Monday, January 14, 2013

High School Math - Beyond the Textbook

Textbooks are a staple in high school math. They are a great format for providing information in an incremental manner, accompanied by examples and practice problems. Sometimes, though, math is just tough. Whether your student needs a different approach to mathematical concepts,additional practice or just a diversion, math games are a great addition to high school. Today, I'll show you some high school level games we've played in our home.
The folks at Muggins Math describe their games as "Aerobics for the mind" and say that they are appropriate for ages 4 through nuclear physicist. I think they're spot on! They have several games to choose from to help at all levels, but today I will highlight the games that we have used that apply to high school concepts. For the sake of economy, I purchased the write-on wipe off boards and used them with game markers (colored counting chips would work as well).

MUGGINS! / Opps!OPPS! - The Pre-Algebra Game of Opposites - Fractions can be frustrating, and practice can be tedious, but not with the game of OPPS! In this game, players add, subtract, multiply and divide negative numbers. There are directions for multiple levels of play, so this game can be used for a few years. I advise continuing to play it at least part way through your student's Algebra I year so that you can make sure they have those pesky fractions down cold!

DOWN and AROUND - This game also has multiple levels so that you can increase the level of difficultly as the players gain experience. As players take turns, they find the LCD and GCF of fractions derived from the roll of the dice! This game requires a lot of strategy as you work to advance and to block your opponent!

Another thing we've had some fun with is Patty Paper Geometry, published by Key Curriculum Press. Well, okay, what is patty paper? It's the thin parchment paper that butchers put between hamburger patties - and you can do amazing things with them to help your students understand geometric concepts. The book has twelve sets of "investigations," each having two sets of instructions. One set of instructions is a "guided investigation" where the students are given definitions and step by step instructions on how to create a particular construction and provides a fill in the blank theorem. The second set of instructions is an "open investigation." In this set, definitions and directions are provided and the student generates the theorem based upon the conclusions that they make observing their construction. You will find a total of 63 different investigations, each having both guided and open instructions, for a total of 126 investigations.
The twelve sets of investigations with their concepts are:
Investigation Set 1: Intersecting Lines (intersection of two lines; shortest distance between point & line; vertical & adjacent angles; linear pairs)
Investigation Set 2: Folding the Basic Geometric Constructions (angle bisector; perpendicular bisector, perpendicular from a given point to a given line; perpendicular through a point on a line; finding a line parallel to a given line through a given  point)
Investigation Set 3: Special Points of Intersection (perpendicular bisectors of the sides of a triangle; angle bisectors of a triangle; medians, altitudes, circumcenter, incenter and centroid of a triangle; Euler line)
Investigation Set 4: Three Big Ideas (polygon sum conjectures, isosceles triangle conjecture & it's converse; parallel lines conjecture & it's converse)
Investigation Set 5: Midsegment Conjectures (triangle and trapezoid midsegment conjunctures)
Investigation Set 6: Properties of Quadrilaterals (parallelogram; rhombus; rectangle; kite)
Investigations Set 7: Properties of Circles (Finding the center; tangents to a circle; tangent segments; central angles, arcs & chords; inscribed angles; angles inscribed in the same arc & in a semicircle; parallel lines through a circle; cyclic quadrilaterals)
Investigations Set 8: Congruent Triangles (side-side-side; angle-angle-angle; side-angle-side; angle-side-angle; side-angle-angle; side-side-angle)
Investigations Set 9: Transformations (translations; rotations; reflections; order of points after transformations; two reflections over parallel lines; two reflections over intersecting lines)
Investigations Set 10: Symmetry and Tessellations (reflectional symmetry of regular polygons; rotational symmetry of regular polygons; tessellations of regular polygons; tiling the plane with nonregular polygons; creating Escher-Style translation, rotation and glide reflection tessellations)
Investigations Set 11: Area (area formula for parallelograms, triangles, trapezoids, circles, parallelograms, triangles, trapezoids, circles)
Investigations Set 12: The Theorem of Pythagoras (the theorem & it's converse)

Now, I have to admit. I'm a curriculum junkie. I have some things on my shelf that I bought in case I might be able to use them one day. I also have quite a wish list going. Here's a list of the different games or activity books I either have or wish for, but haven't used yet:

Is Democracy Fair? The Mathematics of Voting and Apportionment - using mathematics to explore ballots, decision procedures, alternatives to the "winner take all" approach; investigate different methods for the apportionment of Congressmen to the House of Representatives; how voting apportionment methods are used in non political situations; includes outline for long term research paper on voting & apportionment in a country other than the U.S..

Squaring the Circle: Geometry in Art and Architecture - here's the description from Amazon: 
          includes all the topics necessary for a solid foundation in geometry and explores 
          the timeless influence of geometry on art and architecture. The text offers wide-ranging 
          exercise sets and related projects that allow students to practice and master the mathematics 
          presented. Each chapter introduces mathematical concepts geometrically and illustrates 
          their nontraditional applications in art and architecture throughout the centuries. 
         Appropriate for both basic mathematics courses and cross-discipline courses in mathematics 
         and art, Squaring the Circle requires no previous mathematics.

Building Kites: Flying High with Math - this book is designated for 5-8th grade, but I know some high school students who would love to build a kite! By building different polyhedral kites, students learn about scale, tangent function and estimation. 

Fantasy Baseball and Mathematics - students create fantasy teams by picking players, follow their statistics and use algebraic and non-algebraic methods to calculate their team's total points. Lesson plans and activities are included. There is an accompanying student workbook. Additionally, the publisher has fantasy sport and mathematics books for football, basketball and soccer.

Equate: The Equation Thinking Game - this is Scrabble for mathematics! Players connect tiles vertically and horizontally to make mathematically correct equations. There are tiles for numbers and symbols. This game is adaptable for all levels by purchasing additional tiles sets. The Advanced Tiles Set includes negative and positive integers, integer exponents, fractions, the four basic operations, and equal symbols. The Jr. Tile Set contains whole numbers with more 0's and 1's, fractions with denominator 2, the four basic operations with extra addition and subtraction tiles and equal symbols.
I enjoy bringing the out of the ordinary into the ordinary homeschool day - it's often a much needed reprieve. Let me know if you try any of these games or activities and how they worked out for your high schoolers!  

Stop by Homeschooling Hearts & Minds and thank Susan for organizing the Virtual Curriculum Fair! 

As the stops on the Virtual Curriculum Fair become available this week, I'll add them below so that  you can browse. Don't forget to make yourself a cup of tea as you read!

Delight Directed Middle School Science?  by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds ~ The Hardest Part of Math by Kristi @ The Potter's Hand Academy ~ A Tour Through Our Math and Science Life by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool ~ What Works for Us…Math by Piwi Mum @ Learning & Growing the Piwi Way ~ Math Art – Geometry by Julie @ Highhill Education ~ It's Math-magical by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings ~ Virtual Curriculum Fair: Fun and Games with Math by Tonia @ The Sunny Patch ~ Discovering Patterns by Lisa @ The Golden Grasses ~
Math for the Natural by Erin @ Delighting in His Richness ~ Virtual Curriculum Fair~ Discovering Patterns by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me ~ Too Many Math Programs or Not by Linda B @ Homeschooling6 ~ Virtual Curriculum Fair:  Math and More!  by April @ Coffee, Cobwebs,
and Curriculum ~ The post where I admit I was wrong by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset ~ Discovering a World of Logic and Order by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory ~ 2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair- Discovering Patterns: Mathematics,Logic, and Science by Leah C @ As We Walk Along the Road ~ The Plans of Mice and Math (My Math in Focus review) by Chelli @ The
Planted Trees ~ Rightstart Math is right for us! by Leann  @ Montessori Tidbits ~ Our Favorite Homeschool Math Curriculums by Wendy @ Homeschooling Blessings


Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this with the Virtual Curriculum Fair. I had heard of some of these, but I've never gotten around to checking them out...I need to do that. ;0)

jmommymom said...

Folding geometry sounds like origami and a math lesson combined into one. Great find.

Kristi said...

These look like WONDERFUL resources as we get into the middle and high school stages. Thanks so much for sharing them!

TechWife said...

I'm glad you are all enjoying learning about the resources!