Math Mondays: 2 + 2 = 6

Is this true? Of course, most of us would immediately say no. And many of you may already be thinking that I shouldn't be teaching math (just like I think when I see someone create a polygon unit that features circles!)  And you might very well be right. 

But.. occasionally, I will post something like the equation 2 + 2 = 6 and ask students to make it true. The first time I do this, I invariably get responses of disbelief. But when I'm patient and just let everyone think through it a bit, someone will get creative and that's how it starts. 

For example 2 unicycles + 2 bicycles = 6 wheels. Ah ha! 

 Once kids realize that they can think a bit unconventionally, they can get really
creative. We do this exercise periodically just to keep our brains flexible. Sometimes students write equations for each other and then trade; sometimes they challenge me with them. Sometimes, we take time to illustrate our solutions. The one shown to the left is one of my favorites: 2 deciduous trees in the winter + 1 evergreen tree in the winter equals one tree with leaves. 









I love this activity because: 

  • Students think creatively 
  • There is not one right answer 
  • It's active learning 
  • You can use it at all levels - it's not just for addition (I've had students create some pretty complex equations with this) 
  •  You can use it as a bell ringer, fun math center idea, or when you finish early. It's even great on field trips or when waiting. 
  •  No equipment required. 
 How would you use this activity? Share your thoughts below and if you try the activity with your class, please come back and share some of your favorite equations and responses. 

As always, feel free to link up a blog post or favorite idea for a math-related activity below or shop for your favorite.  Last week's most clicked link up came from Two Boys and a Dad blog post about teaching area.

Math Mondays is a weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching math.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message on Facebook or at the store in the question and answer section.

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7 comments

  1. Math joke that goes with your post: When does 10 + 3 = 1 ?....

    On a clock! (Your post reminded me of that brain stumper that one of teachers did when I was in elementary school.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh... I like that one. I will have to use that this year. Thank you for sharing.

      Cheers,
      DocRunning

      Delete
  2. Math joke that goes with your post: When does 10 + 3 = 1 ?....

    On a clock! (Your post reminded me of that brain stumper that one of teachers did when I was in elementary school.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here a couple of problems, made up just now, in a similar spirit!

    1 + ? = 0

    and

    True or False: 77?

    Answers: http://i.imgur.com/TmCzof0.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great...hehe

      Thanks for sharing.

      Cheers,
      DocRunning

      Delete
  4. This post was featured on the August issue of Math Teachers at Play! I hope it sends some blog traffic your way :) You can check it out at
    http://mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com/2015/08/math-teachers-at-play-89.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing. I had no idea. So happy to hear that.

      Cheers,
      DocRunning

      Delete