Monthly Archives: March 2015

#MathLovinMonday Episode 2: Equivalent Fractions

Well, life got a little crazy and #MathLovinMonday got postponed a week, I’m sure none of you know how that goes…

Anyway, to start off our math lessons I want to focus on a topic that, in my experience, students of all skill level dislike to some degree or another.

Fractions.

As soon as I say that word in my classroom it is followed by a chorus of “No!”, “Can’t we just use our calculators?”,  and the inevitable “I hate fractions.”

Fractions aren’t scary, they only seem that way because many don’t understand how to use them correctly. Generally fractions are introduced in grade school, I don’t know exactly what age but I do know it’s before Jr. High.

If a student doesn’t understand what they are taught in grade school and is never retaught the skills associated with using fractions they are always going to be in the “I Hate Fractions” camp.

This week we are going to focus on how to determine if two fractions are equivalent.

The Basics

Alright, before we can get into the math we need to start with the vocabulary.

By definition, a fraction is a numerical quantity that is not a whole number. Fractions are written in the form:

numerator/denominator

To be a fraction both the numerator and the denominator need to be whole numbers, no decimals allowed.

Equivalent Fractions

Equivalent fractions are fractions that look different but are actually equal to each other.

For example, 5/10 and 1/2 are equivalent fractions. We would write this as

5/10 = 1/2

Alright, that’s all fine and good, but 1/2 is a pretty common fraction to use for such a lesson, right?

So, what if it’s not such a common fraction?

Take the following problem:

~Are  5/15  and  15/45  equivalent fractions?

How do we determine if the two fractions are the same?  We simplify.

To simplify a fraction, we first find the greatest common divisor (GCD) for the numerator and denominator of each fraction.  The greatest common divisor is the largest number that evenly divides, meaning leaves no remainder, both the numerator and the denominator.

So, let’s simplify the fractions from the problem above. First, we will start with the fraction 5/15[pmath] and find the greatest common divisor of 5 and of 15. To do this, I like to make a factor tree for each number.

We’ll start with 5. To make the factor tree you simply write your starting number, 5, with two branches off for the first two factors. I always start with 1 and the number I’m dividing, just in case we have a prime number.

divisors of 5As you can see above, there is only one set of factors for the number 5.

Next we will make the factor tree for 15. We start the same way, with the factors of 1 and 15, but, in this case, 15 has other factors so we add another level to our tree.

Now that we have a factor tree for both 5 and 15 we need to find the GCD. This means that we want to find the factor level that has one number in common.

GCD 5 + 15As you can see above, the second level of the factor tree for 15 and the first level of the factor tree from 5 both contain a 5 as one of the factors. Since there are no other common factors this means we have found the GCD of our numerator and denominator.

So, to simplify [pmath size=12]5/15 we divide both the numerator and denominator by 5, giving us 1/3.

We are halfway to solving our original problem, do you remember what it was?

~Are  5/15  and  15/45  equivalent fractions?

So next we need to simplify 14/45. That means we need to make our factor trees for 15 and 45. We can reuse the one for 15 from above, so we just have to make one for 45.

Remember to start with 1 and 45 because we know that a set of factors with 1 is going to be a part of every factor tree.

divisors of 45

Now we can look at each level of the factor trees. In level one of the tree for 15 and in level two of the tree for 45 we see a common factor of 15. There are other common factors between 15 and 45, we see a 3 and a 5 in both trees, however, 15 is the largest of these factors and so it is our GCD.

GCD 15 + 45

So now we will divide the numerator and the denominator by our GCD, (15÷15)/(45÷15) to get 1/3.

Therefore, since 5/15 and 15/45 both simplify to 1/3 we know they are equivalent.

Do I Have Equivalent Fractions?

Please post any questions or comments below, and remember if you have a topic you’d like to see on #MathLovinMonday let me know!

 

iDesignStudio1 Shop Spotlight + Birth Announcement Review

If you’ve been following my blog, no doubt you’ve heard about my little Dragonling or, at the very least, know she’s been teething… (Still is, if you’re wondering.) Well, Dragonling hatched over either months ago and until very recently I still didn’t have a birth announcement for her wall.

That all changed when I found iDesignStudio1‘s Etsy shop and browsed her fantastic digitally handmade designs.

The Product

When you order from iDesignStudio1 the product you will receive is an 8 x 10 sheet of acid free paper, printed with your custom design. Ghayda, the owner of iDesignStudio1, personally customizes each print that is sent out.

To customize the announcement, I sent Dragonling’s full name, birth date (including the time), as well as her height and weight. The design I chose also included the place of birth. Along with the birth stats I was able to customize the colors of the print to fit in with our nursery decor.

After the information had been exchanged I waited for the proof of the design so that I could make any adjustments and approve it before printing. Normally the time between information exchange and viewing of the proof is 2-4 business days, in my case it was much faster.

Birth Announcement Design Proof
The birth announcement proof image sent from iDesignStudio1 for approval.

Once I approved the design, it was printed and mailed to me. When I received the print it was packaged between two pieces of cardboard wrapped in thick brown paper, sure to keep it from getting bent or dirty during shipping.

Print packaging.
Print packaging.

The packaging materials are also great for keeping the print safe once in your possession until you are able to get it framed and on the wall! (Especially with a baby around.)

I am thrilled with the final result and I cannot wait to find (or make) the perfect frame to hang this on Dragonling’s wall. In my opinion, the end result looks exactly like the proof, down to the color appearance. Sometimes the colors you get in person look different than what was on the computer screen and this time that was not the case, what I saw was what I got.

The final product.

Other iDesignStudio1 Prints

There are a variety of print options and themes available from iDesignStudio1. Besides the adorable giraffe print I picked out, there are numerous others I may find myself wanting for future decor projects.

I like the one below for a future family picture wall. Since we may or may not have more children, this ‘family established’ design is nicer than one that lists children’s names since we won’t have to worry about replacing it later on.

Family Established

Here is another print I like and I think would make a great gift. I’m sure one could get it customized with Grandpa instead or maybe even “Only the Best Parents Get Promoted to Grandparents”! Very cute idea and fun to personalize with the names of your littles!

Best Moms Promoted to Grandma

Head over to  iDesignStudio1’s shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/iDesignStudio1 and tell me which print you’d like to have personalized.

 

#ThoughtfulThursday: Week 3 – Family

I chose family for our topic this week for a couple reasons.

First, for me, family is the most important part of my life, aside from my faith. Family is one of the first things we have an understanding of as children. We grow up in a small, safe unit that helps to shape who we become. Every bit of who I am comes from the way I grew up within that family unit.

And second, the last two weeks my family has been in need of extra Momma time. Dragonling has been sick and is teething, and Papa Dragon was sick and is still recovering. That meant everything else got pushed off until things could get back to normal, and I wouldn’t change a thing. (Except maybe the being sick part.)

So, without further ado: Family.

Family – /ˈfam(ə)lē/

  • noun
    1. A group of parents and children living together in a household.
    2. A group of people related to each other by blood or marriage.
    3. All the descendents of a common ancestor
    4. A group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.
    5. A group of people united in criminal activity.
    6. In Biology, a principal taxonomic category that ranks above genus and below order, usually ending in -idae or -aceae.
    7. In Mathematics, a group of curves or surfaces obtained by varying the value of a constant in the equation generating them.
  • adjective
    1. Designed to be suitable for children as well as adults.

 

09 You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them

Everyone has heard the expression, ‘You can’t choose your family.’ Sometimes we use it as a way to brush off the things about our family we don’t particularly like, but I think it should be used more as a way to be thankful for what we’ve been given.

Have you ever thought about what would be different if you got to choose your family?  Sure there are traits in members of our family we may not like, but think about what other things would change if you could fix those traits. Would the change you want cause another behavior or attitude to change? Could you ever engineer the perfect family?

Probably not.  Even if you did you’d never know it because eventually you’d find something you’d want to improve upon. It’s human nature.

 

10 In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, bridge to our future.

 I think this one is pretty cut and dry. If you look at your life the only people who are there for all of it, are family. Doesn’t matter if it’s a family you were born into, or one that developed through you life in another way; family is always there.

 

Jewelry in Candles Kick-Off

A candle for every color in your life
Well I did it.

I took the plunge and I am now a Jewelry in Candles representative! I’m very excited about this new endeavor and I hope you’ll enjoy coming along with me on this journey. Don’t worry, all the articles that you love will still be here, but you might get the occasional update about this project now as well.

To kick off my new business I am hosting a Mystery Hostess Party on Facebook from today (3/23) until Saturday, April 4 at midnight. Please join in the fun for a chance to win the grand prize of being chosen as the hostess.

The hostess will receive 10% of the total sales towards their own purchases, and, if the party reaches $500 or more, an Exclusively Yours candle courtesy of the Jewelry in Candles corporate office.

Exclusively Yours Candle

During the party there will be other chances to win prizes as well as lots of fun and games, so come on over and bring your friends!

Come party with me at at the URL below, the fun starts now!
https://www.facebook.com/events/923772397653667/

Water Is Hope

Water is Hope

Nearly one billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water worldwide. In some parts of the world, potable water comes from unprotected sources and often carries bacteria and harmful diseases, including E.coli, cholera, and hepatitis A.

March 22 is World Water Day, a day for everyone to recognize that clean, safe drinking water is a luxury that far too many people take for granted. In most places in the developed world all we have to do is turn on the tap to get a glass of safe, clean water to drink, but there are still many places where that is not the case.

In some countries, getting a glass of water means walking four miles to the nearest source, a task usually left up to the women and young girls. For their efforts, there is no guarantee the water will be clean and they run the risk of assault as they perform this necessary chore. Once the water is collected, they return home, another 4+ miles, carrying a 40 pound jerrycan full of water.

Sixty-three children in Uganda die every day from the lack of clean water. Their small bodies are not prepared to deal with the various parasites, bacteria, and diseases found in their unclean drinking water. Many of these children die from diarrhea and dehydration.

The supply of water is limited and the demand for water is ever increasing. The need for freshwater and energy will continue to increase in the coming decades, due to the growth of society. This increase in demand will cause a strain on the already limited water resources available in many developing communities and countries.

Water is hope.

Clean water can give a village hope. Hope that young girls are able to attend school instead of spending hours and walking many miles in the pursuit of drinking water. Hope that boys and girls will no longer be too sick and weak to attend school, a better education will lead to opportunities to earn a better living. Hope that more women can feel safe in their own communities by not putting themselves in a vulnerable situation while collecting water their families need for survival.

Clean water is the first step to a better education, a growing economy, and to the end of poverty in these areas.

Clean water is hope.

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Three Avocados, a St. Louis-based nonprofit coffee company, has announced they are hosting a “Wake Up to Water Day” to support World Water Day. Founded in 2010, this nonprofit company gives 100 percent of its net proceeds to provide clean drinking water in Uganda and education in Nicaragua.

Today, on World Water Day, Three Avocados encourages all coffee-drinkers to grab a friend for a cup of coffee and discuss the topic of clean drinking water, water famine, and the increasing demand for water around the world.

“Every day is a World Water Day for us at Three Avocados. For every bag of Ugandan coffee we sell, we provide clean drinking water for life to individuals in Uganda, a region which suffers a water crisis. Easy access to clean water can bring hope and preserve the local culture.”
.-Joe Koenig, founder of Three Avocados.

Join Three Avocados for a cup of coffee and to spread awareness of World Water Day on March 22.

Every day for the last few weeks I have been able to #wakeuptowater with a cup of freshly brewed Three Avocados coffee. Knowing what this company stands for definitely gave me pause to think as I enjoyed my cup each morning.

Three Avocados Coffee - http://www.threeavocados.org/

If you’re a bold coffee lover, I heartily recommend their Ugandan coffee. The aroma is intoxicating and the flavor unmatched. Plus you’ll enjoy that cup a little more knowing that you’re helping to provide clean drinking water to the people of Uganda.

Ugandan Coffee - Clean Water

If you’re looking for a more subtle flavor for your morning cuppa, the Nicaraguan coffee is what you want. It also has a wonderful aroma and a mild flavor that leaves you wanting another cup.  Each cup of Nicaraguan coffee helps to provide a primary education for children in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Coffee - Primary Education

Three Avocados is also offering a free, limited edition World Water t-shirt with any purchase of $25 or more, today only. To learn more about this wonderful company or to purchase online, visit http://www.threeavocados.org.

 

 

#ThoughtfulThursday: Week 2 – Peace.

Welcome back to another installment of #ThoughtfulThursday.

Today’s topic of thought: Peace.

Peace – /pēs/

  • noun
    1. freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility
    2. freedom from or the cessation of war or violence
    3. a ceremonial handshake or kiss exchanged during a service in some churches, symbolizing Christian love and unity
  • exclamation
    1. used as a greeting
    2. used as an order to remain silent

 

 

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will have peace.

 

I think this one deserves a little extra thought. If we look at all the big problems in the world, a lot of them come down to choosing something else over love and compassion. This world could use a little more love.

 

You can't claim you're for peace if you're not willing to disturb it

 

I like this one because it seems a little counter-intuitive at first, but if you dig a little deeper you realize how true it is. Societal status quo is not for peace, so in order to achieve peace the status quo needs to change. Disturbing the peace to achieve peace… Imagine.

 

 

Don't let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace

 

This one kind of makes me think of the popular phrase, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Self explanatory, in my opinion.

 

Peace cannot be attained by force; it can only be achieved by understanding

The idea that peace can be forced upon any one is absurd. Making war to get peace has been going on for hundreds of years, it hasn’t worked yet. Why do we keep trying?   If people could take a little bit longer to try to understand each others lifestyles, cultures, and points of view  we would be a lot closer to achieving the mythical “world peace”.

TATaGIRL Jewelry Shop Spotlight + Earrings Review

TATaGIRL Jewelry Earring Review
Photo from TATaGIRL Jewelry

 

I’m back again with another fabulous Etsy shop for you to check out.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I LOVE handmade things! If I had more time I’d probably attempt to join the ranks of Etsy entrepreneurs, but alas, my free time is not in infinite supply. After all, as Albert Einstein put it,

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.

(A little Math humor to get us going.)

This week I have had the good fortune to review a pair of gorgeous, tatted earrings made by Melanie from TATaGIRL Jewelry.

My Thoughts

These earrings are fantastic!

First off, I was pleasantly surprised at their size when I opened the package. The size was given in the item description, but I was still having a hard time visualizing what they would look like, especially with the intricate design involved.

Earring Quarter Size Comparison - www.mathlovinmomma.com

The craftsmanship is second-to-none. I attempted tatting once in my life and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be, especially since I knew how to crochet before said attempt. It is very difficult to find the right tension to make the stitches uniform. The individual stitches in the TATaGIRL Jewelry earrings are nearly perfect.

The thing I like the least about the earrings is that they are so light weight. When I have them on I can’t tell they’re there. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a personal preference I hold, primarily, because I forget I have them on and then Dragonling tries to steal them. (If it’s pretty and it dangles it belongs to her.)

 

Photo by Michael Phelan - www.mathlovinmomma.com

Another plus, caring for tatted jewelry is very simple.  You just store your items away from dust and heat. If the tatting does get dirty or lose its shape, just hand wash with a mild soap, carefully blot out excess water with a towel, then reshape and lay flat to dry.

***TATaGIRL Jewelry provided me, The Math Lovin’ Momma, with a pair of earrings free of charge for the purposes of review. The views expressed here are entirely my own, I only review products I would purchase for myself or my family.

Other TATaGIRL Products

TATaGIRL Jewelry doesn’t just have earrings, Melanie makes bracelets and pendants as well! Pictured below are my favorite bracelet and pendant from what she currently has posted in her shop.

First, a Celtic knot style pendant tatted in high quality Raspberry Frappe thread which variegates through various shades of raspberry pink, boysenberry, and magenta.

Raspberry pink Celtic Knot tatted pendant - TATaGIRL Jewelry
Photo from TATaGIRL Jewelry

Then this beautiful bracelet is tatted using Vineyard Harvest thread, whose colors variegate through dark olive, medium country grape, dark boysenberry, and dark mulberry.

Purple, Pink, and Green Tatted Bracelet - TATaGIRL Jewelry
Photo from TATaGIRL Jewelry

Visit TATaGIRL Jewelry and leave me a comment telling me what you’d like to have from Melanie’s shop.

More About TATaGIRL Jewelry

TATaGIRL Jewelry was created by Melanie Fulton, a work-at-home-Mom who lives on a hobby farm in Missouri with her husband and three children. In addition to her work at TATaGIRL Jewelry, she is a former Mathematics professor and currently writes and edits for Math companies. (Yay Math!)

Melanie learned how to tat from a friend  and she loves it! According to her, tatting is the perfect craft; you can take it with you wherever you go and you can pick it up or put it down as needed. (Which is helpful when you have three kids!)

To stay up to date with TATaGIRL Jewelry follow her at the links below:

 

Surprise… a Giveaway!

TATaGIRL Jewelry $10 Shop Credit Giveaway

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#MathLovinMonday Episode 1: Can’t See the Forrest Through the Trees?

Can't See the Forrest Through the Trees

I love Math.

I think that is probably fairly obvious from the title of my blog, but one should never assume, am I right?

I love the numbers, I love the logic, and I love how there is only one right answer. But, I especially love how there is almost always more than one way to get to that right answer.

I know that I am definitely in the minority on the loving math thing. However, I do think that Mathematics is a topic in which every person should have some basic knowledge. That being said, the newest addition to my weekly blog schedule is going to be #MathLovinMonday!

On Math Lovin’ Mondays I will try to provide a little Math humor, some Math history, and a brief Math lesson. I also plan to throw in some tips for parents helping out middle school and high school students with Math homework. If you have an elementary student, sorry you are SOL because I don’t know what crazy stuff they’re teaching them anymore either! (Kidding, but only kind of. Seriously what is that stuff?)

I’m not planning a 3 hour lecture or anything outlandish, but I know there are many parents out there who have kids bringing home Math homework and they simply don’t know how to help. You’re not alone and the good news is: you don’t have to be an expert on what your kids are doing to give them the support they need.

My hope is that this becomes a helpful and fun Math resource for you and your family.

If you have suggestions on topics you’d like me to cover, post a comment or use the contact form to leave me a message. Please remember middle school and high school level topics are my preference and be as specific as possible with the skill(s) you want me to address.

Without further ado, I give you #MathLovinMonday!

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I think it’s important to start a Math lesson with a good attitude, and a little humor can go a long way toward improving anyone’s outlook, so lets start with a little Math joke.

A Priest, Rabbi, and a Mathematician were waiting patiently on a platform to be decapitated.

The priest put his head in the slot and the executioner pulled the lever; the guillotine blade came speeding down the track and stopped just a few inches above the priest’s neck. The priest proclaimed that God had intervened and saved him from execution; the executioner agreed and let him go.

The Mathematician had a disbelieving, puzzled, look on his face.

Next the Rabbi put his head in the slot. The executioner pulled the lever and the blade came speeding down the track, stopping a few inches above the Rabbi’s neck. Like the Priest, the Rabbi proclaimed that God had intervened to save him. The executioner, again, agreed and let the Rabbi go.

The Mathematician, more troubled than ever, put his head in the slot and turned to look upward where he noticed something that made him smile.

Before the executioner could pull the lever, the Mathematician said “Hold on there one minute, I see what the problem is! There is a small pebble blocking the path of the blade”. He removed the pebble and announced, “There, it should work just fine now!”

The moral of the story:
Don’t get so caught up in finding a solution that you forget the original problem.

In my years of Mathematical study and teaching I think that is the single hardest thing to remember. It’s so easy to want to just find a solution and completely overlook the context in which the problem is occurring.

As a teacher, I try to remind my students to look at the big picture. There is a solution to every problem but how you get to the solution may be different than how your friends gets to the solution. It’s important to know how to do something, but it much more important to understand why something happens.

Given enough time anyone can memorize a formula or a step by step process to solve a specific type of problem.  It might take some longer than others, but anyone can learn the ‘how’.

It takes a lot more time and effort to learn the ‘why’.

If your son or daughter is struggling with a specific skill it is almost always because they don’t understand why what they were taught in class works. A teacher can only do so much in the limited time they are given in class, not every problem assigned is going to be exactly like the ones used as classroom examples. If there isn’t an underlying understanding of why each step of an example worked your student is going to struggle.

If you, as a parent, don’t know why something works either look it up! (I can hear the grumbles from the older generation Math teachers now…)

Use the internet.

Seriously.

We have it, why not use this wonderful tool that we have available. There are fantastic websites devoted entirely to Mathematics skills tutorials and problem walk-throughs. Obviously there are sites that will just give your kid the answer also, but we can’t have the good without the bad.

If you can help  your child  want to know the ‘why’ you will be giving them a wonderful gift they will cherish their whole life.

When I have a struggling student the first two sites I suggest are Khan Academy and YouTube.  (I help them in class too but sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day!) Both sites are free and easy to use and it is almost a guarantee that your child can find a tutorial using the method his or her teacher used in class. Plus, if the classroom method doesn’t make sense there are probably numerous other possible ways to solve the same problem outlined on these sites.

I think this is enough for one night, I’m going to leave my first Math lesson until next week.

Come back next week for more #MathLovinMonday!

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If you don’t want to miss my next installment of #MathLovinMonday don’t forget to subscribe via email. You can find the subscription panel on the right side of the page near the top.

#BigTopBlogParty

 

 

 

Childcare Solved $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

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This giveaway will end at 9:00 AM (EST) on 3/30/15!
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