Why You Should Be Using WODB to Ignite Student Thinking in Math

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Why You Should Be Using WODB to Ignite Student Thinking in Math

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Great math teachers know that the first five minutes of class are the most important—if you don't engage your kids early, then you'll be struggling to gain their attention for the entire class.

But finding fun and engaging warm-up activities can be challenging, as students can quickly become bored with routine and repetitive practice problems

If you are looking to make your math warm-ups more visual and thought-provoking, then starting your lessons with Which One Doesn’t Belong? (WODB) activities is a great strategy for instantly sparking creative and critical student thinking that will last for the entire lesson.

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How do WODB activities work? 

Instead of working on practice problems during a lesson's warm-up, students will observe and reflect upon a graphic displaying four images. They will then apply their mathematical and reasoning skills to decide which of the four items does not belong and also justify why their choice is valid.

 

Are WODB activities like visual multiple choice questions? 

Nope.

WODB activities do not have a single correct answer. These graphics are designed to be interpreted in a variety of different ways in order to spark deep mathematical thinking and discussion (in small groups, whole class, or both).

Here's an Example:

Consider the graphic below and the different responses by Students A, B, and C.

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Student A says: I think 27 doesn’t belong because it is the only value that is not divisible by four. Also, 27 is the only odd number in the group.

Student B says: I think 64 doesn’t belong because all of the other numbers are either a perfect square or a perfect cube, but 64 is both!

Student C says: I think 16 doesn’t belong because it is not a perfect cube and the other three are.

Notice that all three students have engaged in deep mathematical thinking and their curiosity and interest will carry on throughout the day’s lesson!

As teacher, you can steer this discussion in a variety of directions by asking follow-up questions like:

What justification could you use to say that 8 doesn’t belong?

What other justifications could student A have used to decide that 27 does not belong?

How can students A, B, and C all be correct even though they each chose different values?

 What topics and grade levels are WODB activities best suited for?

WODB activities can be used for all grade levels and topics. The graphics can be topic/lesson specific or more broad and open-ended. Remember, the idea is to spark enough student thinking, interest, and curiosity at the beginning of your lesson to last for the entire class!

Are you ready to give it a try?

Here are a few free graphics for you to try with your kids!

Looking for more? Download your 101 WODB Warm-Up Activities for Grades 1-9 eBook!

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Looking for more?

You can now share 101 daily WODB warm-up activities for grades 1-9 with your kids with our PDF workbook! click here to learn more

 
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Do you have experience using WODB activities with your math students? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
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Are Your Kids Ready for 13 Days of Spooky Math Challenges?

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Are Your Kids Ready for 13 Days of Spooky Math Challenges?

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Are you prepared to keep your students focused on learning math during the excitement of the Halloween season?

Sometimes it takes more than an extra shot of espresso in your pumpkin spice latte to get the job done and savvy math teachers know how to channel their student's excitement into holiday-themed activities.

And since preparing activities cab be time-consuming (and you're already so busy this school year as it is), my gift to you this Halloween season is 13 Days of Spooky Math Challenges

The following printable Halloween Math Worksheets allow you to inject a little bit of spooky mathematics into your lessons this month.

Each Halloween Math Worksheet shares a challenge question (answers are included) appropriate for all elementary and middle school grade levels - they are perfect for warm-ups, exit tickets, and homework and extra credit assignments.

Parents can also share these fun challenge questions with your kids to keep them engaged and thinking mathematically this fall.

Now let's get problem-solving!

Download Instructions: You can download any of the challenges by right-clicking the image and saving it to your computer or by dragging-and-dropping each image to your desktop.


1.) Day 1 of 13

(Hint: Notice that it takes two black cats to make one pumpkin!)

Black Cat = 6

Cauldron = 14

Pumpkin = 12

? = 8

 

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2.) Day 2 of 13

(Hint: Start with the bucket!)

Candy = 9

Zombie = 1

Bucket = 7

Cat = 5

? = 35


3.) Day 3 of 13

(Hint: Notice that the pumpkin and the witch's hat have the same value!)

Ghost = 8

Bat = 1

Pumpkin = 4

Witch's Hat = 4

? = 31

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4.) Day 4 of 13

(Hint: Start with the haunted house and don't forget order of operations)

Spider Web = 10

Witch = 5

Moon = 7

Haunted House = 8

? = 30


5.) Day 5 of 13

(Hint: Start with the ghost first!)

Ghost = 13

Scarecrow = 4

Tree = 7

? = 16

 

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6.) Day 6 of 13

(Hint: I know it's scary, but start with the zombie hand!)

Werewolf = 5

Witch's Hat = 2

Zombie Hand = 8

Owl = 6

? = 21


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7.) Day 7 of 13

(Hint: To find the haunted house, think about what value that when subtracted from 12 equals that same value!)

Ghost = 25

Broom = 15

Haunted House = 6

? = 16


Are you looking for more daily math challenges and puzzles to share with your kids?

My best-selling workbook 101 Math Challenges for Engaging Your Students is now available as a PDF download. You can get yours today by clicking here.

 
 

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8.) Day 8 of 13

(Hint: All candy bags are created equal!)

Candy Bag = 9

Bats = 10

Boo! = 9

Witch = 1

? = 20


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9.) Day 9 of 13

(Hint: Each value comes from doing something to the previous value)

Case #1: ? = 35 (each value increases by one more than its difference with the previous value: +4, +5, +6, ...) 

Case #2: ? = 95 (each value increases by twice its difference with the previous value: +6, +12, +24, ...)

Case #3: ? = 121 (each value increases by the square of the difference with the previous value: +3,+9,+27,...)


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10.) 10 of 13

(Hint: The growth pattern is exponential!)

1,3,6,10,...

Notice that the first value increases by 2, the second value increases by 3, the third value increases by 4, etc.

Case 5: 15 Zombies

Case 8: 36 Zombies

What about case 100?

 


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11.) Day 11 of 13

(Hint: Remember the multiplicative identity!)

Vampire Lips: 0

Moon = 1

Pumpkin = 2

Frankenstein: 0

Black Cat = 4

Zombie Hand = 5


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12.) Day 12 of 13

(Hint: You need to visualize this situation by drawing a diagram and/or using manipulatives and colored pencils or markers!)

Case 4: 25 Faces

Case 5: 36 Faces

Case n: (n+1)^2

*This question was inspired by Jo Boaler's TED Talk: How You Can Be Good at Math and Other Surprising Facts About Learning.

 


13.) Day 13 of 13

(Hint: Think about what kinds of values have a product ending in 5.)

25 x 13 = 325

Bat = 20

Pumpkin = 5

Witch = 10

Leaf = 50

Ghost = 60

 

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Save the tricks and the treats (except for the bite-sized Twix bars - those I'll take), I just want your input. Please (oh please, oh please) share your thoughts in the comments below!

Looking for more fun math resources to share with your kids? Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and access our free video library--and don't forget to subscribe!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
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Get Your Free Growth Mindset Math Poster: Middle School

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Get Your Free Growth Mindset Math Poster: Middle School

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Nurturing a growth mindset in your classroom starts with sharing the right messages with your students every day.

You can give your kids a daily reminder of what it means to learn math without the fear of failing and to celebrate mistakes by displaying your free Growth Mindset for Math Students poster!

The poster shares the following beliefs that are held by students with a growth mindset for learning math:

  1. Intelligence can grow as long as you continue to make an effort.
  2. Embracing challenging problems allows you to grow stronger.
  3. Being confident in your abilities and sharing your thinking helps you to learn and grow!
  4. Persevering through difficult practice develops grit and teaches you to never give up!
  5. Making a mistake is no big deal because mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.
  6. Asking for help is never something to be afraid of.
  7. The process of learning is more important than the outcome because you are a lifelong learner.
  8. Failing only means that you don't understand something yet, and that more effort is needed.
  9. With hard work and the right mindset, anyone can be successful in math.

You can get your free Growth Mindset Math poster as a JPG by clicking here and as a PDF by clicking here.

Thank you for all that you do for our kids and for empowering your students to learn math without the fear of making a mistake!

Looking for more fun math resources to share with your kids? Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and access our free video library--and don't forget to subscribe!

Have more suggestions for growth mindset resources for your fellow math teachers? Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
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5 Growth Mindset Books Every Math Teacher Should Read

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5 Growth Mindset Books Every Math Teacher Should Read

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Are you ready to help your kids think about and learn math with a growth mindset?

By teaching your students to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, persevere through challenging problems, and focus on growth over final results, you are empowering them to excel inside and outside of the classroom.

Achieving a growth mindset requires a purposeful and well-planned strategy to ensure that your students consistently hear the right messages, receive meaningful feedback, and engage in learning opportunities that help develop this new way of thinking. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you create a classroom environment that supports learning with a growth mindset. Whether you teach elementary, middle, or high school math students, the following books will give you all the tools you need to start changing students' attitudes and mindsets for learning and making math more open and exciting for every child.


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Summary: After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.


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Summary: Mathematical Mindsets provides practical strategies and activities to help teachers and parents show all children, even those who are convinced that they are bad at math, that they can enjoy and succeed in math. Jo Boaler—Stanford researcher, professor of math education, and expert on math learning—has studied why students don't like math and often fail in math classes. She's followed thousands of students through middle and high schools to study how they learn and to find the most effective ways to unleash the math potential in all students.


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Summary: The Growth Mindset Coach is a complete and easy-to-follow guide for inspiring every student with the power of a growth mindset Created by teachers for teachers, this is the ultimate guide for unleashing students’ potential through creative lessons, empowering messages and innovative teaching. The Growth Mindset Coach provides all you need to foster a growth mindset classroom, including a month-by-month program, research-based activities, hands-on lesson plans, real-life educator stories, constructive feedback, and sample parent letters.
 


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Looking for fun ways to get your kids WRITING about math?


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Summary: What does it take to be a good mathematics teacher who actively engages students and addresses learning differences? Gain a mental picture of an effective mathematics learning environment and why it must be founded on growth mindset principles. This easy-to-read text breaks down the complex components of mathematics teaching and divides them into practical strategies. Combining mathematics research, useful tactics, and examples from K–6 classrooms, the book includes reflection questions, action tasks, and activities to inspire and engage mathematical minds.


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Summary: When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Inspired by the popular mindset idea that hard work and effort can lead to success, this updated edition of Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas for ways to build a growth mindset school culture, wherein students are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential. The book includes a planning template, step-by-step description of a growth mindset culture, and "look-fors" for adopting a differentiated, responsive instruction model teachers can use immediately in their classrooms.  

Looking for more fun math resources to share with your kids? Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and access our free video library--and don't forget to subscribe!

Have more growth mindset book suggestions for your fellow math teachers? Join the conversation and share yours in the comments section below.

Get more free math resources in your inbox each week--click here to get your weekly newsletter

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

 
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Here's an Awesome Way to Teach Kids Fractions

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Here's an Awesome Way to Teach Kids Fractions

 
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Are you looking for strategies to help your kids understand equivalent fractions this school year?

Creating fraction kits is a great way to get your kids exploring equivalent fractions and acquiring a deep, conceptual understanding of the topic.

The video below demonstrates how to create a fraction kit; it was designed to serve as a follow-along activity:

Materials: construction paper, markers, scissors, and a ruler.

Looking for the corresponding lesson guide? click here to download yours

By Anthony Persico

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Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.

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