# Financial Awareness

A Token Economy and Fifth Grade Financiers
Students in Beth Moore's classroom know what to expect if they break class rules -- a big, fat fine! That's business as usual in a classroom where everyone receives a salary, maintains a checkbook, and designs and sells goods in the class store.

Adults should make it their business to teach young people that its not how much you make that ultimately determines your financial success in life, but rather what you do with what you make.

Schools Crayon Factory Offers Hands-On Economics Lessons
The challenge of teaching economics to second graders got easier at one Virginia school when a teacher created a crayon factory that allows students to learn first-hand about raw materials, producers, consumers, natural resources, and marketing.

Financial Literacy
Even young students can develop healthy habits of saving toward short-term and long-term goals, and intermediate students can learn to research and invest virtual money in the stock market.

Let's look at the qualities of questions that call on higher order thinking skills and consider how we can infuse our math classes with questions and activities that target those skills.

Spreadsheets: A Dynamic Path to Understanding Math
A spreadsheet program might be one of the most underappreciated assets on nearly every computer. Let's take a look at what we can gain from using spreadsheets in a classroom math program.

Teaching Place Value With Arrow Cards
Arrow cards are a set of place value cards with an "arrow" or point on the right side. Students can organize the cards horizontally or vertically to represent numbers in expanded notation, or overlap cards and line up arrows to form multi-digit numbers.

Picturing Mental Math
We can help students become more mathematically literate by giving them the tools for quick mental math and by modeling those tools concretely. Think of it as mental math with training wheels.

Math Problem Solving With Pictures
We teach students many problem-solving strategies, but probably the most powerful and flexible problem-solving strategy is, "Make a picture or diagram." Picturing a problem often is the key to helping students understand the problem and identify a solution.

The Heart of Mathematical Thinking
This Valentine Hearts Investigation engages students in collecting data, making predictions, and graphing. Included: A student worksheet, student data chart, and a Smartboard example of student work.

Connecting to Math in the News
Who needs word problems when the world around us is rich with real-life math problems? Discover some practical suggestions for tapping into newspapers and online news sources as an integral part of your math program.

Enhanced Visual Instructional Plans
A Visual Instructional Plan is a set of step-by-step visual prompts that provide an outline of what a student is expected to do. I'd like to propose an adaptation that also includes a thinkingprompt.

Connecting to Math in Real Life
It's easy to connect to the real world in math class with online collections of real-world math activities, math activities with a specific real-life focus (including natural disasters), online data sources, portals for collaborative math and science projects, and more.

What Is Math?
It is worth pursuing a clear understanding of the meaning and scope of mathematics so that we might provide our students with a richer learning experience and help them more fully appreciate the beauty and power of mathematics.

Math Flies Off the Shelf
Parents in Virginia learn to capitalize on "teachable math moments" at home in the kitchen with hands-on items like cereal and soup labels. The experience of using common household goods off the shelf to explore math has had unexpected outcomes.

Convince Me
When, instead of passively receiving and believing everything we tell them, students become hungry to convince and to be convinced, they become active learners. They are no longer doing a student's work, they are doing a mathematician's work.

Teaching with Rap
Educators from California to New York say that raps lively lyrics, meaningful messages, and familiar beat can be powerful tools for learning.

Psst! Have You Been to an NCTM Conference Lately?
There's something for every preK-12 math educator at an NCTM Annual Meeting. Here's one teacher's view on what to expect, why it's worth attending, and how to get the most out of the experience.

Merging his life-long love of racing and a classroom of fourth graders, teacher Tom Stock created a winning learning combination.

Winter Math
Whether charting cold weather or creating snowflakes, you'll find math comes alive in wintry explorations.

A look at some of the benefits; a variety of writing categories and topics; and suggestions for creating a positive environment for writing about math.

Twenty Questions for Math Class
This word-on-the-back version of Twenty Questions is a great way to review and synthesize new math vocabulary and concepts at the end of a unit.

Math Magic
Math magic creates a new context for algebraic reasoning as students go beyond "What's the answer?" to explore "What's the trick?"

Even Teachers Make Mistakes
Last year, when a student caught me in a careless math mistake, I laughed it off and said, "This is the first math mistake I've ever made!" From that point on, students took it as a friendly challenge to catch the math teacher making another math mistake.

Functions in the Real World
When we introduce students to functions, we typically bring the concept to life through the idea of function machines. But functions will really begin to come to life as our students find uses for functions in the real world.

Halloween Math
Halloween is a time for math fun -- for estimating and measuring pumpkin weights and waistlines; for drawing spiders with coordinates and discovering the math woven into spider webs; for categorizing costumes; and for graphing candy counts.

Fall Math
Fall presents special opportunities for bringing math to life in meaningful ways, as students observe and quantify changes in the world around them. Discover a windfall of math activities related to leaves, weather, and the changing seasons.

Math Heroes
How much richer an appreciation our students might have for mathematics as a living science if we share with them the budding of new ideas in math heroes past and present! It all begins with "I wonder."

Growing a Summer Math Garden
Summers almost here! Will the long summer yield a math drought, an occasional math drizzle, or a flourishing garden of math skills for your students? Discover some activities to help their summer math garden grow.

Probability
Probability is a numerical measure of how likely an event is to happen. Probability is measured in fractions between 0 and 1. (0 is impossible; 1 is certain.) Sometimes, probability is represented as a percentage -- from 0 percent to 100 percent.

Springtime Math
In springtime, you and your students might like to explore math in the great outdoors. Wendy Petti offers a number of creative ideas for teaching math outside the classroom.

Mean, Mode, and Median
Mean, median, and mode are averages. Mean is the average of a group of numbers. Median is the middle number in a list of numbers that have been arranged in order. Mode is the number that occurs most frequently in a list of numbers arranged in order.

A Student-Led Math Family Fun Night: The Logistics
Wendy Petti provides a step-by-step guide to help you plan a student-led Math Family Fun Night at your school.

Ratio and Proportion
A ratio is a comparison of two numbers. A proportion is a statement (or equation) that says two ratios are equal. If one number in a proportion is not known, cross-multiplying can be used to find the unknown number.

A Student-Led Math Family Fun Night: Learning from the Planning Process
A Math Family Fun Night planned and led by students presents wonderful learning opportunities for students -- and teachers too!

A Math Toolbox in Every Home
As teachers, we know the value of hands-on exploration with math manipulatives in school. We can extend the sense of discovery and empowerment into our students homes by helping them assemble math toolboxes to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Connecting Math Homework to the Community
Math problems rooted in neighborhood life ease the homework burden for students, parents, and teachers.

Strategies that Work: Teaching with Games
In the classroom, games can be used to review learned skills and to teach new ones. Games help build students academic confidence, improve their problem-solving skills, and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships.

Puzzles
What can children learn from and enjoy at the same time? Puzzles, that's what! Learn how you can use the inherent appeal of puzzles to sharpen students' thinking and problem-solving skills and reinforce concepts in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

The Prop Box: Setting the Stage for Meaningful Play
Dramatic play is an essential mode of learning for young children, and "prop boxes," play materials grouped by theme, make this activity even more effective. Find out how you can use these educational tools to guide your students toward meaningful role-playing and creative exploration.

Voice of Experience: Student-Centered Learning: The First Steps Are the Hardest Ones
Educator Melba Smithwick never had much difficulty adopting new ideas. But when a principal encouraged her to give students more say in their learning, Smithwick hesitated. Included: Smithwick shares those first, tentative steps.

Math Night by the Numbers
Is it time for a "Math Night" at your school? Math Nights get students excited about math, familiarize parents with the math curriculum, and encourage families to continue the fun of math at home. Included: Advice from organizers of Math Nights.

Sheila Tobias on Re-Thinking Teaching Math, Science
In an Education World e-interview, author and educator Sheila Tobias talks about her approach to teaching math and science -- and about teaching in general.

Hitting the Math Trail
The National Math Trail program shows teachers how their students can create mathematics problems based on what they see in their community. Students also use computer technology to submit their math problems to the National Math Trail Web site.

Kids Discover the Value of Learning Through Hands-On 'Hammer' Time
When master carpenter Perry Wilson showed his friend's son how to build a tree house, he discovered that he was really teaching the child the value of mathematics. The task brought to mind his own struggles with a learning disability and the failure of his school to help him realize his potential. As a result, Wilson quit his job and established If I Had a Hammer, a program that uses alternative methods, specifically the construction of a small house, to show kids how to put the material they are learning in school to work.

Worldwide Internet Math Project a Shoe-in for Success!
Students across the United States and the world joined fifth-grade students from Connecticut to count the number of metal eyelets on their shoes. The collected data is being compared, graphed, and calculated!

Chicago Students Help Pilot International Math and Problem-Solving Tests
This week, Chicago teachers took notes from a group of their best and brightest students, who participated in the World Class Tests trials. The overall goal of World Class Tests is to establish an international database of standards for mathematical achievement and problem solving.

Cooperative Learning Saves the Day! -- One Teacher's Story
Dr. Theodore Panitz was a popular educator whose courses filled with eager students, but he had a problem. When the time came to test the students' understanding of mathematical concepts, they struggled. His own investigation led Panitz to the discovery that his teaching method was building up his own powers of problem solving -- not his students'. What was the answer to this baffling problem? Cooperative learning! Included: Three of Panitz's favorite cooperative-learning activities and links to his cooperative-learning resources on the Web!

Interest Grows in Checkbook Math Lessons
Personal finance lessons are becoming popular in middle schools, and teachers say the lessons can help with basic skills and behavior. Several teachers tell Education World how they brought real-world skills into the classroom.

Math and Science Achievement: It Starts With Better Teaching!
The John Glenn Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century urges the nation to immediately set out to improve the teaching of math and science before other nations take over math- and science-related jobs throughout the world. The report spells out how states, the federal government, schools, and teachers can improve the quality of math and science teaching. Included: A checklist of steps teachers can take now to improve math and science instruction.

Why Are Chicago-Area Students Tops in the World in Math and Science?
A group of Chicago school superintendents set out to make their students www.ncrel.org/fitw/homepage.htm First in the World in science and math. Five years and \$1 million later, the educators have established a solid research base to help them make decisions for improving math and science curriculum and instruction.

Math and Literature -- A Match Made in the Classroom!
If you are seeking a new way to add relevancy to your classroom math activities, the answer may be right in your school library! Literature is the ideal vehicle to help your students see the importance of numbers in their daily lives. Included: Author Marilyn Burns is one educator who says, "Math and literature together? Why not!" She shares her thoughts with Education World. Plus more ideas for integrating math and literature!

Challenge + Fun = Math Achievement in Middle School
Middle school is a critical time for building math skills required in high school, college, work, and everyday life. Yet the Third International Mathematics and Science Study scored eighth grade middle school students in the U.S. below the international average of more than forty nations. Whats being done to improve performance? Look to math challenges that fire up thinking skills and are cool enough for middle grades. Included: Teachers and students comment about Figure This!, a new and challenging math resource available online and in hard copy. Also, more than a dozen other great online resources for connecting math and real life!

Stock Market Games Bring Math to Life
Are your students in the market for meaningful math? Check out these on-line stock market simulations! Included: A fourth-grade teacher and her students talk about a fun and educational on-line stock market game!

The Great Chocolate Experience: A K-12 Internet Project Makes Math Delicious!
"Almost everyone has some background knowledge about chocolate, and most students are motivated to learn more about it because they like chocolate," said one participant in The Great Chocolate Experience. "Those things make great conditions for effective learning!" Packed with graphing, calculations, and a few calories, The Great Chocolate Experience is a project that teachers and students are eating up! See how this integrated project began and find out how to join in the fun. Included: Comments from teachers across the grades who have participated!

Get Real: Math in Everyday Life
How many times have your students asked "When are we ever going to use this in real life?" Discover more than a dozen answers -- great Web sites for teaching real world math.

Does eighth-grade algebra breed math literacy or math phobia? The debate goes on.

You're Not in Math Class Anymore: Integrating Math Across the Curriculum
Are you having trouble integrating math with literature, geography, art, or music? Discover how one teacher brought her love of running into the classroom and, in the process, integrated all areas of her curriculum. Included: Internet sites for integrating math with literature, history, science, geography, health, art, and music!

And the Winner Is Math Competitions for Students
A little competition can inspire math students to greater achievement. This week, Education World highlights more than a dozen math competitions or contests. Included: Problem-solving and stock market competitions --- and the World's Largest Math Event!

Sports Math Scores Points with Students AND Teachers!
Looking for math activities to connect with this week's big Homecoming game? Teachers can grab students' interest with a site that teams math with sports -- and everyone comes out a winner! Included: Math teaching resources for all sports, all grades!

Educators Battle Over Calculator Use: Both Sides Claim Casualties
The philosophical war rages. On one side: the accused "kill and drillers," dedicated to times tables and long division, preaching the gospel of repetition and memorization. On the other side: alleged "fuzzy math" reformers preaching concept over content, insight over "right." Between them: the most visible symbol of the continuing conflict -- the classroom calculator.

Math Wars!
The TIMSS studies have incited a hot debate centered on the way in which mathematics is being taught in many classrooms in this country. Is a traditional approach better than a "whole math" approach? Which side will win out in America's "Math Wars"?

Make Puzzles Part of Your Game Plan!
Loads of Internet sites offer puzzles, riddles, word games, and other games to stimulate fun and learning. Check out a few of them! "Puzzle" your pupils! Included: Tips for integrating puzzles and other games into the curriculum!

Making Connections Between Math and the Real World!
A new secondary school math program, Math Connections, is changing the way teachers look at math -- and changing kids' attitudes toward its real-world value.

TIMSS: What Does It Mean For The Future of U.S. Math & Science Curriculum?
During 94-95, half a million eighth grade students from 41 countries sat to take a comprehensive test. The test known as the Third International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS) would evaluate and compare the math and science skills of students internationally.