Movement in Math!

Last week, I stumbled upon a few interesting videos about power teaching. Even though they were short clips of  teachers using this method, it was so cool to see. I always enjoy getting to visit or seeing clips of classrooms. In my previous school in NYC, we did a lot of classroom visits and I also had a lot of different teachers visit my classroom from the district. However, teaching in an international school, those kind of networks are not that available. I haven’t been able to visit any classrooms outside my school.

I liked how these teachers in the clips used a lot of different movements & gestures with their arms. At the start of my geometry lesson, I had this idea to have the kids come up with gestures for the different terms we were learning.

After making different motions for each word, I would say the different vocabulary terms and have them do the motion for it. It was a good way to get them moving around and learn math at the same time.

Today, I had one of my students take a picture of each motion and we put it on our classroom blog. Here are a few of the photos. You need to use your imagination a little bit! đŸ™‚


line segment

acute angle

















What are some ways you’ve incorporated movement into your classroom?

Has anyone tried or heard about this power teaching? I’m definitely interested in learning more about it!

The 100 Locker Problem

This is probably one of the best math problems I give my fifth grade students. It goes like this:

There are 100 lockers in the long front hall of our school. Each August, the custodians add a fresh coat of paint to the lockers and replace any of the broken number plates. The lockers are numbered from 1 to 100.

When the students arrive on the first day, they decide to celebrate the start of the school year with our school tradition. The first student inside runs down the hall opening all of the lockers. The second student runs down the hall closing every second locker, beginning with locker number 2. The third student reverses the position of ever third locker, beginning with locker number 3. (If the locker is open, she closes it. If it’s closed, she opens it.) The fourth student changes the position of every fourth locker, beginning with number 4. This continues until the 100th student has a turn, changing the position of the 100th locker.

At the end of this ritual, which locker doors are open?

Why are the open lockers left open?

Which patterns emerged in your work?

After a week of working on this problem with their partner, they write up what they discovered on posters. I have them include these four sections:

1. Restate the problem

2. Procedure

3. Answer

4. Check

It’s such a fun problem because at first they think it’s impossible, but by the end of the week, all the groups were able to figure it out! We share out our work in a “math congress” where each group presents. Also, students ask comments or give feedback to the groups that present. Here are some of their posters.

locker problem poster

locker problem poster

locker problem poster

locker problem poster

locker problem poster

locker problem poster

Math Concept Map

This is a fun way to have students work on deepening their understanding of concepts and vocabulary.

Materials Needed:

  • post-it notes
  • poster paper
  • markers/pens
  • glue sticks (optional)


1) Have a list of 8-10 words that can be easily connected to each other.

2) The students write each word on a post-it note.

3) Then, the students put the post-it notes on the poster paper and work on arranging them in a way that they can make connections to the other words easily.

4) Let students know that as they create arrows that connect words together, they must write a sentence of how they connect. Since they were making math concept maps, I had them explain the math of why two words (or numbers) would connect with each other.

5) Once they finish their map, I have them glue the post-its on the poster paper, because they can easily fall off.

You could easily use this idea of creating a concept map for other subject areas!

math concept map example

students explain connections