Archive for the ‘Math’ Category

How to Make Graham Cracker Dominoes

Monday, January 23rd, 2017


Why not make these fun Graham cracker dominoes? You will need a box of Graham crackers, some peanut butter, and a bag of chocolate chips.

Begin by opening the package of Graham crackers and placing one on the table. Open the peanut butter and hand your kid a table knife to spread the peanut butter over the cracker. Then open a package of chocolate chips and pour them into a bowl. Your kids can decide how many chocolate chips to place in each square of the cracker.

This activity is great for toddlers and preschoolers because you can teach them about numbers and counting. You can play a game of dominoes as they munch on their math snack. Plus, it tastes really great!

If you don’t mind making a mess, you can have your kids play a HUGE game of dominoes, using a whole package Graham cracker dominoes! Match the numbers together, and take turns until all the Graham crackers have been used up.

To find more hands-on math activities and games, here is my most popular math post:

Clock Cake

Friday, October 28th, 2016


If you have a friend who loves math, or someone who is constantly late and you want to give them a hint to start being on time, then you can bake this fabulous clock cake.

To make this super cute cake, you will need two round cake pans. I used one cake mix box. You can bake whatever flavor you want. When the cake is cool, place the cake on a plate, cover it with cellophane, and put it in the fridge. A cake is always easier to frost when it has been in the refrigerator.

Frost the cake with white frosting. If you want to be fancy, you can put strawberry jam in between the two layers. Then grab some Hershey’s kisses, turn them upside-down, and use one for the center of the clock. Place one on the top, one on the bottom, one on the right, and one on the left. Then place two Hershey’s kisses equidistantly between the others, so that you have twelve kisses going around the clock where the numbers should be.

Grab some Fruit by the Foot or other Fruit Roll-up-type candy. Cut out the arrow hands with scissors and place them on the cake. Then put a “ribbon” of Fruit by the Foot around the entire cake to give it a polished look. Now your clock cake is complete. Enjoy!

LEGO Algebra: Learning Algebraic Formulas

Monday, April 13th, 2015


I’ve seen arithmetic done with LEGOs for lower-level elementary math, taking individual LEGO pieces and adding them up, making graphs, and learning about fractions. But LEGO algebra is something I’ve never seen–not until my son Stephen decided that it was possible to write out algebraic equations with white LEGOs on a green base. It’s particularly helpful to write out these algebraic equations to memorize formulas because the tactile component of feeling the LEGOs with your fingers can cause your kinesthetic learners to internalize the formulas more quickly.

The act of building the equations you want to memorize will help you internalize them. My son Stephen has written an explanation for the algebraic equations that he built out of LEGOs:

  • In the picture on the left, you have a couple of algebraic systems–each of which is two equations which are related to each other in some way. The system on the top can be solved with the subtraction method by first multiplying both sides of the top equation by 3 and both sides of the bottom one by 2, then subtracting the two equations to remove x and solve for y. (The answer happens to be 2.) We can put the answer for y in one of the equations; let’s do 3x+5y=16, making 3x+5(2)=16. After solving, the answer to system 1 is x=2, y=2.
  • The system on the bottom can be solved by substitution with the knowledge that y is equal to the expression x-9. With that information, we can substitute the y in the second equation with x-9, and so solve for x. (The answer is 9.) Then we do the same as we did with system 1 and solve for y (y=x-9    y=9-9    y=0). So the answer is x=9 y=0.
  • The picture on the right is three equations which represent various graph shapes. The top one is the equation for a parabola, the middle one is the equation for a circle, and the bottom one is the equation for an ellipse. The yellow dots represent that number or variable raised to the second power (or squared).

Hopefully these explanations can help your high school student understand algebra in a tactile way so that your student is less likely to forget the algebraic formulas. Who knew that LEGO algebra would be possible? My son found a way!

Financial Literacy for Kids: Pirates!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014


I received a copy of this book for free and was compensated for an honest review.

If you have been looking for a creative way to teach financial literacy for kids, Pirates of Financial Freedom is a fun book that will do just that! Who knew that a fiction novel about pirates could teach so much that a regular math program leaves out?

This book is probably best for teens, since my three sons understood all the concepts, but my daughter who is 9 had trouble with a couple of the more complicated concepts like compound interest. She still learned quite a lot, though, and we were all on the edge of our seats when the pirate ship encountered a dangerous sea serpent. The financial concepts are woven into the main plot line quite well, as you will see when you watch my kids goofily trying to re-enact a couple of scenes merged together from the book.


Lessons on Financial Literacy

For the fun and goofy video my children performed about this book, I chose two scenes that took place in stores. One was a hat shop where a pirate was buying a lot with a credit card without having the money in the bank to pay for it. The pirate assumed that he would be getting more treasure in pirate raids in the near future, but choosing to spend money before you have it is the way poor people act. Rich people spend below their means, and they have the money in the bank to pay for their purchases when the credit card bills come.

The other scene was a 70-year-old pirate talking about saving for retirement. His brother began saving for retirement when he was 25, and at 40 he stopped saving. The old pirate himself did not start saving until he was 40, and he’s been saving for 30 years. So his brother only saved for 15 years, and he himself saved for 30 years–double the amount of time. They both saved 300 doubloons a month. At the end of that time, who do you think had the most money? Watch the goofy pirate video to find out the unexpected answer.

Goofy Pirate Video about Financial Literacy

And there you have it! The Pirates of Financial Freedom will teach financial literacy for kids, showing them how to have better financial skills while listening to a fun story about pirates!


Cool Treasure Hunt to Find Financial Literacy:

You can download a sample of the book here:

Go on a treasure hunt to find more chapters of this fun book!

If you would like to use this book as part of a pirate unit study, take a look at my free awesome pirate unit study:

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Buy the book, available in hardback and e-book: Pirates of Financial Freedom


Book Giveaway & Free Financial Consultation :

Enter to win one of three autographed hardcover copies of the book, plus 2 hours of financial consulting time with the author (for kids or parents!) Giveaway ends November 27, 10pm Central Time.


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