Middle and Elementary School
In 2015, I started adding a little extra math 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 ways
How to Use Math With the Date, Method 1:
- The digits should stay in the same order they are in the date, and any operation signs can be added in between any digits.
- The equal sign can also be placed between any digits.
- Digits can be used as exponents, as in the example shown, and you can add square roots signs if you can find a way to use them.
How to Use Math With the Date, Method 2:
It’s been fun to see some students writing these in the corner of their notebooks during class! Others have asked to write their equations or expressions on the board during the last period of the day.
Five Benefits of Using Math Dates
- 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 expressions (using the bar as a
division sign – a student did this on his own one day!)
- If you happen to make a “mistake,” students can find it and
6. EXTRA Math Benefits
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
- 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’ve added a year of dates for upper elementary math as well.
How do you include more math in the middle school classroom?