back to Mrs. Bassan's Main Page
Introduction - What is this Page?
Every year the students in math enrichment create a math newspaper. The internet is full of information and tools that can assist you with your contribution. This web site will help you find those sites.
Assignment - What Should I Do?
Decide which section of the newspaper that you want to work on and click on it to learn more, get Internet Resources, and specific instructions. Before you actually start working on a section, discuss it with me and make sure no one else already has the assignment.
Book Review - Write a review of your favorite book and then publish it online
Decoder Riddle - Our most popular feature
Editorial -Express your opinion
Graph - Use the graph creator to make your graph professional looking.
Interview - Interview someone to find out how they use math in their job and how they feel about math.
Poetry - Create an acrostic or other poetry form
Puzzle - Create a word search, crossword puzzle, or any puzzle you can think of.
back to top
There are so many books that relate to math: picture books, chapter books, math humor, puzzle books and poetry. Look through a list of math books or consider one of these favorites: A Remainder of One, Take Me to Your Liter, Counting on Frank, How Much is a Million?, Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School, Math Curse, and The Greedy Triangle. Some of these books have been reviewed for our newspaper and some are waiting for you to review them.
Pick a book and discuss your pick with me, or ask me for some recommendations. I am always happy to lend a book to my students. After you read the book, it's time to write the review. Include the name of the book and the author. Mention the kind of book it is and the age range that this book is for. Let students know why you liked the book or didn't like the book. Describe the book (funny, challenging, full of great pictures, easy, entertaining etc.). Include a puzzle, poem, or joke from the book for students to enjoy. Add whatever you think will make the book come alive for other students. Submit the review to me for approval and make any changes that I ask for.
You can also submit your review on-line. First ask your parents for permission. Be sure to tell them that with the Amazon kids review form, you won't have to give your name or your e-mail address. Then go to the Amazon web site. Search for the book you reviewed under books. You will get a list of choices; click on the title of the book that you chose. Scroll down to the Spotlight Reviews section. Click on "write an online review". Next click on "use our kids review form". Make sure to read the guidelines and finally you can submit your review. Make sure to e-mail me at email@example.com with the link for your review so that I can see it!
back to top
To write a decoder riddle, you'll need a silly riddle and math problems to help decode the answer. If you've never seen a decoder riddle then look at sample decoder riddle 1 and sample decoder riddle 2, written by 2 of Mrs. Bassan's students.
The Riddle can be a math riddle or a riddle about anything. Just about any riddle will do, as long as it makes you laugh, and not a lot of kids have heard it. Of course, you don't have to get a riddle from a web site. You can take one from a book, from a candy wrapper, or make up your own. Make sure to get approval for your riddle before you start working on the decoder part. If you make up your own then you can submit it to AZKidsNet by e-mailing Humor@azkidsnet.com (make sure to get your parents permission!)
To work on The Answer Decoder, you'll need to decide what kind of problems to use and which grade level the problems would be good for. For example multiplication facts are good for kids in grade 3 and 4. You will need to get approval for the kinds of problems you use. You can make up your own problems or you can use a website that makes worksheets for you. The advantage of sites that make up worksheets is that they will make up as many problems as you'd like, all of the same difficulty, and all different. After you print out the worksheet, you'll need to solve the problems and decide which problems go with which letters. If you prefer to make up your own problems that's OK too.
After you finish making the decoder, hand in 2 copies of your riddle, one with and one without an answer.
back to top
Writing an editorial is one of the harder assignments for the math newspaper. Editorials are a chance for you to express your opinion about something in the news. Of course since this is a math newspaper, editorials have to be math related. Over the years students have written about a variety of topics
How can you find a topic for the editorial? If you already have something in the news that you are interested in, that's the best topic for an editorial. If you not sure how to connect it to math, read some articles about it and look for numbers, statistics, costs and graphs. Then discuss your ideas with me and we can fine tune them together.
But what if you don't have a topic? If you want to know about math in the news, browse The NY Times Math in the News,. Of the five editorial topics above only one was about math in the news (which one?), so you might want to just look at the latest headlines. You can browse some kid-friendly news sites at Yahooligan News, News for Kids from Time, or Kids Newsroom. For even more news resources check Headline Spot. Look for something that interests you, because that is what will interest other students too. Read more articles about your topic and look for numbers, statistics, costs and graphs. Then discuss your ideas with me and we can fine tune them together.
After you've had a chance to clarify your ideas with me, write a first draft and submit. Hopefully, it won't need too many changes for the final copy.
back to top
The first step in making a graph is deciding what data (or information) you want to display. Some graphs that the newspaper has featured include:
Line Graph: Are girls in 4G who are older, taller than their classmates?
Bar Graph: What is the average time spent on homework in each class?
Bar Graph: Does expensive popcorn pop more kernels than cheap popcorn?
Bar Graph: What is the favorite color of students at the JEC?
Circle Graph: What kind of toothpaste do you use?
Data for our newspaper graph may be collected in a survey (time spent on homework, favorite color, and toothpaste), while other data may be collected in an experiment (popping popcorn). Data collection can be time consuming, so it is best to work with several people (either your whole enrichment class or at least 2 other people. Data collected in a survey and tallied must be double checked to ensure accuracy.
After you have decided what data you want to display and how it will be collected, discuss your ideas with me. I will approve them and help you plan how and when to do your survey or experiment. Once you've done the survey or experiment, tallied your results and double checked them, you have to decide what kind of graph will be used to display your data. Bar Graphs are used to compare data from different sources. Bar Graphs are easy to make and can be used for most data. Circle graphs are used to compare parts to a whole. Making a circle graph requires that you understand angles, fractions, and percents. Line graphs are used to compare 2 sets of ordered date. Ordered data is made up of numbers which can be put in order. Examples of ordered data are: height, temperature, time, and age. Examples of data that isn't ordered are brands of toothpaste, favorite colors, brands of popcorn, and favorite TV programs.
Once you have your data and know the kind of graph you are making, you are ready to construct your graph. Make a rough copy of your graph and show it to me. You can make a final polished version or you can use a graphing web site to make your final copy. Submit the final copy of your graph with questions for the students to answer about your graph. Your questions should be about parts of the graph that are interesting and maybe even surprising. Make sure to include a copy of your answers to be used for the answer page.
I look forward to seeing your graph.
back to top
Interviews are a chance for you to talk to someone you know and find out how they use math at work and home, how they feel about math and why, and what they remember about math when they were kids. Interviews can be funny, for example listen to an interview with Jon Scieszka, author of Math Curse. Interviews can also be "made up". For example students at Ward Melville High School researched famous mathematicians who are longer alive and then wrote interviews with them. Although the mathematics in these interviews may be too hard for elementary students, they are worth looking over for the variety of interesting questions.
Writing an interview for our paper will be your chance to find out how different kinds of math are used in different jobs. To learn more about jobs and math, browse short biographies of different people who use math or check out other math job sites at Cool Math4kids Careers. If you're interested in finding out more about a particular job but don't know anyone to interview, I might be able to recommend someone. You can pick someone in your family, someone in the school, or anyone that you know who interests you. After you decide who to interview, let me know so that I can approve your choice.
Your next step is to make a list of interview questions. It is very important to write questions that will give you interesting answers. For example, if you ask someone "Did you like math when you were my age?" , the answer might be as short as yes or no. Better questions might be:
What did you like about math when you were my age?
Did you like math when you were my age? Why or why not?
What was your least favorite thing about math when you were my age?
Make up a list of questions and show them to me before you do your interview.
It is also important to listen to the person and add to your questions during the interview. For example, near the beginning of the interview with Jon Scieszka:
Notice that when Jon Scieszka comments on how well the interviewer pronounces his name, the interviewer gives him an opening to talk about having his name mispronounced. When you interview someone, you should always listen for a chance to ask them to expand on something they just said. Of course, you should only do that if you're interested in hearing more about it. Another reason to add questions is if you don't think the person's answers will be clear enough to the average 3rd or 4th grader. Even if you understand it, you should ask for clarification if you think other students will need it.
Once you have a person and a list of questions you're ready to conduct your interview. Don't be shy about taking the time to write everything the person says down. Ask the person to repeat if needed. I had one student who interviewed his Dad without writing everything down. He just took short notes. His Dad was very disappointed with the interview and would have been much happier if the student had taken the time to write things down.
Hand in a legible copy of the interview to me. I will type it up so that you can show it to the person and get their approval.
back to top
One of the most popular kinds of poetry that students (and I!) enjoy writing is the acrostic. Click on math acrostics to see poems written by Mrs. Bassan and some of her students. For acrostics of all kinds visit The Acrostic Poems for Children Site. You can see different kinds of acrostics and read acrostics that kids across the country have submitted. After you write your acrostic you can submit it to this site (make sure to get your parents permission!)
To write an acrostic, you'll need to think of a good math word. Browse through the interactive kids math dictionary for ideas. Let me know what word you've picked and I'll make sure no one else is doing the same word. After I approve your word, write down some common words for each letter in it. Then write down some words related to your word. If you get stuck use a thesaurus to help you find synonyms for the words you want that start with the letters that you need.
If you don't want to write an acrostic there are lots of other forms of poetry. For lots of information about poetry check out the giggle poetry site. For more math poems check out math limericks, Arithmetic by Carl Sandburg, and word problems in poetry form. If your poetry rhymes and you need help finding a rhyme for a word use the rhyming dictionary.
I look forward to reading your poetry!
back to top
There are lots of different kinds of puzzles you can make and of course original ideas are best! If you have an original idea - discuss it with me and I may be able to find a web page that will help you. However if you want to make a type of puzzle that's been done before, consider using math words or number sentences to make a crossword puzzle. Before you begin, try out a math crossword puzzle or geometry crossword puzzle from the NY Times. These puzzles may be designed for kids but they are very professional looking. To make your own crossword puzzle you can use a criss-cross puzzle maker to make the job easier. All you have to do is list the words and the clues and the puzzle maker will do the rest. For ideas of math words, browse through the interactive kids math dictionary for ideas. Remember you have to write definitions in your own words. Copying definitions would be a legal, ethical, and halachic problem. You can also use the puzzle maker to make a number crossword where the answers are all numbers. Design it the same way, list the numbers (3-digit or higher) followed by the clue of number sentence. One disadvantage of the puzzle maker is that it won't always use all your words if it can't fit them. If you don't like the words it leaves out, you can always change your word list and resubmit it if you're not satisfied. After you're finished, please print out 2 copies of your puzzle. Fill in the answers in one and leave the other one blank and submit both to me.
You can also use math words to make a word search. Again you can a word-search puzzle maker to make the job easier. Make a list of math words that are related by a common theme. For example, using the puzzle maker and the theme of geometry I created a word search for you to try. After you're finished designing your puzzle, please print out 2 copies of your puzzle. Circle the hidden words in one and leave the other one blank and submit both to me.
If you have an original idea - discuss it with me and I may be able to find a web page that will help you.
back to top
Sample Decoder Riddle 1
Directions: Figure out the answers to the addition and subtraction problems. Look at the letter below the answer that you filled in. Next, fill in the answer to the riddle by writing the letter that matches your answer on the lines below.
57 79 157 49 59 73
+43 -27 -98 +77 -24 -49
_____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____
E T C U O H
76 45 79 94 69 73
+48 +83 -46 -53 +46 +49
____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____
P R S G D A
75 99 47
-49 -49 +39
____ ____ _____
I N L
RIDDLE: Why did the marathon winner decide to campaign to be president?
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
24 100 52 24 35 126 41 24 52 24 100
___ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ____ ____ ____
59 35 126 86 115 128 126 50 122 41 35 35 115
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
124 128 100 33 26 115 100 50 52 26 122 86
___ ____ ____ ____
128 122 59 100
back to decoder riddle back to top
Sample Decoder Riddle 2
Directions: Figure out the problems. Look at the letter below the answer that you filled in. Next, fill in the answer to the riddle by writing the letter that matches your answer on the lines below.
26 8 103 94 6 81
+58 ×5 +21 +17 ×9 +12
___ __ ___ ___ __ ___
S D H M E B
61 33 86 31 18 26
×2 +71 +9 +31 ×2 +53
__ ___ __ ___ __ ___
A N T O R V
19 Riddle: How does the Star Spangled Banner
+75 end at Turner Field where the Atlanta Braves
Answer: ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
122 104 40 95 124 54
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
124 62 111 54 62 94 95 124 54
____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____.
93 36 122 79 54 84
back to decoder riddle back to top
Geometry Word Search
Instructions: See if you can find all 16 geometry words hidden in the word search:
I T Q U E H D
I E H N P R Z T
R W C T Z E L A N O G A I D N
B S G G D P A R A L L E L O V
Y S Y I I N H A W U G C I H K
X J L M A O O D C X M T N C S
G S K B M G S I E P A Q E D W
H C U B E E D U T T S K O Z V
X A U Z T N T S O C T J B V Q
V S Q K E L C R I C E F G Y W
T P J P R X N S Y K F L F T M
T H R K A B G S B Q D M F S I
Q E K Q U K B N N E C O N E N
P R C D Q V M S C R C R G M R
E E H C S B G V L H W K M B F
K S Y W T U O Z Z W O M Y T X
If you get stuck, check out the word list
back to puzzles back to top
By Mrs. Bassan
By Mrs. Bassan
By Mrs. Bassan
|Coiled||There are six kinds of triangles:||
Right with one 90 degree angle
|Round||Isosceles has two equal sides and angles||Home,|
|Circles,||Acute has 3 angles less than 90||Earth,|
|Lots of them,||No equal sides is a scalene||Rotating|
|Expanding to become a||Greater than 90 degrees angle is obtuse||Endlessly|
|Slinky||Leaving one more kind|
|Equilateral, sides and angles are equal.|
By AS and SJ
To add temperatures you have to be
Math, and then you just
Put a degree sign, which is: o .
Every night you should practice math. The
Reason is so that you can get better
To be good at problems with temperatures
U have to
Read math books and that’s the
End of my poem.
Karl Friedrich Gauss
By YA, YO, JR, SS, and PT
Karl Friedrich Gauss
Added 100 numbers
Lived in Brunswick.
Famous astronomer and mathematician.
Early passion for numbers.
Died in 1855.
Credited for many discoveries.
Heptadecagon was his favorite shape.
Great at math.
Amazing at arithmetic.
Making people excited.
Arithmetic is very easy for them, because
They are aware that it makes people
By Mrs. Bassan
back to poetry back to top
Answer to Question about editorials: The topic was using calculators in the classroom.
back to editorial back to top
Word list for word search:
CIRCLE CONE CUBE DIAGONAL DIAMETER LINE PARALLEL PERPENDICULAR RADIUS REFLECTION RHOMBUS ROTATION SLIDE SPHERE SQUARE SYMMETRYback to geometry word search back to puzzles back to top
Congratulations! By completing this task, you created a submission for our math newspaper. Along the way, you have learned about resources on the web and improved your knowledge of math. I look forward to publishing your work for the benefits of the JEC students.
back to top