Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fourth Grade Algebra Fun and a Giveaway!

Before I begin this post about algebra fun in my classroom, how awesome is this? :)

A few weeks ago, my students and I went through a wonderful experience together.  I taught them algebra. ;)

Want to blow a fourth graders mind? Drop a few letters in a problem, smile at them and say, "Solve.  Have fun." 

The beginning of our unit produced a lot of blank stares.  Which made me sad because well, I really loved algebra in school.  So while lesson planning, I really tried to remember what my math teachers did in high school to make it so painless.  

One of my favorite high school teachers ever, Mr. Crosby, was a tall man with a mustache who talked in a funny voice and waved at the window whenever he heard a siren.  He made algebra fun.  So one day, I put on a fake mustache and taught them everything Mr. Crosby taught me.  About how neatness is important, to always get the unknown by itself and to check, check your work. Oh my goodness, it worked.  My principal came in for a pop in and asked a student, "Why is your teacher wearing a mustache?"  One of my sweethearts replied, "Oh, we are just learning everything that Mr. Crosby taught her about algebra," and then recited, "neatness is important, get the unknown by itself and always check your work." All while holding his expo marker over his lip like a mustache.  Bless his heart but being silly and making fake mustaches so worked with my kids with this difficult concept!

Once the gears were clicking on the basics of algebra, we were able to play a lot of fun games that my students LOVED.  Most of them are Kagan activities that I can't share with you due to copyrights. 

However, I do have a few tools that made teaching algebra a lot easier and fun for my kiddos. :) One is an algebra word wall! :)  I had a math wall when I taught second grade and my kids used it all the time, so I've been trying to really hard to make them for each unit for my fourth graders.  If you really stress things like this are a tool, they WILL use them. 

My kiddos would often go back to our math wall to help them solve problems, especially with remembering the difference between equations and expressions.  The visuals really helped all my kiddos, especially my strugglers.   If you are interested in using this resource with your kiddos, I have uploaded my algebra math wall to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  :) Just click on the picture above or {here} to check it out!

One of the things my fourth graders needed to do for our end of unit test was to be able to generate equations or expressions for different scenarios.  Think things like "What equation would math this scenario?  A number multiplied by 3 is equal to 9."  Which would be n x 3 = 9.  

I made a four corners review game to use before our test and they LOVED it.  They keep asking to do more four corners games. 

 I displayed the A, B, C and D signs throughout the the room.  Each student had a recording sheet and then I displayed the scenarios included in the file on my Smartboard.   If you don't have a Smartboard, any active board or projector would work too!  My kiddos read through the scenarios and then when I gave them a signal, they moved to the poster that matched their answer.  

They loved getting up and out of their seats and I loved how I could visually see who got it, who didn't and everyone got instant feedback because we talked through the answers together.   If you'd like to use this game with your class, I've uploaded it to my Teachers Pay Teachers store as well.  Just click {here} or on the picture to check it out!

Since today is my blogging anniversary, I'd love to give these two products, or any other two products, of the winners choice from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.   The winner will be the first person who correctly guesses, or tells if you already know, which three grades I have taught! :)

Good luck!  


  1. Your math packet looks AWESOME! I also think I know the answer to your question. You have taught 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and 4th grade. :)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. Those look great! You have taught second, third, and fourth grades :)

    Fifth in the Middle

  3. second third and thankfully for me 4th! your stuff has really brightened up my room and teaching this year!

  4. 2nd, 4th, and 5th :)

    These activities look great Lisa!


  5. Happy Blogiversary! I love the four corners game! Wonderful, as always :)

  6. Let's see... I believe the three grades you have taught so far are second, third and fourth!!

  7. Congrats on your achievement! I've enjoyed your journey. These packets are great. Definitely needed for review. I'll throw my hat taught 3rd, 2nd, then my fave, 4th! Hope the new year is good to you :)

  8. I love teaching algebra and my 4th graders always seem excited to learn it because it is something that they have never seen before!! I LOVE your mustache story!! That is amazing!! I might have to steal those words of wisdom to teach my students!! haha And I am going to check out your 4 corners game right now! That looks like lots of fun!!

    Lessons with Laughter

  9. I teach 1st and 2nd grade so I couldn't use them with my guys - but I just wanted to let you know I saw your Algebra Math Wall posters on Pinterest and I think they are awesome!! Would totally recommend them to my upper elementary people!

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First


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  13. Try not to be hurried. Try not to surge. Unwind. Learning Algebra requires time. Take a seat, attempt to make sense of the ideas. You are not the only one. long division


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