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The Dankest of the Meme Lords (D.O.M.L.)

Deb's Focus Group 11:10-12:10

We've been playing SEQUENCE!

Sequence is a board and card game. The players compete to create rows, columns or diagonals of five connected checkers placed on the cards that the player has laid down. Two-eyed Jacks are wild, while one-eyed Jacks allow an opponent's checker to be removed. The game ends when someone has reached a specified number of connections.


Tic Tac Toe Products

Here's the sheet that goes with it:

Nine Lines Race to 1000!

We play a complex game that practices multiplication and base ten addition and subtraction with Base Ten Blocks.

Fortunes change quickly in the game, and it will take us awhile to make it to 1000.This game will anchor our work together, but we'll play other games and do some problem solving workshops and investigations as well. 


October 25: We played 9 Lines with 6's. 

The Fives House


Race to 1000

We tried out Tic Tac Toe Products

Here's the sheet that goes with it:



October 18: We played How Close to 100 AND Tic Tac Toe Products both from

How Close to 100?

This has become one of YouCubed's most popular tasks and we are hearing about all sorts of creative adaptations. Some youcubians have made grids of 400 and added dice, others have adapted it to let the grid represent 100%. 

Number of Players: 2


  • Two dice
  • Recording sheet

Task Instruction

  • This game is played in partners. Two children share a blank 100 grid.
  • The first partner rolls two number dice.
  • The numbers that come up are the numbers the child uses to make an array on the 100 grid.
  • They can put the array anywhere on the grid, but the goal is to fill up the grid to get it as full as possible.
  • After the player draws the array on the grid, she writes in the number sentence that describes the grid.
  • The second player then rolls the dice, draws the number grid and records their number sentence.
  • The game ends when both players have rolled the dice and cannot put any more arrays on the grid.
  • How close to 100 can you get?


Each child can have their own number grid. Play moves forward to see who can get closest to 100.


October 4: 9-Lines: 5's with Race to 1000

October 11: 9-Lines 6's without Race to 1000


This is a small group, mostly playing a complex game (Nine Lines Race to 1,000) that practices multiplication and base ten addition and subtraction with Base Ten Blocks.

Fortunes change quickly in the game, and it will take us awhile to make it to 1000. This week we started with 5's to learn the game. This game will anchor our work together, but we'll play other games and do some problem solving workshops and investigations as well. 


The Fives House


I ran a challenging Communication Game where kids try to find words to describe a drawing well enough for one of them to draw it sight unseen. They took turns giving instructions and seeing where the words went wrong, revising, and having a bit of a laugh. They were persistent and could see improvement right before their eyes!

GROUPERS 2017-2018

Wednesday Groupers

Screenshot 2015-08-17 at 9.37.09 PM.png

Writing Groups, 2018

Plot, Character, & Scenes:

How to construct and deconstruct FICTION

We are looking at plot and how it operates across many stories, understanding that:

"Plot is a series of scenes that are deliberately arranged by cause and effect to create dramatic action filled with tension and conflict to further the character's emotional development." 

—Martha Alderson, Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple

We have looked at the three act structure and three important plot points: Inciting Incident, Crisis, and Climax. We will also be looking at the halfway point (point of no return), the dark night of the soul, and the resolution. I sent home a chapter called "The Universal Story." I highly recommend that the kids start looking at stories (books, movies) that they know well and try to identify where these plot points show up. 

In class, we devised some characters from Magic cards, and we wrote (started) a scene where the character wants something, but things keep getting in the way. Next week we will write battle scenes. The following week, we'll all take a whack at revising a scene. 

End of first semester

UMGOCK Math Group

Deb's Focus Group 9:35-10:35

11/29: Satisfying Statements, Statement Snap, Summing Consecutive Numbers, Happy NumbersCalendar Capers...

Summing Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level 1

Watch the video to see how numbers can be expressed as sums of consecutive numbers.

Investigate the questions posed in the video and any other questions you come up with.

Can you draw any conclusions?
Can you support your conclusions with convincing arguments or proofs?

Happy Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level 1

Take any whole number between 1 and 999 inclusive and add the squares of the digits to get a new number. For example, starting from 138 we get 1+32+82=74.

We can repeat this process using the squares of 7 and 4 to get 65 and then continue the process indefinitely.

Start with 145 and see what happens.

Now we come to the most important step! Show that, whatever number we start with less than 1000, we always get another number which is less than 1000.

Choose some numbers less than 1000 and, each time, repeat the process until you notice a pattern.

Make some conjectures about what happens in general.

Satisfying Statements

Stage: 3 Challenge Level 1

Alison, Becky, Sam and Matt are playing a game.
Each of them writes down a statement that describes a set of numbers.

Alison writes "Multiples of five".
Becky writes "Triangular numbers".
Sam writes "Even, but not multiples of four".
Matt writes "Multiples of three but not multiples of nine".

Can you find some two-digit numbers that belong in two of the sets?
Can you find some two-digit numbers that belong in three sets?
What is the smallest number that belongs in all four sets?

How could you describe the pattern of the numbers that satisfy both Alison's and Sam's statements?
How about the numbers that satisfy both Alison's and Matt's statements?

Can you describe patterns for other pairs of statements?


Statement Snap

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level 1

To play the game, you'll need to print and cut out this set of cards.
This game works well for 2 to 4 players.

How to play
Shuffle the cards, and place them face down on the table.
Turn over two cards so that all the players can see them.
The object of the game is to find a number that satisfies the statements on both cards.

For example, if the cards said "A multiple of 6" and "A factor of 90" you could pick the number 30.

After ten seconds, everyone declares a number that satisfies both cards, and then the next round

begins by turning over the next two cards.

There are a few different scoring options for the game:

  • Score a point if you find a number that satisfies both cards

  • Score a point if you think of the highest number that satisfies both cards

  • List as many numbers as you can that satisfy both cards, and then score a point for each one.

  • List as many numbers as you can, and then score a point for each number on your list that doesn't appear on anybody else's list.


Let's make Function Machines:

11/15: We looked at the Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55...).

We worked on a Get It Together group pattern puzzle and a double Marcy Cook Tile pattern:


And we looked at a number sequence on a function table, trying to find the rule or equation:

1 7
2 16
3 25
4 34
500 ?



Number Talk: Mental Math Strategies (Relationships)

TRUE or FALSE? How do you know?

37 + 56 = 39 + 54

33 – 27 = 34 – 26

471 – 382 = 474 – 385

674 – 389 = 664 – 379

583 – 529 = 83 – 29

37 x 54 = 38 x 53

60 x 48 = 6 x 480

5 x 84 = 10 x 42

64 ÷ 14 = 32 ÷ 28

42 ÷ 16 = 84 ÷ 32

Number Visuals

Calendar Capers 



Solve Me Mobiles


Reviewed homework of the Rice on the Chessboard Problem

Today's Homework: Play with Charlie's Delightful Machine



Today we played with the M&M problem in 

We did more Marcy Cook tiles and looked at PencilCode.

Homework was the Rice on the Chessboard Problem



Today we played with Stick Problem Three, and reviewed the powers of TWO.

After that we did some Marcy Cook Tiles, including this one (using a set of tiles from 0-9, fill in the blanks)

The kids really enjoyed these, and we'll do some more next week. I sent home the following problem: 

The Square of My Age

When you add the square of Thomas's age to Lauren's age the total is 62. When you add the square of Lauren's age to Thomas's age the total is 176. How old are Thomas and Lauren?

 If you liked this problem, here is an NRICH task which challenges you to use similar mathematical ideas.

See all short problems arranged by curriculum topic in the short problems collection

This problem is taken from the UKMT Mathematical Challenges.



Today we did another quick team problem (Stick Problem 2) from the book Get It Together! 

We did a cursory lesson on powers, starting with powers of 2: 

20 = One, multiplied times two (ZERO times) = 1

2= One, multiplied times two (ONE time) = 1 x 2 = 2

2= One, multiplied times two (TWO times) = 1 x 2 x 2 = 4 = TWO SQUARED (makes a square)

23 = One, multiplied times two (THREE times) = 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 = TWO CUBED (makes a cube)

24 = One, multiplied times two (FOUR times) = 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16

25 = One, multiplied times two (FIVE times) = 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32


We then played with POWER MAD from 

Power Mad! 

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways...
Take a look at the following and try to explain what's going on

For which values of n will 2n be a multiple of 10?
For which values of n is 1n+2n+3n even?

Work out 1n+2n+3n+4n for some different values of n.
What do you notice?
What about 1n+2n+3n+4n+5n?
What other surprising results can you find?
Here are some suggestions to start you off:
2n+3n for odd values of n
3n − 2n

Can you justify your findings?


10/4 Today we did a quick team problem from the book Get It Together! that helped us start a list of things we like and things we do NOT like during our math workshop. Here's the team problem, made with popsicle sticks:

We then began our investigation of the Four Fours problem, including square roots and factorials. Next week we will share some of our favorite solutions.