do we glue them in?” 

I had the kids draw pencil lines around the outside of the post it, so when we took them off, they would know the area that they had to write the notes in, and could put the post its back where they came from.  I then had the kids write the 4 inequality symbols down, one per post it.

Then under each post it, we wrote details about the specific symbol.  An example inequality, then two numbers that could fit into the inequality, then a graph of that example.


The kids loved the post its!

Solving One Step Equations

We did a ton of practice with one step equations this week.  I began with a four door foldable, but only had the kids fill out the top two doors on addition and subtraction on the first day.


I always have the kids do 2 colors for their notes, one for the problem and one for the work.  This is my attempt to show them what they will be given for the problem vs what they will have to do.  I also feel like the kids are focused a little more simply because they can write in marker and marker is fun!

Then the kids did a pass the equation activity.  I stole this from someone, so if it was you, let me know because I can’t find the original post and want to give you credit!  The first person made up an equation and wrote it on the top of the notecard, then they passed it to person 2 who could only do the inverse operation, then to person 3 who had to solve the problem.  Then they passed back to the owners to grade the problem. 


The next day, we did my #made4math equation envelopes activity.  Really, the kids were just practicing solving a bunch of equations, but thinking of the variable like an envelope with the answer hidden inside.  Then they checked their answers with actual envelopes.  Just a little something out of the ordinary instead of me checking for them. 


Then we filled in the last two doors in the foldable, multiplication and division.


And finally, my very first tarsia puzzle.  I have been reading so much about these in the blog world.  This tarsia had all 4 operations, and they had to solve the equations and match them up to sides that had the answer.  This went pretty well.  I for sure would do this again for my advanced class, but my other classes struggled more with it.


Ready to move on to inequalities next week!

Words into Math


Yesterday, we did an activity where kids matched up the word phrase to the algebraic phrase.  It went fine, but there were definitely some things I needed to fix!

1. There was no point to having them cut out both the words and the algebra.  Next time I would just give them the words already printed on the page and a smaller sheet with just the algebraic phrases.  Good thing we realized that in my first hour and so I just had them cut out the whole column and glue it down in one piece.

2. In having them just glue down the first column, the kids noticed that I had not mixed up the algebraic phrases column very well.  And the pointed it out.  A lot 🙂

3. I made it way too easy.  I did not have many problems with the same number or the same variable, so they didn’t have to do a whole lot of thinking, just matching the numbers and letters.  Not awesome on my part.  The happy accident was that I did have a few that were something like m – 9 and the font I used made it look just like a 6 – w.  Of course, I didn’t tell them which one it was and made them figure it out.  So that made me feel a little better to make them think at least that much.

I had it in my head that this was going to be a little more difficult for them, so we also had the dreaded down time when kids were finished and I was not prepared with a spectacular idea to fill that time.  So I had to do some quick thinking.  Thanks to Dan Meyer’s Three Act Tasks I had something great for them to do.  I do need to have more awesome, engaging, mind stretching time fillers ready for the future, though!


Translating Words into Math

So today I did an activity that I really didn’t think would be that big of a deal.  I had a nice little plan for something simple but it turned out to be one of the most successful activities we have done all year!  I think this goes back to my previous post about realizing that I was packing way too much into my activities and expecting a lot more out of my kids than they are ready to give right now.

So originally, I had planned to do this activity from Katie over at Middle School Math Madness.  I love the visual of the signs and writing the words right on those signs.  So much more fun than just making a list.  I also love, love, love the “turn around words” so kids know when those tricky subtraction problems don’t actually go in the same order as they are written in the problem.

Then I saw Sarah’s dry erase sleeves over at Everybody is a Genius.  She did a similar activity but had all of the words she wanted the kids to write on the signs in a dry erase sleeve so they could cross the words off as they placed them.  Love it!

I combined the two together.  I had the kids cut out the signs gave the kids a list of the words in my page protector sleeves.  They had to divide the words up and write them on the signs they belonged to.  Bam!  I had my old group back.  They were all on task and working so well together.  It was perfect!

Also, I overheard this great conversation:

Student 1: I think the word sum needs to go on the equal sign.

Student 2: No, I think it should go on the plus sign, because it tells us to add to get our answer.

Student 1: But I think because it means the answer to an addition problem, it should go on the equal sign.

Me: Wow guys, I love this discussion!  We are actually going to put it on the plus sign because even though it talks about the answer to the problem, it is specifically the answer to an addition problem, so we will put it on the plus sign.

(Now here’s the great part) Student 1: Ok guys, so that means we know for sure where product, difference, and quotient go, too!


#made4math- Equation Envelopes

Some of my students still struggle with the concept of solving one step equations.  I made this activity so that they start to think about the variable as an envelope and they are trying to figure out what is inside.  This will lead nicely into multi step equations when I hope to compare the equations to a gift that you need to unwrap.  First the ribbon, then the paper, etc.  So I wrote the answer for each probelm on a notecard, then put the card in an envelope.  Each group will get one envelope per problem.

I hate that none of my assignments that I upload to scribd look the same after I upload them.  I promise, it was super cute and lined up nicely when I uploaded it!  Feel free to fix and/or change if you want it!

Here it is!