Monday, May 8, 2017

Free to Discover 8th Grade Math


Interested in learning more about Free to Discover resources?  Read on!

As a math educator, I have always had one mission.  Make learning fun.  I was attracted to middle school because I felt there was so much untapped potential to reach students and help them see the magic in the mathematics. 


I want my students to:

DISCOVER big ideas and concepts themselves in order to experience those amazing “aha” moments.
ORGANIZE the information they are learning so that they can make sense of the topics we cover.
WORK at a pace or level that works best for them so that they don’t feel like they need to give up because they are too far behind.
ENJOY something {or many somethings!} they learn in math class and get them to admit it’s pretty cool.

Thus Free to Discover resources were born!



DISCOVERY-BASED LEARNING EXPERIENCES

The Free to Discover discovery-based worksheet series has been specially designed to engage students in learning that moves beyond traditional skills practice. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the big idea and will make connections between concepts. These worksheets make a great introduction to a new topic or summary at the end of a lesson or unit.

These activities probe further into the “why” and “what do you notice” types of questions.  When I deliver direct instruction I tend to insert comments like this into our discussions, but having a guided worksheet gives more students the opportunity to make those connections simultaneously and fosters student independence.

You can read more about discovery-based learning here.


HANDS-ON LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Students need to do math in order to learn math.  Worksheets are easy to come by or create but students {and teachers!} lose interest in the monotony of rote practice on a piece of paper.  Hands-on learning experiences keep students actively learning and sometimes they don’t even know it.

Types of activities that you’ll find among Free to Discover resources include task cards, stations, card games like Math War and Old Math Guy, scavenger hunts, matching games, card sorts, cut and paste activities, BINGO games and partner stations.

You can read more about some of these hands-on activities here.

One of my favorite ways to have students practice math is to use mini-whiteboards or my front whiteboard.  All you need is a list of practice problems ready to go (with answers).  You can even just open up a textbook if that’s accessible for you.  Or I’ve even been known to just make up problems off the top of my head and quickly do the math before students finish the problem.  You can make it work even with minimal prep time. 
For mini-whiteboards, students show their work on their board and circle their final answer.  It typically works best if you can have students wait to hold up their board until all or most students are done.  Before holding up boards, check in on students whom you know may have some difficulty and quietly help them.  This will give them some confidence when it’s time to hold up boards.  Then scan the room for answers, and talk about it at the front board if necessary. For the front whiteboard, call up 4-5 students at a time.  I select volunteers first then move to “non-volunteers” so everyone gets a chance or two at the front.  Students at their seats require paper and pencil so that they can do the work too.  Then say a problem verbally.  Students at the board do the work with a whiteboard marker and students at their desks do the work with paper and pencil.  Check the work at board and point out notation or strategies that you especially love.

DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING EXPERIENCES

I have always been fascinated by differentiated instruction.  In fact, I have multiple blog series dedicated to differentiated math strategies that you can use in your own classroom.

Catch up on all the posts here.


INVEST IN YOUR CLASS.

If you are eager to implement discovery-based learning and hands-on activities into your class, scoop up my new 8th Grade Math Discovery and Hands-On Activities Bundle.  I’ve done all the work for you!  Just print and go discover fun math connections with your students.



If you are looking for differentiated notes and practice to meet the needs of all students in your classroom, look no further!  Invest in the Free to Discover 8th Grade Differentiated Curriculum today.


And if you LOVE it all, scoop up the 8th Grade Math MEGA Growing Bundle to have access to all Free to Discover 8th grade math resources from now until forever.


Get more information in this FREE download:


Now it’s your turn to join the conversation!  What other discovery-based or hands-on activities do your students enjoy?



For more ideas and resources, subscribe to the Free to Discover blog!  You’ll receive a free resource via email just for signing up!



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