So, you’re teaching your kids how to add and subtract fractions, and after a couple of those cruddy worksheets, you decide there’s room for your charges to do something that encourages critical thinking: decimal paths! The trick here is to wind your way through the path, adding and subtracting decimals along the way, until you’ve got the highest total possible. To make it even more interesting, you have to make at least 12 connections. Fun, right?
Here are some tips on how to use this in your classroom:
You can print these on good quality paper and then laminate them, and have the kids make the paths using a washable marker. That way you can use them year after year!
Make sure you review place value, because I’ve layed several “traps” where there are choices between adding two amounts that appear to be clear choices, but are not (for example, adding .03 and adding .013 or subtracting .1 and .085)
There are three levels of challenge: the easiest uses tenths, the medium uses hundredths and the most tricky goes out to the thousandths place. I’ve also included a blank one so that your students can make a puzzle of their own and share it with their classrmates.
Here’s why you must use these puzzles in your classroom: in this modern age, so many children experience mathematics by clicking, tapping and swiping, when, in fact, they should be doing “hands on” activities that are really “hands on.” All the great world’s problems have been solved using experiences like these, including James Watt when he figured out the three-dimensional structure of DNA using cardboard cutouts. So please, use these in your classrooms and let your kids do “real” math beyond whatever appears in a textbook or, even worse, computer screens!