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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Math IS Real Life: April 2014 Edition

It's the first Wednesday of April which means it's time for our monthly linky - Math IS Real Life!!  If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!  

If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs - feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!

A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

Recently my MIL, Judy, and I went shopping at IKEA for a television console.  We went with a very specific idea in our heads.... mainly because IKEA is a dangerous place!  If you don't go in with a plan you will leave with half the store!

Anyway, we were looking around the television cabinet section and nothing was quite exactly what we wanted.  There were lots of pieces that were *really* close, but we were being picky.  Then we turned the corner and made a realization.... all of the pieces we were looking at were part of a "customize your own" cabinet center.   And then..... we were overwhelmed!
 We spent the next 2 hours in the ""customize your own" cabinet section.  Always on the lookout for how to use math in the real world, I started calculating possibilities.... and then I realized that the possibilities were ABSOLUTELY INFINITE!  There was nothing stopping how many pieces we bought, or how many ways we added in doors.... and then we really were - OVERWHELMED.
 We decided to start narrowing down some choices by choosing which color the stand would be.  We had narrowed it down to Black or White when we noticed all the black pieces were currently out of stock.  Seeing as though we drove a pretty decent amount to get to the store, we decided to go with white so that we could take the pieces home that day and start building the creation.

The next choice we made was which frame to choose.  There were 18 to choose from. Thankfully, based on the dimensions we needed, we were able to narrow down the frame pretty quickly. The next choice was not quite as simple....
 After choosing the frames we turned around and realized the door decision would not be quite as easy.  At first we wanted the really fun teal doors - they would have been perfect in the living room, but they were back ordered, so we started brainstorming again.  Did we want full doors? half doors? 2/3 doors? Did we want the doors to be solid? have glass in them?  TOO MANY OPTIONS!

At this point, the nice IKEA lady realized she should probably stepped in.... and she showed up THIS! The FURNITURE PLANNER!!!
 The computer kiosk was such a cool way to plan.  You could grab any frame and add doors, feet, sheleves, etc to it to see what it would look like.  This was super helpful!  While IKEA had a ton of examples on the floor, it just wasn't possible for them to have them all.
After playing with the program for a bit, we took a break, and went back to look at pieces for inspirations.  While the program was awesome, you almost needed to know what you wanted to add before pulling up pieces.
 We ended finding this piece and thinking it could work.  So we started with it as the base and then changed out the doors to find what worked best for the room.
Side note: One of the really cool things about IKEA is that they print out what each of their combinations is "made of".  Here you can see the specific combination of pieces that created the black cabinet above.

After playing around with the program, we finally settled on the perfect pairing! We just wanted to look at handles and feet before making our way out of the showroom.
We opted for solid, chunky feet and no handles.
A few hours later (you can't go to IKEA and NOT spend hours!) we ended up in the warehouse!  I wish I had taken more pictures here.  The warehouse is laid out in aisles and pods.  Each piece of furniture requires you to go to multiple places (almost like cooridinates!) to pick up each individual piece - the frame, the door, the feet... etc.
We finally made it out of IKEA and headed home to start assembling!  That was a whole load of mathematics in and of it self!  We were too busy assembling to snag any pictures of the process.  Just know there was tons of measuring, making the pieces flush, creating right angles, etc.

Who knew that a day of furniture shopping could include so many combinations and math?!  Oh... wait, you want to see what it looked like after putting it together (but before any decorating was done and in bad lighting?!)
**I am in no way affiliated with IKEA.  I have not been compensated in anyway for this blog post. I spent my own time and money to purchase items that were used for my entertainment/dinner and my opinions and ideas that are expressed are that of my own.**

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Made It : Tasty recipes sent to your door, an awesome new cup, and adorable magnets!

This month's Monday Made it is all about awesome stuff that people sent me!  

Recently my husband came across a website called  This whole idea of this website is pretty awesome!  When you first log on you are greeted with various menu items for the week.  You can filter by "land", "sea" and "veggie".  Each week has around 7 different plates to choose from.  There were so many tasty options but we decided to try the Moroccan Beef Tangine with Squash and Couscous (we typically are pretty boring when it comes to food so we decided to step out of our comfort zone and have fun with a new food experience!).  We ordered out four plates (we decided to have some friends over to try it too!) and waited patiently for our food to arrive later that week. 
On Wednesday, our food arrived and I was super excited to see how well packed the food was.  Inside the box was an insulated bag and two ice packs.  All the food inside was very cold and you could tell it was super fresh.  
 I love that everything was pre-measured and almost completely prepped! AND, it came with a cardstock, full color print out of the recipe that was super easy to follow!
On Saturday night (our friends were coming over Sunday) I sliced up the meat and began the dry rub marinade.  This could be done for as little as five minutes, but we decided to go full force and marinade overnight for full flavor.  
 We also decided to dice up everything so that it was fully prepped and ready for cooking on Sunday.  This consisted of dicing up the butternut squash and the shallot.
 On Sunday, I pulled out the dutch oven and started following the directions.  Saute beef with shallots (MAN that smelled amazing!!)
 Add tomato sauce, chicken base and garlic... Simmer and thicken....
 Add squash cubes....
 While that was cooking, make the cous-cous....
 Fluff and flavor the cous-cous....
 Plate and enjoy....
The entire process was so easy and the end product was so tasty.  The best part is that it's so affordable (less than eating out at most restaurants) AND it allows us to try new recipes in the comfort of our own home.  Many times we tend to stick to the "typical" orders so that we aren't disappointed.  Hubs and I decided that we would make the food, and if we didn't' like it, we could always make something else.  It's a safe way to take a risk!

If you want to try it out, I'd love if you used my referral code :)  

Also, the first time we visited there was a $20 off coupon on the page that we were able to use right then!  AND, you can be a member for $10 a month which saves you 20% off of each plate.

**I am in no way affiliated with I have not been compensated in anyway for this blog post. I spent my own time and money to purchase items that were used for my entertainment/dinner and my opinions and ideas that are expressed are that of my own.**


My second Monday Made It was not made by me, but by my friend Tara of And They All Fall Down made me the cutest magnets using my Melonheadz creation :)  Look how cute they turned out!  If you haven't seen Tara's TpT store, you should check it out.... she has the cutest additions for ANY classroom! 


My third Monday Made It was ALSO not made by me, but by my friend Kaci of Mrs. Hoffer's Spot and purchased as a birthday present for me by 4mulaFun.  Kaci personalized an awesome insulated cup for me in my favorite color.  It has been ALL THE RAGE at school.  Everyone has commented on how awesome it is.  You want one?  Check it out HERE

And finally, my Fourth Monday Made It is brought to you courtesy of a Snow Day Indecisive "fat moment".  It snowed (again... what's new, right?!) so I felt obligated to bake.  I couldn't decide between chocolate chip cookies and I created "brownkies"
 I made homemade CC cookie dough and spread it on the bottom of a 13x9, then made brownie batter and poured it over the top.... I had never attempted this and wasn't sure what to expect.... but it was PURE BLISS!!  I ended up taking it to school the next day because, well because that is WAY too much to not share.  The container was empty in less than 15 minutes! 

I will DEFINITELY be making these again!!

Holy cow... what a month!  What did you make this month?!
  A HUGE thank-you  to 4th Grade Frolics for the link-up! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pi Day/ Week 2014 continued!

*sings* It's the most wonderful DAAAAAAAAAY of the year.....

Okay, okay, that may have been a *wee* bit drastic, but it IS one of my FAVORITE days of the school year!  I posted on Wednesday about some of the awesomeness that had been happening with my kiddos and within our school, but wanted to update you on how the week played out!

My 8th grade resource math class worked on Area and Circumference of Circles.  We broke into three teams and had a "speed" and "accuracy" competition.

 The teams scrambled to work through the formulas and were quick to ask for help (they usually like to dawdle  around as long as they can before they ask) when they needed it.

 One group decided to wrap it around one of their teammates to keep the length under wraps!

 All three teams finished within minutes of each other.  We ended up connecting all 3 chains together and decorating the wall.

All three groups enjoyed a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies... I'm sure that had nothing to do with how fast they worked and how excited they got to complete the project :)

The Fifth grade teachers held their annual Pi decorating contest!  The kiddos get to take their pi home to work on it for one week.  They are able to do whatever they wish with the pi shape. When they return they are given a number so that the judging is less of a popularity contest.  Here are some of the awesome designs they came up with!


The top winner from each of the four classes was given a lunch party.  All four students were able to invite a friend to join them at lunch on Friday and they enjoyed a tasty Pizza lunch!

I think the 5th grade teachers must've stopped by my room while I was at lunch, because I came back to a nice plated treat :)  

Oh!  And I need to update you on the Pi Chain! My kiddos ended up linking 1000 digits! After we finished putting it together, we decided to brighten up the school and found a great spot to display our mathematical art.
 The kiddos wanted to take a pic with their art and I thought you would crack of seeing them recreate their "geometrical" poses!  Lots of "rays", "right angles" and "parallels" in this pic!  TOO cute!
And finally... here's this years pi shirt!  I purchased it at my favorite math dork store The Science TEEcher!  Love all of Digby's shirts (and own most of them!)
I hope you had a wonderful pi day!  If you haven't shared your pi pic yet, you still have a few hours to enter my Pi Day Giveaway!  Just email me at with your picture and a blurb about what you did for Pi day and I will link it to my Facebook page!  The winners will be announce tonight (3/16) at 8pm EST!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pi day 2014.... er, Pi WEEK 2014!!

Pi Week...yes week is here and we are in FULL FORCE!!!  We've spent each day this week working on Pi / Circle related activities!  I wanted to share what we've been working on in hopes to inspire you some.  

To prepare for this week, last Friday I went to Michael's and purchased tons of fun color paper!  YES, I splurged!  I bought fun double sided, double colored card stock and bright, vibrant normal paper.  
The rest of the weekend, and planning on Monday was spent finishing up prep work for the week.  TONS of chain loops needed to be cut to make all the projects as efficient (and neat) as possible!
 Though, not shown here, I ended up cutting all the digit strips in half to make them about 5 inches long instead of 10 inches.  This really helped make the Pi Chain  more sturdy.
 The Pi Chain was a HUGE hit at all grade levels.  After day #1, it was 350 chain digits long.  After day #2 it is now 800 digits long.  The goal is to have it 1000 digits long by Thursday afternoon so that we can have it hanging for all to enjoy on Friday.  The kiddos have loved noticing the patterns, errrr... lack of patterns in the digits.  My 5th and 6th graders are each in charge of 2 digits and keep guessing if they are goign to be next.  They have turned it into a competition!
We stopped and took a pic of 500 digits!
My 7th and 8th graders have been spending a bit more time figuring out Area and Circumference of circles.  They too, wanted to make a chain, they just are being held accountable in a different way!
When the chain started to "get in the way", they asked if we could go out into the theater are so they could have a little more room.  Little did I know they would find another use of the area!
 We actually ended up turning the Area and Circumference chain into a competition - boys vs girls! We decided against length being the deciding factor, but rather used points.  Since the Chain of Circles activity is tiered, I printed each tier on a different color. 
 1st tier = easiest = 1 point.
2nd tier = medium = 2 points
3rd tier = most difficult = 3 points 
(and..... too add some more craziness... there were 4 girls and only 3 boys, so we had to find the average per person at the end to see who won!)
 Love how bright and colorful these practice problems turned out!  Girls ended up winning 29.25 to 24.3!  Go girls!! And in the end, we added the two chains together so that we could hang them up in the room and enjoy the bright, springy colors!
 So far this has been my week!  Lovin' how colorful everything has been and how excited students have been to practice circle formulas and to compete for pi!
OOOOH and.... I'm having a PI Day Giveaway on my FB page!  Click on the picture below to enter!  All you need to do to enter is take a picture of how you are celebrating PI DAY and post it on my Special FB Post.  All pictures MUST be a comment in the post pinned at the top of the FB page to be entered.  You should also put a caption on the picture.   1 entry per person. Two winners will be chosen on Sunday, March 16th to give people plenty of time to add their pictures!
And finally, I will probably post more this weekend about how the week ended, but I wanted to share these two activities AND share some other pi day information (blogs, freebies, and products) that my dorky math friends have made as well!  If you don't have anything planned for Pi Day, there are TONS of awesome ideas to be shared below!

Can't wait to see your pics!  

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