Frighteningly Fun Halloween Math Problems

  1. Share these frighteningly fun Halloween math problems with your class.


  1. Stumpy the skeleton goes for a bike ride every night in the cemetery. He rides 1/2 way around the cemetery and stops. Stumpy then bikes 3/4 of the way around before stopping again. He finishes his ride by biking another 3/8. How far around the cemetery does Stumpy bike?
  2. An adult skeleton has 206 bones. There are 27 bones in a hand and 26 bones in a foot. How many bones are not in the hands or feet?
  3. After scooping out and carving the Jack O Lantern, the class counted 162 pumpkin seeds.  Their teacher roasted the pumpkin seeds for a tasty treat.  She wanted to divide the seeds up evenly among all her students. There were 18 students in the class. How many pumpkin seeds did each student get?
  4. Anoka, MN is the Halloween Capital of the World.  They created the first Halloween parade in 1920. How many years will it be before they can celebrate their 100th anniversary?  How many months?  Think that’s scary, now try to figure out how many days?
  5. Count Juan Toothree is giving a party at his haunted castle. Throughout the evening guests come and go. 10 guests go in.  2 come out. 12 more go in. 3 come out. 6 go in. 8 come out.  10 more go in. 1 comes out. And just before midnight 2 go in and 8 come out.  How many guests are at the party at midnight?
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5 Awesome Teacher Apps. Number 2 is One of Our Favorites.

Ascend Math, Top 5 Teacher AppsMany of you have heard the old adage, “A teacher’s work is never done.” There are always assignments to grade, lessons to plan, and parent-teacher conferences to attend. Anything that can save teachers time is a great investment, and the recent app revolution has provided many helpful apps for time and classroom management.

Take a look at this list of five must have apps for teachers in 2017 compiled by Teachers With Apps.  Tell us which you like. Our team uses Slack every day.  It increases our productivity, improves group collaboration and saves time.  Leave a comment on our blog.

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Your Brain on Math

Your Brain on Math

Business Insider put out a fascinating story with pictures of scans showing what happens in the brain when solving a math problem.  They indicated four distinct steps: encoding (reading and understanding the problem), planning (strategizing how to tackle the problem), solving (performing the math), and responding (typing or writing the answer)

The steps themselves should come as no surprise to anyone who has taught math. Our lead instructor, Elayn Martin-Gay, has been teaching these steps in our award-winning videos for over 20 years.  Science is just starting to describe what great teachers have known for decades and probably centuries.  In teaching math, we add a fifth important step of checking the answer. I would like to see what the brain looks like during that step.


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Are Hope and Engagement Key Student Success Indicators?

Engagement is driven when students know how to apply what they know.

Have you seen the 2016 Gallup Student Poll?  According to Gallup, the Student Poll will track for 10 years the hope, engagement, and well-being of public school students in grades 5 through 12 across the United States. But what do these measurements really tell us?  Are student’s hope, engagement and well-being truly the leading indicators of their success in school and graduation rates?

A report released from ASCD sums it up best.

“Student test scores alone do not meaningfully track student learning and growth throughout the school year, nor do they provide the information necessary to address nonacademic student needs crucial to student success. A primary goal of measuring students should be to assess their learning progress on an ongoing basis so that instruction can be designed to further enhance their academic performance throughout the school year. Schools should ask not just what students know, but also what they know how to do with what they know.”

Watch for the 2017 Gallup Student Poll.

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Top Tips for Education Leaders Preparing for School

Education Leaders Preparing for SchoolEdutopia recently ran a list of ideas for education leaders preparing for the new school year.   You’ll find some innovative ideas here. Take a quick look and see what might help you.

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It’s not about technology!

“Write the following on the blackboard 100 times:

Schools don’t want technology
Schools want curriculum
Schools don’t want technology
Schools want curriculum
Etc.”      From THE Journal,  In K-12, the New, New Thing is the Old Old Thing: Currriculum  by Cathie Norris, Elliot Soloway

Okay, we have certainly gotten past the premise that technology itself holds answers for education.  As we know, it is technology’s ability to save teachers time or focus student attention that can be advantageous. Recently, THE Journal went a step further calling for less attention to technology and more to curriculum.

“As a Gates Foundation exec puts it: “Research tells us that high-quality, aligned instructional material is important in helping teachers support their students in mastering the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to be college and career ready.”             THE Journal

I agree completely however not all students need the same instructional material at the same time. I wonder what teacher has the time to deliver individual lessons to different students for each objective she teaches and for the below grade level lessons she does not.  So, how can technology improve curriculum?

One of the most important benefits of technology is its ability to help with classroom management, simply put, one teacher trying to see to the needs of numerous students.  When each of these students has individual skill gaps, that challenge becomes even more daunting.  No teacher can be expected to handle truly individualized instruction for more than a few students without help.  And individualized instruction is so often needed when students fall behind in math or are ready to move ahead.

Technology can do this by properly assessing each student’s needs and then automatically assigning the appropriate aligned curriculum.

Bottom Line:  It’s not about having technology. It’s about delivering the right instruction to the right student at the right time!

Read more

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Ascend Math Honors 32 Schools for Math Leadership!

Ascend Education announced today that a record 32 schools are being recognized as Gold Medal schools this year.

The Gold Medal Award was established in 2010 to honor the schools or districts that best demonstrate a dedication to ensuring that all students become successful at math. The Gold Medal nominees all used Ascend Math to supplement their math instruction to achieve results better than they would in the normal classroom environment.  All 32 Gold Medal schools or districts will receive an award commemorating their success.

“These thirty two schools represent some of the best and most successful math implementations in the nation and beyond,” said Kevin Briley, CEO of Ascend Education. “In each of these schools students made tremendous strides far beyond what they have done in the past.  We are extremely proud of what they have accomplished this year.”

The 2,662 students in these 32 Gold Medal schools mastered 95,454 math objectives.  Most students gained from 1 to 5 grade levels in math. The complete Honor Roll of all Gold Medalists can be viewed at

Gold medal

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Curriculum Playlists, are they harder and more expensive than they look?

An article in Education Week caught my eye recently. It examined Curriculum Playlists as a method of personalizing instruction. Here’s a quote:

 “But some have found that implementing a playlist-based instructional model is harder—and more expensive—than it looks: On top of facilities renovations and technology upgrades, yearly software licenses cost $225 per student”

This is, in a word, ridiculous. It doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to implement a truly individualized program of math instruction.

Group Of Students Working At Computers In Classroom

The concept is simple really: 1. Assess 2. Provide Instruction 3. Verify Mastery 4. Assess again!  Okay, but let’s be specific about what we are assessing. Too often, assessment of math skills is reserved for on level. Far too many students have skill gaps several grades below their current level. Too assess properly the functional grade level must be ascertained first. Then the student must be quickly assessed on each skill in that functional grade level to determine where the student needs instruction.

An effective assessment and instructional math program that provides truly individual study plans for each student can be very easy for a teacher to implement. Also, it should cost no more than a small fraction of the amount mentioned in the Education Week article.

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Final Four Fun with Math

Final FourWe continue our series of fun March Mathness problems this week.  Here are two that were submitted for the Final Four.

Gonzaga and South Carolina will play each other in the Semi-Final on Saturday.   In the last round Gonzaga beat Xaviar 83 to 59.  South Carolina beat Florida 77 to 70.  Determine how many points each team won by.  Which team won by the greatest margin?


In Oregon’s win over Kansas Saturday, Tyler Dorsey made 9 out of 13 field goals. Kansas starter Frank Mason III made 8 out of 20 field goals.  Determine the field goal percentage for each by dividing 9 by 13 and 8 by 20.  Who had the better field goal percentage?

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The Sweet Sixteen Average

The teams that made it to the Sweet Sixteen are very different. Some have posted high scores in post season, some low. But they are all winners.  Can you find the mean, median, and mode for points scored per game by the teams in the Sweet Sixteen?

Team Game 1 score Game 2 score
Wisconsin 84 65
Florida 80 65
Baylor 91 82
South Carolina 93 88
Gonzaga 66 79
West Virginia 86 83
Xavier 76 91
Arizona 100 69
Kansas 100 90
Purdue 80 80
Oregon 93 75
Michigan 92 73
UNC 103 72
Butler 76 74
UCLA 97 79
Kentucky 79 65
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