Category Archives: Elementary Mathematics

Simultaneous Equations in Elementary School? You Bet!

Algebra classes devote considerable time to equations in a single variable before solving multiple equations in two or more unknowns. But just because elementary-age students are not familiar with algebraic symbolism doesn't mean they can't solve simultaneous equations, too! The mathematician and educator W. W. Sawyer makes a compelling argument for … Continue Reading ››

Arranging Addends Puzzles

Arranging Addends is an interactive puzzle that I designed on a long bus ride through Alaska. The goal of the puzzle is to arrange the circles and the six numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32) so that three conditions are met simultaneously: The sum of the numbers in the green circle is 21, … Continue Reading ››

Factor Patterns at Your Fingertips

Take a look at the interactive model below. Most of the numbers in the array are shaded orange, but several are blue. What is special about these blue values? They are the factors of 32, the largest number in the array. Try dragging the red point to change the dimensions of the array. You'll see that … Continue Reading ››