Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paper Cup Math

I was beyond shocked when I looked back and realized my last post was on Christmas Eve. Honestly, where has the time gone? When did I blink?

This is a post I have been thinking about for a while. It is not a new idea. Not quite sure how I first discovered it. I think it was from my son's teacher. But it is definitely worth revisiting. If you are like me, you discover a new idea, use it for a while, and then another idea comes along and makes you forget about the first one.

This idea was brought back to my attention when my children's school started a Math Olympics. They are both studying their grade specific facts. Each night they are asked to study and log the time spent practicing. After a week, they had become bored with flash cards. Enter paper cup math!

Start by writing the math facts on the bottom of each cup.

Then put the answers inside the cup.

The student starts by picking a cup and stating the problem and answer - ex. 12 - 8 = 4. If correct he/she can use that cup to build. If incorrect,  the student returns it to the bottom of the stack. 

The cups can be used individually. They can self check since I have put the answers in the inside of the cup.

Or they can race each other.

Or they can work together to build one pyramid.

Using these little 3 oz paper cups are an inexpensive way to reinforce a number of concepts. Being a math focus teacher I tend to use them mostly for math, but you could definitely use them for other subjects. In ELA you could use them for sight words. The students would need to read them out loud before building. Or use them for synonyms and antonyms and the students have to match them up before building. In science and social studies you could place vocabulary words on them and the students can work in groups. They can't use a cup until the correct definition is given.

How have you used paper cups in your classroom?

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