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Math Building Blocks
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A grid that uses symbols instead of colors

Some learners may need or prefer to use a grid that does not rely on colors. The principal is the same as before. Each symbol is matched with a particular number.

Another way to introduce the Math Building Blocks

Introduce the Math Building Blocks by guiding students to build natural numbers consecutively beginning at 2. Whenever possible, students use blocks that they have already 'created' to build each new number. Otherwise, they invent a new block. The link takes you to a page on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website where NCTM members can download an article I wrote on the subject in the October 2009 issue of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School.

Sieve of Eratosthenes animations

Show one or both of these movies to build prime factorizations from the Sieve of Eratosthenes—slightly modified and illustrated with the Math Building Blocks. 

Note: You will need to have the Keynote software for Mac to run the slideshows. (Sorry—I have not yet been able to make them work properly on Power Point.) They  should play automatically when you open them. If you press 'escape' in order to stop them, you will be able to adjust the settings (including the speed of play).

Prime Out

Prime Out is a prime factorization game that I wrote for the Math Building Blocks at around the same time that I wrote the article above (back in about 2009). It's a bit dated now in terms of both appearance and functionality, but it still works—so I thought I'd share it with you anyway. My students enjoyed playing it, and it develops both computation and reasoning skills.

A very large prime factorization grid

For some reason, I thought it would be cool to have a picture of all prime factorizations for numbers through 1000. (You can decide if this is crazy or not!) I created a 32 by 32 grid. The file is a pdf document, and you will need to zoom in quite a bit to see what it really looks like. A print shop may be able to take the pdf and make a large copy of it if you want something physical to look at (or hang up). Caution: I have not had a chance to check it carefully for errors yet.

Table of Contents     Intro     1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8      9     10     11     More Resources