December 8, 2010

Professor Pig's Lectures on "The Magic Numbers"

Ellen has created a wonderful little set of math activities which aim at making math a successful subject but more than that her Professor Pig's Magic Math series is just plain fun....and it's FREE!
Ellen says this about it...

"Professor Pig's Magic Math is all about thinking like a mathematician. People who are good at math don't just memorize facts! They understand numbers and they see number patterns everywhere. Professor Pig begins by teaching his students the "magic numbers": the numbers that add up to 10. Using these five facts as a base, students are taught to see patterns that will allow them to easily add facts like 8+3 and 7+5, without any memorization. Stacks of many numbers are easily added using these number patterns."

At the beginning of the book Professor Pig gives a wonderful lecture about magic numbers and the magic number pairs and how they work. Once it has been explained that all the factors of ten are magic pairs and how that works then Ellen has provided several hands on and mental math activities to further reinforce this concept. Following are some we have tried and liked.

This is called "Penny Bowling". The player sets up the pennys like bowling pins and then shoots his nickle at the pennys. Any pennys which leave the printed spot are counted and the number put in the first blank on the left. In this case T.J. shot 6 pennys away. Then he subtracts 6 from 10 and puts in the answer...4. If he isn't sure if this is correct he simply counts the remaining pennys in the set up....OR he recalls the magic number pair for 6 and knows it is four. Then he shoot once again and that number is put in the blank below the 4. It is then subtracted. If T.J. is unsure of his answer he can count the remaining pennys. Then he must remove all the numbers and re-set up the pennys to do more problems.

This is called "Stop and Go Road." The student can only drive over the numbers which he/she is able to shout out the magic number pair of. For example the first number here is get a sum of ten you must add 7 to it so the student shouts 7 and passes to the next number. He/she then continues on down the number line until all the magic pairs have been noted. Once the boys got good at this we did races with different number lines and we lengthened the number lines. You can do the same thing again and again with different motifs. Below I tried a bee on flowers.

As the bee lands on a flower with a number the magic pair must be shouted out. Ellen has provided a butterfly and some flowers also.

These are not your usual flash cards for math. They read right to left, top to bottom.
Ellen says....
"This game has several benefits. It forces the brain to consolidate information into chunks. The brain will look for ways to make remembering easier, and it will (hopefully) discover that the magic number pairs are just one piece of information, not two seperate numbers."

There are four more lesssons in addtion to this one making five in all. It is a wonderful supplement to any math program it is a fun unit in our own living math adventure.
Thanks so much Ellen!!

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