MATHCamp: Avoid The Brain Drain

Summer slide is real and from all accounts, pretty serious. The reading slides are fairly easily remedied, get yourself to the library and get some good books to read. But what about math? Who wants to spend the summer doing math drills and worksheets? Seriously. Do MATHCamp instead.

MATHCamp Not Drill

You need to engage your kids this summer so that they don't experience brain drain, and that means math. 

But who has the time (or desire) to come up with fun, engaging, math work this summer? 

Don't worry, we've got you covered. 

MATHCamp is not the same math you did during the year. Forget that! 

MATHCamp is about noticing, wondering, exploring and playing with math ideas. 

We created 8 packets which are mini-discovery and exploration units that will get your kids thinking about and begging for more math. 

The units were designed to last a week, though several can be used over and over again.


We know kids need to practice calculation but we don't have to kill their motivation with drill based worksheets. Nothing is worse than doing 30 problems a day, every day, and not knowing why. 

"Because I told you too," only works a couple times before students students start to rebel.

We snuck in some drills into MATHCamp by creating puzzles. But, these puzzles go beyond drill and get students thinking about numerical relationships and challenging them to think.

We also put in some fraction work for beginners that covers naming and multiplying fractions or as my 7 year-old says, "doin' fractions of fractions". Lacy from Play, Discover, Learn created 3 games to go with the self-checking fractions cards, so your students don't even need you to teach. They can learn on their own. Whoot whoot for that one!

Most kids struggle with fractions. We got fractions covered in MATHCamp 2018.

Naming Fractions 3 in 1 Game Pack Bundle

Most student's math struggle starts with fractions.

Three sets of board games and cards increase in degree of difficulty. The Woodland Themed set has a visual of the fraction of each card. The Dinosaur Themes set does not contain a visual so students will need to create the fractions from written instructions on the card. The Circus Themed set includes fractions of fractions. Each set comes with it's own matching board game.

The task cards can also be used with the Dog Themed Set of 28 Bingo Cards which are included. This bundle allows a student to work on their own without the help of a teacher, but can also be used as a group activity.

Poking device (cupcake decor or stir stick), Cuisenaire Rods, and Game pawns not included.  Click here, here and here for a preview.

Statements of Equality Triangle and Hexagon Puzzles

Math Shape Puzzles are a great way for students to develop working memory, the habit of attention, and the habit of observation while also exploring statements of equality.

Included are 21 puzzles. Five puzzles are designed so students create their own puzzles offering many more puzzles to solve. Puzzles have students explore statements of equality for addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions.

The puzzles are designed to complement Gattegno Textbook 1.

Preview here.

Equality statements made into a puzzles. MATHCamp 2018.
Oral Narration isn't just for MATHCamp. Kids should be narrating math all the time.

Math Cootie Catchers for Oral Narration

These Math Cootie Catchers aren't just for MATHCamp. They make oral narration with Cuisenaire® Rods fun and interesting. Exercises cover naming complements (addition), naming differences, naming single rod trains (multiplication), naming fractions, fractions of fractions, math story problems and more.

Exercises provide student free choice as well as divergent solutions giving these math cootie catchers lots of play. It is a powerful addition to Gattegno Textbook 1 or anyone who just wants to play around with Cuisenaire Rods as a supplement to what you are already doing. We learn what kids know by what they tell us and generate themselves, not by the number of worksheets they do.

Cuisenaire Rods not included. Preview here.

Magic Squares Puzzles and Other Number Puzzles

How are numbers related to one another? What do numbers have in common? Solving number puzzles is not just about learning math facts. It goes way beyond math facts to the symbolic relationships. 

Investigation begins with notice and exploration. Students will make small changes and observe the affect the changes have on the puzzle, thus revealing the inner workings of the puzzle.

After in-depth discussions, manipulation of the magic square puzzles and other number puzzles, students create their own. Puzzles like these develop logic, reasoning and problem-solving skills. And they are a lot of fun. We have included two 1 hour training sessions we did with the puzzles. Preview here.

Moving beyond drill to relationships with Number Puzzles for MATHCamp 2018.
Practice math facts, but not with a boring worksheets. We've turned fact practice into Math Dot to Dots.

Math Dot to Dots

Dot to dots are a perfect way to spend a rainy day. We've taken the whole idea up a notch. Eight puzzle grids are marked with numbers 1-100. Each puzzle grid contains math statements to solve. The answers are each plotted on the grid and students connect the dots.

Half the grids are random equations for students who are comfortable with numbers, fractions and brackets. The other puzzles contain statements that will allow students to practice skills such as halving, doubling, and tripling; working with nine; and subtraction. We've included one grid template for students to create and share their own Math Dot to Dots.

We got a kick out of making these! Preview here.

Tessellation Exploration

Tessellations are repeating patterns on a plane (flat surface). We find them in nature, in our homes, and in art - particularly the art of MC Escher.

Tessellations combine the creativity an art project with the challenge of solving a puzzle. This 10 page packet will provide enough exploration for a week or more of activities and is limited only by your creativity. Students create 3 types of repetitions: translation, reflection and rotation. Students will create their own versions of each of these tessellation patterns.

A bibliography is included for further exploration.
Preview here.

MATHCamp 2018 Tessellation explorations for the whole family. Learning about translation, rotation and reflection while creating tessellations.
Math is weird and fun. Really. Geometric Vanishes are just an introduction to that world.

The Geometric Vanish

64 square centimeters is not the same as 65 square centimeters, or is it? Some people think math is exact and predictable, which it is. Expect, when it's not. What if we could make space disappear? What if we could make it reappear?

How would we explain this? This 5 page exploration dips your feet into the crazy, wacky world of math that mathematicians and illusionists love. No student should finish school without exploring this part of math for themselves.

Preview here.

Flexagons and DIY Mathematical Fidgets

Kids fell for the fidget spinner fad, but mathematicians have been playing with Mathematical fidgets for a long time. Hexaflexigons were brought to the world by Martin Gardner, but Vi Hart popularized them.

Patterns and directions are included for hexaflexagons and flextangles. Flextangles are easier for younger students to flip and color. Some moms like to color and play with flextangles too. I won't mention any names. 

 Preview here.

Mathematicians have been playing with fidget objects long before they were a fad. Time to discover why.

Want to keep this for reference? Click here, I'll send this to you as a PDF.

Leave a Comment: