September 16, 2015

Week of Inspirational Math

This week my class is taking part in a Week of Inspirational Math—a five day program created by Stanford University's youcubed team as a way of "inspiring students through open, beautiful and creative math." After registering for a free account, teachers can easily access videos, lessons plans, and activity sheets from the youcubed website. 

On the first day, my students watched a short video about how their brains work and how anyone can be good at math. We discussed what they thought of the video and then talked about the pros and cons of working in groups. The students shared what they wanted people to think about when working in groups and what they thought would make working in a group easier. 

We then moved on to the Four 4's activity, which involves writing the numbers 1 to 20 on the board and having the children try to find every number between 1 and 20 by using four 4's and any operation they want. So to make the number 8 they could write 4 + 4 + 4 - 4. 

My class found this difficult as they are not all that comfortable with multiplication and division yet, but we just filled in as many numbers as we could and then left the rest. Here's what our white board looked like as we were working on this activity:

Even though it wasn't an easy task for my class, it was a great way to assess where the students are at, and it forced them to think deeply and use their brains.

My class has completed activities for the first three days of the program, and they have really enjoyed it so far. I think that this is a great program to use with students at the beginning of the year or at any time of the year when you need a break from the regular math program and want to add something a little different into your math block.


  1. We did this at my school, too! We started the year with "A Week of Inspirational Math" in grades 3-6. We had to modify it some, but it was a nice start to the year! Have you read "What's Math Got to do With it?" or "Mathematical Mindsets" yet? I have read the first and the second one is in my bag! This is my first time to your blog! Loving the design!
    A New Day of Learning

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I haven't read "What's Math Got to do With it?" or "Mathematical Mindsets," but I will have to check them out. Thanks for your compliment on the blog design...Blogs Fit For a Queen designed it and they were amazing!