The Next Page Entry 18: Math Scramble

The Next Page Entry 18: Math Scramble

boys chasing in field of grass
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

So, Mrs. Nix wanted us to be ‘on schedule’ during our 10:00 Flex Time.

Welcome to…

Math Scramble


–Index cards with numbers or operators [=, – x, ÷] on them.
Some cards will have numbers on one side and operators on the other.

Some will have numbers on one side and an operation [like ‘times 2’] on the other.

–Plastic hoops [Hula Hoops]/traffic cones as ‘destinations’. Teacher decides the distance between hoops.

–Marking pens

Optional: First aid kit for possible collisions. ;-]

Student assistants can be used to: [rotate them in so all kids are doing math during the session]

–play music during ‘computation times’ [i.e. math scrambles].

–video record some of the rounds and take photos of groups with correct results.

–check for correct results or give a quick ‘math boost’ [correct answers to urgent requests—’What’s 4 x 15?’]

**Where do the kids with cards that don’t match the description go? To the middle.

Teacher serves as the ‘math inspector’.

Sample rounds

“All kids with operators [great math vocabulary!] run to the red hoops!”

“All kids with even numbers run to the blue hoops.”

“All kids with odd numbers…”

“All kids with factors of…”

“All kids with multiples of…”

“All kids with prime numbers…”

“All kids with composite numbers…”

Now it’s time to team up. ** Hoops aren’t required for these rounds.

A few students can be given blank cards to use as ‘math ad lib’ [wild cards], as needed.

For example: Your team has to create a ‘15’ and if you’re currently at 30, the ad lib card card be used as a ‘divide by 2’ card.

“Make sure your team knows what number you’ve created and decide who will announce/explain it at inspection.” [Ex. “Our team created a ___. This is what we did…”]

“Team up to create a 10!”

“Team up to create a 100!”

“Team up to create a prime number!”

“Team up to create a multiple of 5!”

“Team up to create a number larger than 20!”

“Team up to create a number smaller than 50!”

“Now…you will need to use at least four people to create a 60.”

“Now…use at least four people to create a 35.”

“Now…use at least four people to create a multiple of 7.”

“Now, it’s time to switch cards. If you have an operator card, make sure you now have a number card…Ready? Let’s do a few more rounds.”

The Next Page Entry 17: Aftermath of Chat with Mrs. Nix

The Next Page Entry 17: Aftermath of Chat with Mrs. Nix

silhouette of person scratching head pondering

So I promised Mrs. Nix that I would look into changing things up.

I wasn’t exactly specific, was I?

Gotta admit, I didn’t realize right then how open-ended ‘changing things up’ is. But I like it…

Anyway, I don’t want to alarm poor Mrs. Nix with my being ‘different’. I would just as soon stay off her radar–like all the other years–where she pretty much just tolerated me as long as I followed the ‘schedule’.

For now, I guess I’m on her radar. I was surprised she sauntered out to our rural setting to begin with.

Questions: Did someone alert her to our ‘rebellious’ ways? Or did she just follow her ‘Spidey-Sense’? Or did she actually have a question for me that she forgot to address?


Elsewhere on the teaching front…

Beth Hansen is watching me like a hawk.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she kept a dossier on me, though extra work isn’t exactly her strong suit. She’s just that kind of obsessively observant kid.

**I might need to put a bell on her so I know her whereabouts.

On the other hand, speaking of Spidey-Sense, this kid knows when I’m scrambling and seems to show up when I need saving.

The Next Page: From the journal of Beth Carson…

The Next Page: From the journal of Beth Carson…

notebook page
We’re writing till our hands ache. Ms. Page said something about using our ‘thinking-and-writing muscle’ every day. Yeeesh, I just don’t like the sound of that. All summer I was sure I had Ms. Page figured out. Here I was ready for a whole year of doing as little work as possible. And now we’re in Marine boot camp, doing exercises first thing in the morning.

I swear it felt like breakfast was an inch from coming back up.

Kind of glad it didn’t, since Mrs. Nix showed up right about then.

I looked over at Ms. Page. Suddenly she was the one who looked like her breakfast was an inch from coming back up.

The Next Page Entry 16: A Chat with Mrs. Nix

The Next Page Entry 16: A Chat with Mrs. Nix

Mrs. Nix: So, that was interesting. Shouldn’t you have been teaching math at that time?

Joanna Page: Well, actually, we were about to start counting by multiples of six as we did those burpees, but I figured you’d seen enough.

Mrs. Nix: Oh? How could you tell? And…burpees?

Joanna Page: Burpees are just fancy jumping jacks that I make fancier by weaving in a little math. And pretty much any teacher can tell when an administrator isn’t thrilled with things.

Mrs. Nix: What is it? A knitted brow? A frown?

Joanna Page: I’m not sure I can describe it. It’s more of a vibe we pick up on.

Mrs. Nix: So, Joanna, you seem, umm, different this year. What’s going on?

Joanna Page: Different? How so?

Mrs. Nix: You just seem to be in your own little world. Like you’re not ‘with the program’.

Joanna Page: I’m sorry you think that. I guess I’m just adjusting to a new classroom and a new class of kids.

Mrs. Nix: Well, I have another meeting, so see if you can’t fall back in line with our schedule.

Joanna Page: I’ll take a look at changing things up.

The Next Page Entry 15: Burpees

The Next Page Entry 15: Burpees

Yep, burpees. 

My version, which my brothers taught me, is basically a fancy jumping jack, but why not mix things up?

So, for the second round of 10:00 Flex Time, we lined up seamlessly, marched out Marine-like to our designated safe place, and promptly disintegrated into a roiling swarm of nine-year-olds. 

Once back in our circles, we learned the art of the burpee–do a jumping jack, then, back at starting position, bend at the knees with hands on the ground, shift to a push-up position, return to knees-bent, and back to standing/starting position. Repeat process.

The kids needed a step-by-step demonstration, followed by a  slo-mo demo, and then they partnered up to practice.

[No surprise, they loved the name. Not quite sure how this will be translated at the family dinner table.] 

Once they got the hang of it, I had them do a set of three. Still confusion reigned, and I just shrugged and giggled at a group of two dozen kids in various stages of contortion. Hey, they were moving, right? And laughing. And getting fresh air…

All under the gaze of an unexpected visitor.

Double-yikes. [Would she be at all impressed that there is an actual World Burpee Day? I could only hope.]