This week I really wanted to play a math game, and on the course page under extra resources I saw my professor posted "Quadrilaterals Connect Four". I love the original game of connect four and thought a math version of connect four would be fun.  

In the directions it says two teams of two are needed to play the game successfully. Unfortunately the only person willing to play this exciting math game with me was once again my good friend, Tony. (He likes math, he's a math major) So, I did not see any harm in altering the game rules/directions a little bit and make it a two person game. 
To prepare for the game I cut out two sets of the game cards, one set for me, and the other set for Tony. I colored one set of cards blue, for tony and the other set of cards orange, for me. 
After getting the cards ready, I printed out the Connect Four game board. Each square has a description. Ex: "It has at least one pair of parallel lines" 

After prepping for the game I explained the game rules to Tony. The game is exactly like connect four, but using quadrilaterals. 

Each team should take their cards and place them face down. When it is their turn, they turn over the top card and place it where it belongs on the game board. 
Ex: I pulled a rectangle from the card pile, the rectangle can go on the "I has angles which are 90 degrees" box. 

The winner of the game gets four quadrilaterals in a row either diagonally, vertically, or horizontally.
Here is an example of a winning game board in which I won the game.

Tony and I played several games in which he won some and I won some. It was a lot of fun and got a little competitive. Overall, I thought it was a great activity.

Reflection: I thought this was a great activity to help review the different quadrilaterals. I think this activity would be good for grades 3-5. I think it should be played when reviewing for an assessment, but I don't think it should be played when first learning the different quadrilaterals. The one bad thing about the game was the terrible grammar and sentence structure on the game board, I would definitely fix that as a teacher, because for some reason it bothered me immensely!

Feedback: Were my directions clear? How could I change up the rules of the game to make the game better? 


This week I decided to apply what we have doing in class with triangles to the real world. Just like pattern's, triangles are found everywhere in the world, whether it be in artwork or on everyday things, such as a street sign. 

Here are some examples of triangles that I see every day or can be found in everyday things. 

Every time I look at my iPhone this is the background I see, it is full of equilateral triangles. Some are bigger and some are smaller, depending on how you look at the design.  

Some street signs that I see almost everyday while driving to class have a triangle shape, such as the yield sign. 

(I did not take this photo, I searched for it on Google Images).

Even triangles can be found in nature. A lot of different types of flowers have triangular shapes. Also, I believe mountains have a triangular shape sometimes. 
There are also a lot of triangle designs and triangle art. 
Reflection: I always find it fun to incorporate art with math and I feel that kids would enjoy it also. Who doesn't love coloring and expressing their creative side with some construction paper and markers? Using art to help children learn different shapes is great for them to learn how to draw the shape and know what it looks like. Also, while creating their triangle math art it is likely that they will draw and discover different types of triangles, such as an equilateral, isosceles, acute, etc. 
Geometry is art! 

Feedback: What other creative ways could I teach children triangles besides using art? I love incorporating art in math lessons, but I do not want to overuse art when teaching math, just for the sake of children that do not enjoy art as much as other students. 
Reading Plan:
September 29- Chapter 1
October 6- Chapter 2
October 13- Chapter 3
October 20- Chapter 4
October 27- Chapter 5
November 3- Chapter 6
November 10- Chapter 7
November 17- Chapter 8
November 21- Chapter 9

For one of my daily work activities this week I taught a friend how to play the shape attribute game we played in class on Friday. For my weekly work I decided to take the shape attribute game to the next level. This time instead of using basic shapes I used different animals. I love animals and I thought combining science with math would be fun. This game would be good for when children are learning to categorize and learning about different animals and there different habitats and characteristics. 
To set the game up I found images of different animals with different and similar characteristics online. I printed out the pictures and cut them out to turn them into playing cards. I had 27 cards in my set, but it really doesn't matter how many cards are in the set. There could be more or less. 

I decided to teach my good friend Tony how to play the animal version of my attribute game. 

I drew out three different circles, and had each of them overlapping each other a little to form Venn Diagrams. 

I then explained to him that the objective of the game is that one person creates a rule for each circle and the other person tries to guess what the rules are by process of elimination. Also, an animal can be in two different categories at the same time. 

Here is an example of one of our games. The rule for the top left circle is "Cold Blooded Animals" The rule for the top right circle is "Animals That Live in or Spend a lot of Time in Water" and the bottom circle is "Animals that Live in the Jungle". 

There were several different rule possibilities with this animal version of the attribute game such as animals with stripes, animals with four legs, animals that can fly, etc...


Reflection: I really enjoyed this activity and so did my friend, Tony. Unlike shapes, I think that there are more different rules you can make with animals. I also really like combining different subjects together like math and science. I feel that this activity would be enjoyable for children, because who doesn't love animals? Also, it changes up things up instead of just playing the game with geometric shapes.

Feedback: I would like to know if I explained the game rules/objectives well enough. Also, I would like know of any other good ideas for an attribute game. 
Attribute Games Rock!
This week I decided to complete the pattern's worksheet on braille and codes. I also read the article "Patterns at Your Fingertips" by Daniel J. Brahier. I decided to do this as my weekly work because it made me realize math can help people who are in need, such as the blind. These worksheets and article really demonstrates how math can relate to the real world.
The first worksheet I completed was "Pixel Patterns". The first thing the worksheet asked me to do was create a six pixel font and make 26 letters in the boxes. Each pixels had to have a different design. I then had to write my first name with the code. 
This is what I came up with:

After I created my own code, I was asked what problems I had with my font and what some good things were about my font. I said that a problem could be that some of the letter combinations are similar and it could get confusing, I also said the font could be difficult to memorize. Some good things I pointed out about my font was that it was original and all of the letters were different from each other (which was the goal). 
The next thing the worksheet asked me to do was to think of my font mathematically. It asked me how many different combination possibilities are with 1 pixel? 2 pixels? and then 3 pixels? With one pixel there are only two combinations, with two pixels I discovered there are only 4 possible combinations, and with three pixels I discovered there were 8 possible combinations.
Do you see a numerical pattern yet? 

I discovered quickly that each time the number of pixel's goes up, the number of possibilities doubles. 
Example: 2 pixels has 4 combinations and 3 pixels has 8 combinations, so 4+4=8 

So then I was asked what the next pixel's arrangements were. Using math I found that 4 pixel's had 16 possible combinations, 5 pixels had 32 combinations, and 6 pixel's had 64 combinations. 
I found all of these answers just by doubling the number of possibilities each time.
Ex: 8+8= 16 so there are 16 possible combinations in the 4 pixels
     16+16=32 so there are 32 possible combinations with the 5 pixels
     32+32= 64 there are 64 combinations with the 6 pixels 

The next thing I was asked honestly made me think. The worksheet asked if it matters if the tiles are arranged. My solution to that question was that it does not matter how the tiles are arranged. I double checked my answer by sketching out the different tile arrangement and comparing it to the original tile arrangement
These problems all led up to the actual braille alphabet. The first pattern I noticed in the braille alphabet was that the first row of letters (a-j) only has dots in the first two rows. The second pattern I noticed was that the second row of letters (k-t) had dots in all three of the rows, but in the third row there was only a dot in the first column. The last pattern I noticed was that the third row of letters (u-z) had dots in all three of the rows, but had dots in both the first and second column of the third row (with the exception of w). 

Braille numbers were the last thing the worksheet pointed out. Notice, that numbers are the same as letters, the only thing that differentiates them is the braille symbol that notifies the reader that they are about to be reading numbers instead of letters. This special symbol is very important, because it prevents confusion among the reader. Without this symbol the reader would assume they are reading letters. 

This worksheet prepared me for the article "Patterns at Your Fingertips" by Daniel J. Brahier. The article starts off with a very great idea. Combining literature with math. They suggested that the students read a book about Helen Keller before they begin to do the math activities. I thought this was a wonderful idea, because this shows how math can help people, such as the blind. Without math, there would not be Braille, and without Braille, blind people would not be able to read. This shows how much of an impact math makes on people's lives. 

I also noted in the article, "Barbier, a former soldier, showed Louis how soldiers had used a complicated twelve-dot system to communicate top-secret information on the battlefield" (Brahier 522). This soldier inspired Louis Braille to create the braille alphabet. This excerpt also shows that math even had an impact on the military because of these mathematical codes, these soldiers were able to communicate on the battlefield. 

Now getting to the actual lesson plan for 2nd and 3rd graders, I thought this article used a great activity to teach kids how to make different codes and patterns. Using four of one color and four of another it has kids create different combinations of color patterns. 
I tried out the activity using the colors red and green and came up with the solution that there are 8 possible color pattern combinations for a "3-tile train"
The activity then told me to find how many color combinations there were with 4 tiles. I quickly discovered that the result was going to end up like the first worksheet. The color combinations just doubled, so there were 16 different color combinations. 

Ultimately the whole activity was like the first worksheet I completed, but it was more 2nd and 3rd grade friendly. Using colors made this activity more exciting and I believe it would help them learn the concept better.

The last thing discussed in the 2-3 grade activity was that these codes can be used to solve math problems. For example: "Each child in class has 3 pencils. If there are 15 children, how many pencils are there altogether?" Then there are two different answers, "Our answer" and "Our answer in braille" 
I think this is a good idea, because it gives the kids more to think about. Rather than just a simple, "what is 15x3?" Instead this activity encourages them to find the answer and then find the braille pattern that goes with the answer.  
The article also explains the same activity for 4th-6th graders. Ultimately the activity is the same, but more advanced. The article has them fill out the table that I filled out in the first worksheet I completed, and then asks them to answer a problem similar to the question in the 2nd to 3rd grade activity, but more advanced. 
Reflection: I think this braille activity is a great way for kids to learn how to apply their math skills and knowledge to real life. It is also good for them to see that math is very helpful in the world and greatly has helped out the blind. This activity also will take problem solving and creating patterns to another level. All around this is a very helpful, eye-opening activity. 
Brahier, Daniel J. "Patterns at Your Fingertips." Web. 7 Sept. 2013.