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A Secondary Summer Not Wasted - Blog Hop!

We are getting close to our last week of school, and I have been trying some different activities with my math classes. Last week, we spent 3 days creating rectangular prisms, to help solve the following problem (this problem is very similar to a problem from a computerized benchmark test...a problem that VERY few students were able to figure out. That problem used a triangular prism; I switched it to a rectangular prism):

Some groups created tiles, others drew them.
"An artist created a rectangular prism covered in square mirror tiles to hang from the ceiling in her studio. The prism's length was 10 inches, the width was 8 inches, and the height was 4 inches.
Find the surface area of the rectangular prism.
Find how many tiles will be needed to cover the entire prism. If the tiles cost $0.35 each, how much did it cost her to cover the entire rectangular prism?"

To solve this, I had the students actually create the prism and somehow show a way to figure out how many tiles would cover it - it was a great activity! They worked hard, they thought hard, they came up with different ways to solve the problem, they were proud of their prisms, and they could really understand both the problem and the solution. They learned quite a bit more than how to figure out the answers, and so did I, which leads me to my thoughts for "A Secondary Summer Not Wasted" -

Lots of rectangular prisms!
encourage students to create/build things!  They don't necessarily need to think about what math they are using, or what other "school skills" they are using. They just need to apply these skills to real situations. During our rectangular prism building, I found that many students don't know how to measure to be sure that their lines are going to be straight. If students spend time during the summer to use math in a practical way, they are not only using specific math skills, but they are also using logic, problem solving, and perseverance, which are so critical to every day success. With some help in the tool area, students can work on building bird houses, garden beds, tree houses, and more! This site, Built by Kids, offers some fantastic projects, complete with material lists and directions, for children of all ages. I have to check out this site more completely to see what my daughter would be interested in.

With guidance and practice, students can spend their summers using math in very practical ways (let's not forget about the use of fractions in cooking/baking - one of my favorite activities!!).

How will you use math in your creations this summer?

Continue on the blog hop to see what The Colorado Classroom has in store for the summer!
Click to go to The Colorado Classroom


  1. Ellie, that is wonderful. Thank you so much for the idea and the link to the website. I am looking for summer activities for my son that go beyond the worksheet!

  2. My kids love to build things. I really like the idea of having them build things during the summer and connecting it to math. They'll have so much fun, they won't realize they are reinforcing their school math skills!

  3. I love this idea! Sometimes they just need to get their hands on it to actually understand and visualize what is happening. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. What a creative idea for the summer. I know my daughter could use some practice in this area, and the hands-on activities will get her involved so much better than any workbook could. Thanks for the idea and the link.


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