CIESE Math Activities List (Version 2.1)
Source: Original Version 1.0 developed at CIESE - Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education

revised 8.15.14  New version in the works 2.1 - under constrction

Activity Description Topics Software

13 * 7 = 28 Watch Abbott and Costello do some mathematical hocus-pocus with multiplying 13 x 7 and getting an answer of 28. Explain how Costello cheated with place value to get an answer of 28. Numerical operations Video (You Tube)

Algebra Balance Beam
Solve simple equations using a balance beam representation. (updated)
Algebra Applet -Mattimath

Balance Beam Activity
Use basic equation principles with this virtual balance to find the weights of various figures. You are presented with a number of shapes and one of their weights is known. Your goal is to find the weights of the other objects by finding the relationships between the objects of various weights. This is achieved with a simulation of a balance beam to tell you how the weights relate. Patterns (Pre Algebra) Applet

Billiard paths
Here you will find an unusual billiard table. The dimensions are determined by the numbers on the sliders. Your Challenge: See if you can come up with a way to predict (1) what the number of touches will be for any given size billiard table and (2) which corner the ball will end up in. Number Sense, Numerical operations Applet,

Birthday problem
What is the probability that in a room of 23 people that 2 people share the same birthday? Use the applet to determine the probability experimentally. Probability Applet

Black Box
Guess my (2-step) rule. The black box method uses an imaginary device (the black box) that modifies the input number according to a specific formula. The formula is hidden in the black box so to a viewer the number mysteriously changes. Algebra FlashLink: Black Box Method

Boutique - Making Change
At the Boutique shop the student plays the role of a store clerk who sells clothes. The main task is to handle the exchange of money and give correct change. In this example, the student is given $5.00 for an item that costs $4.22. The right change is 78¢. What are the different ways you could make the necessary change? Numerical operations, Problem Solving SS

Broken Calculator
In this game you have to get as close as possible to a given number, by using the still working buttons of a broken calculator. Challenge: make your computation come out to 25 if the 5 key is disabled. Number Sense, Numerical operations Applet,

Buffon’s needle
The challenge in this activity is to see if the students can make a prediction about the likelihood of toothpicks landing on lines when dropped randomly using experimental and theoretical data. Probability Flash,
Video: Teachers.TV


Lesson Plan: What’s my Order? This lesson uses an applet to get after how (1) fractions are related to a unit whole (2) to use a model to compare fractional parts of a whole and (3) to order fractions. Numerical operations Applet

Bus Problem
You are about to go on a field trip with the entire school.  Everyone will be traveling by school bus. If each bus can seat a maximum of 30 people, how many buses will you need to transport everyone? Number Sense, Numerical operations None

Candy investigation/ Candy Circle graphs
How many M & M's are there in this mystery bag? The challenge is to come up with an educated guess based on data analysis. Data Analysis SS

Climate in NJ
What's the temperature usually like in September? Data Analysis Website

Coin Flipper
Use this applet to answer some questions about probability of tossing coins a lot of times! (MW only!) Probability MW

Cost of mailing a letter How much does it cost to mail a letter given the weight? Use Excel to graph and answer the question. Data Analysis SS

Crickets, Chirps & Temperature: Is there a relationship? Could you use crickets as a temperature thermometer? In this lesson, you will learn ways to find relationships between two variables (like pitch and temperature) so that for a certain pitch of a cricket chirp you can approximate the temperature. Algebra SS

Darts – decimal Similar to Fraction Darts. Except here you need to enter your dart throws in decimal form. Numerical operations Flash

Darts – fraction " The object of the Fraction Darts challenge is to ""pop"" balloons located on a number line between 0 and 1. The Darts are "thrown" by entering a number in fractional form. Here is a glimpse of a game in progress. Two darts (5/8 and 3/4) have been thrown so far. Notice that 3/4 is too big and 5/8 is too small." Numerical operations, Problem Solving Flash

Diagonals of Polygons The pentagon has 4 diagonals. How many diagonals does a 13-gon have? Can you find a rule that will help you to answer the question without drawing the figure? Patterns (Pre Algebra) GSP

Dog Years Hey Big Guy, Count your blessings! If you were a dog, you’d be over 100 years old. How old is the birthday person? Use the applet to figure out the answer. Patterns (Pre Algebra) applet

Estimating Heights In a letter professor Sanders asks your class: Is there a way to predict the height of a person by just knowing the length of the radius bone? Your students will need to do some measurements to find out. Data Analysis


Exterior Angles of triangle Can you figure out a method to determine the measure of the exterior angle of the triangle in each sketch without using a measuring device or Sketchpad’s tools? Study your results carefully. Next determine angle BCD in the figures above without using any measuring device like a protractor. Explain (1) what you did and (2) why it works. Geometry GSP

Factor Game
Two players compete for high score by picking numbers from a board (screen) which are then added to their score. There is a catch though. Whenever Player A picks a number, the total of every factor of that number still showing on the screen is added to the opponent's score. When the opponent, Player B, chooses a number, that number is added to his/her score, but Player A gets the total of all remaining factors of the number B chose. Game continues until all numbers have been picked. High score wins. Number Sense, Numerical operations MW*

Factor Game (NCTM Version) Similar to Microworld version of the Factor game except its more challenging in some respects.
Number Sense, Numerical operations Applet

Factor Tree This manipulative allows you to construct factor trees (to the prime factors) for two numbers, and then from the prime factorization, you are asked to identify the Least Common Multiple (LCM) and the Greatest Common Factor (GCF) of the two given numbers. Numerical operations Applet

Fair Game? One die Play with a partner. Take turns rolling a die. Roll 30 times. Player 1 scores a point if the roll is even. Player 2 scores a point if the roll is odd. Probability MW

Fair Game? One Die Race In this activity you use a Microworlds applet to roll one die many times. The object is to see if you can predict which event (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6) will come up most often and win the race. Probability MW

Fair Game? Special Sums Players take turns rolling 2 number cubes. Player A gets a point if the sum is 1, 2, 3, or 4. Player B gets a point if the sum is 5, 6, 7, or 8. Player C scores a point if he gets 9, 10, 11, or 12. Is this a fair game? Play 15 rounds and find out. Probability MW

Fair Game Dilemma: Odd or Even? Two players roll 2 cubes. Player 1 wins if sum of cubes is even, player 2 wins if the sum is odd. Is this a fair game? Probability MW

Far Fetched Areas Glitch Problem In order to find out the area we need to make a drawing of our tiles and then use a program called the Geometer’s Sketchpad to tell us how many square centimeters there are in our tiles. Geometry GSP Applet

Fat Cat Activity " Is the heaviest cat always the fattest cat? Why or Why not? Compare Blob with ""Lean and Mean"". Which one is the fatter cat? Why?" Data Analysis SS

Fraction Track Game By working on this activity, students have opportunities to think about how fractions are related to a unit whole, compare fractional parts of a whole, and find equivalent fractions. Numerical operations Applet

Game of Number Guess – Decimal version The assumption of this number guess game is that the mystery number will be a whole number. But what if 4 is too big and 3 is too small? What would be your next guess? Number Sense, Numerical operations MW

GEPA prep with Sketchpad A set of 5 problems with accompanying Sketchpad files that are interesting ways to prepare for standardized tests like ASK 8 in New Jersey.
GSP file

Get to Know Sketchpad – Triangles Using Sketchpad students make a chart of examples of triangles that can be described both by their angles and sides. Are there any that are impossible? Geometry GSP

Getting to Know Sketchpad - Triangles & Spinwheels See description of Spinwheels I and II. Geometry GSP

Glob Hunt: Coordinate Graphs Students practice their coordinating graphing skills while they track down the location of a green glob. Happy hunting. Patterns (Pre Algebra) MW

Golden Ratio The ratio, called the Golden Ratio, is the ratio of the length to the width of what is said to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing rectangular shapes Geometry

Green Globs Contest "Students combine computer game fun and serious mathematics in a face-off of the ""Green Globs Challenge."" After learning about coordinate graphs and equations in math class, students put their knowledge to work by playing the ""Green Globs"" computer game using classroom computers and laptops. Highest score wins." Algebra Graphing Equations and Green Globs$$$

How Far was your Trip? Today we are going to find out who traveled the average distance to get to this workshop. First we'll start off with a guess. What do you think is the average distance that the members of this group traveled today? Data Analysis Web tools

How High? In this activity you will learn something about how to determine the volume (how much liquid) there is in the rectangular Tank. Geometry Applet

Hundred Board NCTM version. Very clever way to do times tables! Number Sense, Numerical operations

Integer Addition using Color Chips This MattiMath virtual manipulative activity uses plus and minus chips to demonstrate adding positive and negative numbers. Patterns (Pre Algebra) Applet

Investigate reflections A Geometer's Sketchpad exploration activity. Geometry GSP

Jinx Puzzle 1 Repeat this puzzle with a variety of rational numbers (both positive and negative.) What do you discover? Do you think this puzzle always works? (Spreadsheet version.) Patterns (Pre Algebra) SS

Jinx Puzzle 2 Repeat this puzzle with a variety of rational numbers (both positive and negative.) What do you discover? Do you think this puzzle always works? (TI calculator version.) Algebra, Patterns (Pre Algebra) TI Calc

Job Offer YOU GOT THE JOB! You have a choice of 2 payment plans. Study carefully both plans before deciding. Algebra, Geometry SS

King Arthur’s Dilemma " During one of the meetings of the Knights of the Round Table, one of the Knights asked for the hand of King Arthur's daughter in marriage. Much to the dismay of the King an outcry came from the other Knights. Each of the Knights asked to be the spouse of the King's daughter. Perplexed by the outcry, the King devised the following scheme to choose the one to marry his daughter..."
Patterns (Pre Algebra) MW

Mac Currency Problem: How much would you pay for a Big Mac in some other countries? Patterns (Pre Algebra) Web tools

Mind Reader Solve a math problem and watch the computer guess your secret symbol. How does the computer know it? It uses Algebra. See if you can figure out how! Algebra Flash

Morris the Cat Expands What happens to Morris when you double his coordinates? Half his coordinates? Make a prediction about how Morris will stretch or shrink if you know the stretch or shrink factor. Geometry GSP

Name the Shapemakers "Discover what other shapes these ""disguised"" squares make. " Geometry GSP

Number Town: Family Fractions "It's time for all 25 fractions in Number Town to return to their “home” color pad. Your task is to move each of them to their respective pads. You are successful if clicking on the fraction (1) switches its form from fraction to picture ID (or visa versa) and not cause the fraction to ""run away"" from the pad." Numerical operations MW

Olympics Activity Are we faster, stronger, better than we used to be? Data Analysis SS

Pattern Blocks for Sale How much should we charge for the design if the square costs $1.00? Geometry GSP

Pick’s Rule (Theorem, Law)
Geometry GSP

Pizza Time! It's lunch time and your friends are hungry. So you decide to share an extra large pizza. But after looking at the menu above, you start to think that maybe you can get more for your money if you order three medium pies instead for the same price. So what is it? One extra large pie, three medium pies, or do you think it doesn't matter because you are going to get the same amount of pizza either way? Please explain your reasoning. Geometry, Problem Solving GSP

Power of 2 Paper folding problem: How many times would you need to fold a piece of paper (assuming its possible so that the number of sheets would pile high enough to reach the moon? Number Sense, Patterns (Pre Algebra) SS

Ptomaine Fish Co. Decisions Groups of students will choose the most economic fish delivery plan from 3 company’s proposals. They use a spreadsheets to come up with their recommendation to the CEO of the Ptomaine Fish Co. Patterns (Pre Algebra) SS

Rectangle: Area & Perimeter Question: What is the largest the area of a rectangle be if its perimeter is 20? Geometry Applet

Repeating and terminating Decimals Can every fraction be written as a decimal? This spreadsheet activity will help you to find out. Number Sense, Numerical operations SS

Road Sign What’s wrong with the sign? Number Sense, Numerical operations None

Shoe size vs. Height Do taller people have larger feet? In this activity you will use a spreadsheet and the length of your feet and height to help you find out. Data Analysis SS

Shopping Spree (Best buy) You’re giving a party and have to go shopping for snacks. You’ve heard about online shopping services and want to give them a try. Because you have a limited amount of money, you want to get the best buys that you can, so you’re going to comparison shop and buy the items where you get the most for your money. Numerical operations, Problem Solving SS

Spinwheels 1 Step-by-step instructions for you and your students to create an animated pinwheel with Geometer's Sketchpad. Geometry GSP

Spinwheels II Version 3 of spinwheel with hole. Geometry GSP

Spiros Whumpus, Whimsy or Gloop? Which Creature is it? Data Analysis MW

Temperature - USA Look at a USA Today Weather page. It shows a map of the United States color coded according to temperature. Based on the temperature bands you see, what kinds of conclusions can you make about temperature patterns on this map? Data Analysis Web

Tessellations: Semi regular This activity asks the student to make a semi-regular tessellation. There are 8 such tessellations. Students use Sketchpad shapes above to make all the tessellations and then explain why they tessellate. Geometry Applet

The letter R Expands, Contracts and goes Negative! Enlargement activity on a coordinate axis. Geometry GSP

Tri or Not to Tri 2 GSP downloads Geometry GSP

Types of Triangles This activity deals with scalene, isosceles, equilateral, and right triangles. Students use a GSP sketch or an interactive web page to drag and manipulate four triangles, one of each type, and use the activity handout(s) to guide their exploration. Geometry Applet

West Challenge Play the West game. (You will find it on your computer.) Also play the West Round Trip game which also takes you backwards from Great Gulch to the start. In the process you will learn about negative numbers! Numerical operations, Problem Solving Software: How the West Was One

Updated: 2.4.09