## Toys in Math Class?!

I was student teaching in an Intensive Algebra I class and was trying to think of a hands-on activity to reinforce the concept of the unions and intersections of sets.  It dawned on me that ANYTHING could make up a set, so I wandered into my favorite place- the dollar store!  I found some cool little toys; little green army men, bouncy balls, googly eyes, red and black checkers.  I decided to add paper clips just to get another item thrown into the mix.  I separated all of the items and put them into plastic baggies.  I made enough baggies for each group of students.

After discussing what the words “union” and “intersection” mean in real life and asking for examples of these things (union of people in marriage, intersection of roads, and several others the students came up with), we applied those definitions to sets.  I then passed out the baggies and Venn diagrams to each group.

I displayed different sets, asked different questions and had the groups use the toys manipulatives to figure out the unions and intersections.  I will say that using bouncy balls is not recommended!  I guess they are just TOO fun!  The kids loved being able to play with toys in math class and were actually eagerly awaiting the next question to be displayed on the SmartBoard.

I searched the internet for the pictures to put into the SmartBoard.

## So, what in the world am I teaching?!

I was lucky.  I went to a teacher recruitment fair less than a month after graduating and was offered a job during my second interview!  At the time, the principal told me I would be teaching intensive Algebra I- yes!   This was SO up my alley and I immediately began planning (in my head) all the wonderful things I would do in that class before even leaving the building.

Notice I said “at the time”– Well, I went to the high school for a tour a couple of weeks later and it turned out they weren’t sure what I would be teaching.  Drat.

The kids in my district start school on August 20th, so time is a ticking.  I should also mention that I am an incredibly anal organized person and I would have had an entire quarter’s worth of lesson plans done by the time my New Teacher Orientation commenced this coming Thursday.  I have decided not to enter panic-mode, but I am a little anxious about the whole thing.

From my school tour I also learned that they do not have SmartBoards!  I was terribly disheartened and discouraged (and, frankly, freaking out!) until I figured out that I can insert my SmartBoard lessons into Mimio with very little manipulation!  At least all of my pre-service lesson plans weren’t for naught. 🙂

So, now I’m wondering if 2 weeks will be enough time to get my classroom, brain and lessons organized.  I have heard the time just prior to school starting is incredibly stressful- I just hope I’m up for it!

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