When I was a classroom teacher, I found the first week of December a very busy time. First quarter Parent Conferences were over, and parents were ready to support their child’s strengths and weaknesses. For those students with high math ability I recruited parents to encourage their child to try the Math Enrichment Fun Center (MEFC). The center had 12 more advanced math problems. I found some kids were hesitant to try the center due to fear of failure. Once students finished the 12 problems in the MFC, they were able to bring the problems home to share with their parents.
Math Fun Centers (MEFCs) for Everyone!
Five years later when I became the school’s teacher of the Talented and Gifted program, I made Math Enrichment Centers for all the grade 2 and 3 regular education classrooms. They were made with a large trifold board with 12 library pockets with a problem in each. The MEFCs became quite popular and teachers loved having the center available. Each month I replaced the problems with a new set. Because good resources never get old, I reused the problems again as a K-2 principal when I offered Enrichment Math to second graders!
This month I’m starting a Monthly Math Enrichment post that will include Math Enrichment problems for grades 2-3. Please check out my post on December 15rh titled Math Enrichment Dec. Grades 2-3 .
4 Reasons Why Math Enrichment Will Benefit Kids
Improves Problem Solving – Enrichment problems can benefit students that excel in classroom math and want to deepen their mathematical understanding. It allows them to explore different strategies to strengthen their problems solving skills.
Reduces Stress– Enrichment problems extend your child’s math skills without the added pressure of grades or comparing themselves with other classmates. Practicing math problems on a child’s own schedule eliminates time pressures and allows kids to enjoy math.
Builds Confidence– Enrichment math problems helps to build confidence by improving a child’s math skills.
Strengthens Critical Thinking – Math enrichment keeps kids thinking. Math problems should engage a child in reasoning and thinking out of the box.
I hope you will find them useful with your students in class or your kids at home.
2-Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story.
Chris was enjoying a bowl of chili at a restaurant in Montreal. Looking into the bowl, he saw a fly. He informed the waiter and asked for a new bowl of chili. When the waiter brought him the new bowl, he tasted it and accused the waiter of bringing him back the same bowl. Why did he think that?
Uncle Bug’s baseball bat company sells baseball bats for $25.00 each. This month there is a sale 2 baseball bats for $36.00. He said he makes the same profit either way but that it is a good sale. How much profit must he make on each bat when he sells them at the regular price of $25.00.
Kelly is walking down the street dressed in black. There are no lights on anywhere and no moon. A car without its lights on comes down the street and avoids hitting her? How did that happen?
You walk into a room with only one match. You must light a lantern, a stove, the pilot light on the water heater and a fire in a fire place. What do you light first?
Use the problem solving strategy of making a table. Be sure to include examples of buying the bats at the full price.
When is the story happening?
What 5 items do you know you have in the room?
Answers: (Well you asked for the answers, here they are!)
Before Chris found the fly, he had put salt on his chili. When the chili returned, it was bland.
The profit on each bat must be $14.00. Since he makes no extra profit on the second bat, he must be selling it at cost. With the price of each bat $25.00 the cost is $11.00 with $14.00 profit. Selling 2 bats at $36.00 means that the total cost of 2 bats is $22.00 leaving $14.00 as the total profit.
Minute-Mysteries are stories that can be solved with close examination of the clues in the story.
Emily and Connall were playing checkers at GG’s house. They played 5 games. Each of them won the same number of games and there weren’t any ties. How could this happen?
John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was the youngest person elected to the presidency. However, he was the second youngest man to hold the office? How could this be?
On Monday, the teacher asked Teaghan how old she would be on her next birthday. She answered that in two years she would be twice as old as she was five years ago. How old is Teaghan today?
A photographer went for a walk in the woods to take pictures of nature. That was the last time anyone saw her alive. Three days later she was found dead in the woods. The story says that she died because of a pack on her back. What was so deadly about the pack?
Solving mysteries can support critical thinking while having fun
Mystery Luncheons were a regular activity in our school when I was a principal. I invited different grades each day to join me to eat lunch and I shared with them a few mysteries to solve. It was a great time as we all chatted and tried to solve the mysteries.
The object of 1-2 minute mysteries is to solve the mysteries based on clues in the story. The clues are few and very often are not obvious. The mysteries seem impossible to solve until you remember there is something (or more than one thing) that you are making assumptions about.
Steps to Solve:
Read the story slowly.
If you are solving the mysteries with a friend, you can ask questions that can only be answered yes or no. Be sure to phrase the questions vaguely at first? Such as does the solution have anything to do with a specific character, the setting, the time of year, time of day, the weather etc.
Once you realize the answer is not clear, look at the story and think about what the tricks in the story could be:
Most times the trick could be in our assumptions of the 5 W’s. (Who, What, When, Where and Why)
What tricks could be in the story?
Is there something about the sequence of what happened? (what happened first, second or last)
Is there something about the characters? (Their name, the type they are)
Something about the setting? (weather, time)
In the old West a man rides into town on Friday. He stays for three days and leaves on Friday. How can this be?
A father and son are in an auto accident. The father dies and the son is rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The doctor looks at the boy and says, “I can’t work on him, he’s my son.” How can this be?
Donna and Jerry and Howard and Mary all live in the same house. Donna and Jerry go out to a movie, and when they return, Howard is lying dead on the floor in a puddle of water and glass. It is obvious that Mary killed him but she is not arrested. How could that be?
There is a pipe, a carrot and a pile of pebbles together in the middle of a field. Why?
Declan wants to go home, but he can’t go home, because the man in the mask is waiting for him.
Friday is not a day of the week
Some careers have both men and women employed
Howard is not a man
Can you think of something that uses all 3 items?
The man in the mask is not a threat. He is supposed to be wearing a mask.
Answers: (You asked for it, here they are)
Friday is the name of the horse the man was riding on.
The surgeon is the boys mother.
Howard is a fish. He lived in a fishbowl and it had fallen on the floor.