Using the Date to Encourage
Extra Math Thinking
Last year I started adding a little extra math into my classes, homeroom and last period (homeroom students again) - by using the date! I went to a conference years ago and this was one of the ideas in the book we were given. I hadn't used the idea in a while, so I brought it back in two ways:
1) Use all the digits in the date to create an equation. The digits should stay in the same order they are in the date, and any operation signs can be added in between any digits. The equal sign can also be placed between any digits.
Digits can be used as exponents, as in the example shown, and you can add square roots signs if you can find a way to use them.
2) The other way I used the dates was to write the date so that students have to solve an expression for each number in the date.
It's been fun to see some students writing these in the corner of their notebooks during class! Others have asked to write their equations on the board during the last period of the day.
What I love about these ideas are that they are quick, can be done at any time (beginning of class, finished early time, closing of class, or in homeroom) and they help kids to expand their number sense and use some "out of the box" thinking. The "date as an expression" idea can also be expanded to challenge students: students can create their own expressions, students can solve the expressions (using the bar as a division sign - a student did this on his own one day!), and if you happen to make a "mistake," students can find it correct it!
I also look at the date-writing as a way to introduce notation my students haven't seen before, like the cube root, as well as reinforcing some concepts, like exponents. I don't know about your students, but mine often forget that 2 cubed means 2 x 2 x 2, not 2 x 3. Using the exponents in the date keeps bringing that concept back for review.
Update: I've started posting math dates at the beginning of every week on Instagram (always on Instagram) and Facebook (most weeks on FB), so if you'd like to use them, I hope you'll follow me on one of those platforms (if you aren't already).
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Hi, I'm Ellie! I've been an educator for more than 20 years, teaching all subject areas at both the elementary and middle school levels.