Sunday, October 28, 2012

Multiplication Mug Rugs

I'm scrap, scrap, scrappin' it up over here this week!

If you remember, the last two math quilts I made were about multiplication concepts. Needless to say, I had lots of little square inches left over.

Since basic multiplication facts are always at the focus of attention in elementary school, I decided to use those scraps and make some multiplication mug rugs! A 'mug rug' is a bigger than a coaster and smaller than a place mat, so it makes the perfect size 'rug' to have at your desk or table. I use them all of the time for my drink and a snack. Everyone needs one or three.

These mug rugs are extra special because they also show how the distributive property works with basic facts. There are certain facts that are harder than others. When you talk to a student, they might say, "oh yeah, the fives are easy, so are the tens, twos are doubles." It is facts like 8 x 6, 8 x 7, 7 x 6, 7 x 7, 8 x 8, 8 x 9 etc. that are the hardest ones. WHY? Well, because generally we combine other facts and patterns to help solve these. Yes, my friends, there is so much to learn beyond memorizing them. If your teacher only told you to memorize them and not conceptually understand them...I am so sorry! Don't worry, you can still learn them in a different way! Here's an example:

Fact: 6 x 9 = 54
The front of the mug rug is an area model showing 6 rows of 9 inches in each row.
If you didn't know 6 x 9, you could break up the area model and use a fact you do know to help.
Do you know your 5s? Look at the colors on this mug rug.
Green: 6 rows of 5 (6 x 5 = 30) Orange: 6 rows of 4 (6 x 4 = 24) So, 30 + 24 = 54.

(The bottom photo is the backside...another enjoyable place to put your mug!)

Fact: 6 x 9 = 54

Can you figure out how I broke this fact up differently? I split up the rows instead of the columns this time. Try to write the number sentences!

Okay, check yourself:
(4 x 9) + (2 x 9)
   36 + 18 = 54
Fact: 6 x 9 = 54

Similar to the first rug mug, yet different. Why is that?

Also, this one has a really scrappy backside! I tried to use every leftover piece!

Fact: 6 x 10 = 60

I started running out of square inches, so I partitioned this one into 4 different parts. Can you figure them out?

This mug rug is for Annie Kitty's food and water bowl. She needed a little extra room so I added a column. How many square inches did the rug increase?

Fact: 6 x 9 = 54

Yet another way to partition this fact! How many more ways can you do this same fact?

If you know a student who has trouble memorizing their facts...Get some grid paper and have them draw an area model for the one they are having trouble on! Tell them to split it in as many ways as they can do it.

One thing I know for sure, they will be doing more math this way than they would have done with flashcard drills.

All in all, my main point is that there are lots of different ways to use smaller facts to help you solve larger problems. Find what works for you! Over time, you will begin to automatize your facts and become fluent. The best part of truly understanding facts in this way is that pretty soon you will begin to multiply 2 x 2 digit numbers mentally!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Square Bottom Bag

I sure love a good bag. Without actually trying to be a bag lady, sometimes I settle into the role quite comfortably. Does anyone else feel my pain? ; )
This last weekend I attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference in Dallas. Although the conference wasn't even three full days, I packed all of my belongings in 4 different bags: One suitcase, one computer case, one ATPE bag and my new square bottom bag!
I truly tested this bag out the past two weeks and guess what? It passed the durability test! One night I even stuffed it full with 10 books, a purse, shoes and my iPad. The best part of this bag is the sturdiness of the handles...I love quilting parallel lines!
My label completes the look. These bags are also helping me practice my free motion quilting, too!
Here is a red square bottom bag that will soon belong to my awesome math friend, Dana. I'm confident she's going to love it! Do you need one for your bag collection? Let me know your favorite color and I'll stitch one up for you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sweet as Honey

Life is busy. That’s a fact. Here’s another fact: No matter how busy life gets, we must make time for our loved ones!

My sweet friend, Nina, is entering into a new chapter in her life. Motherhood! She is expecting a baby girl, Kayla Rae, to arrive in December. When I visited with Nina this summer, I just knew that I had to come home for her baby shower. I figured even if it is only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, they are precious moments.

After my plane ticket was purchased, I just needed to figure out what to make little Kayla! I had several ideas percolating through my mind, but I kept coming back to this Love My Honey fabric collection by Jenni Calo. To me it symbolized many things...

1. Sweetness: Honey is sweet just like Nina, her loving family and her soon-to-be-born baby.
2. Bees: We are all like busy bees, trying to keep up with our own lives while still keeping in touch with those we love.
3. Mint and Honey: The color palette of this fabric just reminded me of Nina.

Once I washed and ironed all of the fabric, I remembered that beehives are made up of several little hexagons. In fact, some of the material even had hexagons on it. So, I had a new challenge! All of my past quilts were squares and/or rectangles. As I made the template for the pattern with my grid paper, I started to get excited. This is where that 1st and 2nd grade math standard about composing and decomposing shapes to make new shapes comes in…I decomposed the hexagon into 2 trapezoids so I could sew everything a little easier! I love a little real-life application of math!

After I made the quilt top I had some fabric left over. I made a small, soft blanket for Kayla to hold, a dress and little shoes! Everyone brought a book to the shower instead of a card, so of course, I had to pick up a Little Golden Book…Yes. It’s a math book.

I love how quilts fold up so beautifully! 

And lastly, my Grandma Marge told me this weekend to do absolutely everything you want to do while you are young and still able to do it. For me, going to my dear friend’s baby shower was one of those things. I’ll cherish the memories of passing her the gifts as she opened them, finally meeting her sweet pooch, Lulu, and visiting with family in her beautiful home after the shower. Now…I just can’t wait to meet little Kayla! J