Use the Date for Daily Math Review and Math Thinking in Middle and Upper Elementary Classes
In 2015, I started adding a little extra daily math review into my classes, homeroom, and last period (homeroom students again) – by using the date!
I had done this years ago, but hadn’t used the idea in a while, so I brought it back to my middle school math classroom in two different ways.
I’ll share those ways in this post and then share the benefits of using the date for daily math review.
How to Use the Date for Daily Math Review, Method 1:
One way to include more daily math review AND math thinking in middle school math is to use all the digits in the date to create an equation.
The ‘rules’ for creating the equations are fairly simple:
- The digits stay in the same order they are in the date; so for Feb 2, 2016, the digits are 2 2 2016.
- Any operation signs and parentheses can be added in between any digits.
- The equal sign can also be placed between any digits.
- Digits can be used as exponents, as shown in the example in the image.
- You can add square roots signs if you can find a way to use them.
How to Use the Date for Daily Math Review, Method 2:
The second way I used the date to include more daily math review in the classroom was to write the date so that each number in the date is an expression to evaluate.
For example, for the date February 8, 2016:
- The 2 for February could be written as the cube root of 8
- The 8th could be 2 cubed
- The ’16’ for 2016 could be 64 divided by 4
When to Use the Date for Daily Math Review
It can be challenging to add ‘another thing’ to math class, but using the dates for math review can take as much or as little time as you want.
- Some days you might just put the date on the board (or use a calendar card for your calendar) for students to observe and mentally note that the expression is equal to the numbers in the date (this is even great in a non-math class!).
- Other days you might use the date as a warm-up and ask students to show you their solutions.
- You could even add the dates into your math centers.
However you incorporate this type of math review, it’s a great way to address equivalent expressions and MANY other concepts as a type of spiral review throughout the entire year.
Throughout the years, it’s been so much fun to see students writing these in the corner of their notebooks during class when I haven’t actually asked them to evaluate!
And students have asked to write their equations or expressions on the board during the last period of the day, so I know they enjoy both solving and creating the equations and expressions.
Five Benefits of Using the Date for Math Review
What I love about including math dates as a daily review is that they:
- Are quick
- Can be completed at any time (beginning of class, finished early time, closing of class, or in homeroom)
- Help kids to expand their number sense and use some “out of the box” thinking
- Help improve students’ understanding of equivalent expressions
- Can be ‘expanded’ to challenge students:
- Students can create their own expressions
- Students can evaluate the entire expression (using the bars as division signs – a student did this on his own one day!)
- If you happen to make a “mistake,” students can find it and correct it:-)
6. EXTRA Math Benefits of Using the Date
Some other fantastic benefits of using the Math Dates for daily math review are that you can:
Introduce Math Concepts
- Math Dates can be used to introduce notations or concepts students haven’t seen before, like the cube root or exponent rules.
- As you discuss the date in class, a quick overview of a particular concept can help set students up for greater success when it comes time to teach the concept in the course of the curriculum (especially if they’ve seen it in several different dates!).
Reinforce Math Concepts or Facts You Want to Target
- Math Dates can be used to reinforce some basic concepts, like the meaning of exponents. I don’t know about your students, but mine often forget that 2 cubed means 2 x 2 x 2, not 2 x 3. Using the exponents in the date keeps bringing that concept back for review.
- In 2017, I used the ‘year part’ of the date to reinforce that 51 is divisible by 3 – this was such a huge help to students who assumed 51 was prime.
If your students are struggling to retain a certain concept, give the math dates a try – work that concept into the date.
Where Can You Find Math Dates Created for You?
I created Math Dates resources for you to use throughout the year – these have been published by individual months and as a year-long resource on TPT. These are great for middle schoolers and have a BUNCH of number puzzles included as well.
I’ve also added a year of dates for upper elementary math.
How do you include more daily math review and math thinking in the middle school classroom?