Week of October 5 – Order of Operations & Integers

“Why did the integer get mad at his wife? … Because she was being irrational.”

– Unknown

Exploring Resources

This week we had professional learning presentations on order of operations, perfect squares & square roots, and integers. We discussed methods for teaching introduction to integers and operations with integers. Number lines and colour-counters were two popular visual representations of integers. For our perfect squares activity we looked at a common math problem called “The Locker Problem” which you can explore by clicking the name above. We also used snap cubes and geo-boards to visualize perfect squares. These tools can be helpful for introducing the concepts to grade 7 students and as a refresher for grade 8 students.

An example of using snap cubes to represent perfect squares.

A new resource I explored this week is IXL.  IXL is an amazing site that offers sample problems targeted towards topics in math. In fact, you can even find sample problems linked directly to the Canadian provinces math curriculums, including Ontario. This is a link to the topic of integers from IXL for all grades. Before you view the sample questions you can see an example of the questions and after clicking, students can complete the questions/problems and keep track of their progress. The pictures below are sample problems from “Grade 7 – Comparing and Ordering Integers” on IXL. This is definitely a must see resource.


Images: IXL Learning, 2015. Compare and Ordering Integers. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1Ra3itj

Last week, I introduced the Ontario Association for Math Education. I would also like to share the OAME’s Grade 7 and Grade 8 integers pages because they are such valuable resources.


As I continuously explore math resources, I can reflect on the different uses of each resource. Last week (and included this week as well), I looked at resources that can help the teacher with lesson plans. This week’s exploration of IXL was a valuable resource for students to practice. It is very important for educators to explore resources that they can pass on to the students, such as games, apps, or practice websites. This concept is also relatable to my discussion on valid and reliable resources. It is the educators responsibility to thoroughly explore the resources they pass on to their students to ensure quality and proximity to the curriculum objectives. Finding valid and reliable resources such as IXL prove valuable. There are endless options with how educators can choose to use extra resources for their students, from assessable assignments to optional at-home practice. I think students will feel supported if they know they can get extra problems that are relatable to the curriculum and I think parents will also feel confident in an educator that is supportive in that way. Parents play a key role in a student’s success and their happiness with you as an educator is important.

Next week we will explore rate and ratio.


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