Help Students Visualize Overlapping Triangles

15 September 2017
When teaching triangle congruence, overlapping triangles appear at some point.  I always teach students to draw the triangles separately before making any conclusions.  This activity/demonstration helps students create overlapping triangles and separate them to see the triangles individually.

This is an activity to help students visualize overlapping triangles. It is perfect for a congruent triangles unit!

First, fold one corner of a piece of paper to form a triangle.  Trace the triangle on the piece of paper.

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs

Cut along the traced edges and cut along the fold.  How do you know that the two triangles are congruent?

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs

Label the angles of the triangle.  Have students write a congruence statement.

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs
Use the two triangles to create different shapes.  Have some of the shapes use overlapping triangles.  

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs

See how many other shapes students can find with their congruent triangles.

Investigating Overlapping Triangles - this is a great hands-on activity to do before congruent triangles proofs


This is a great activity to do before starting congruent triangles proofs!
a congruent triangles activity to help students visualize overlapping triangles - great for high school geometry students beginning triangle congruence proofs

How to Create a Seating Chart

19 August 2017
This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through the link, I earn a very small commission that keeps this blog running.

Teachers, do you struggle with ideas for making a seating chart?  This simple teacher hack is so easy to use in any classroom!

I always have my students sit in assigned seats.  Anytime I’ve ventured out of assigned seats, I have regretted it.  With assigned seats comes seating charts.  One thing that’s a MUST for me is that I have the seating chart up as students come into class.  Getting high school students to move seats once they’ve already settled in is near impossible.  I’ve tried making seating charts several different ways over the years, but they have all had their flaws.  

When I first started teaching, I had little cards with my students names on them that I put on their desks.  Yeah, you can imagine how that worked out between classes in a high school.  I was running around like a crazy person trying to get the next class period’s cards laid out.  Dumb idea.  Don't do this.

I’ve also tried making a powerpoint of my seating chart and projecting it for students to see on the board.  That’s fine, but that’s also how I display student’s bell work.  So, this didn’t work well either.

The software that our attendance is on has a seating chart feature.  You can arrange the seats and then print it.  It always turned out formatted funky and my students had a hard time reading it.  Yuck.

I finally settled on printing copies of a blank seating chart and handwriting my student’s names on it.  I would tape it to the board in a prominent location and my students would see it as they came in.  This worked beautifully most of the time.  However, sometimes I would write a student’s name twice and forget another student.  Occasionally, I would spell a student’s name wrong and then feel bad later.  

And then I discovered the best idea ever!  A teacher-friend shared it with me, and it’s too good for me to keep it to myself!

At the beginning of the year, I print one blank seating chart for each class period.  I also write all of my student’s names on Post-It page markers.  I know it’s a huge pain if you have a lot of students, but it’s totally worth it.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I put the little page marker on each student’s assigned seat and slide it into a sheet protector.  Hang it on the board for students to see as they come into class.  If you ever want to move seats, you just have to move the little Post-Its.  BEAUTIFUL!

Teachers, do you struggle with ideas for making a seating chart?  This simple teacher hack is so easy to use in any classroom!


Have you ever used this method for creating a seating chart?  

8 Ideas for Sub Plans in Secondary Math

07 August 2017
Need FREE emergency sub plans for middle school or high school?  These substitute teacher ideas would be great in any secondary math class.
This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through the link, I earn a very small commission that keeps this blog running.

At some point, all teachers have to miss school.  Between illness, field trips, coaching responsibilities, and life everyone misses a day at some point…. and it’s a huge pain.

teacher sick day

I try to keep continuity while I’m gone, and have students work on something that we have been doing in class.  However, that’s not always possible.  If you get sick in the middle of the night or something happens on the way to work, you may not get a chance to organize sub plans.  My school requires that we keep emergency sub plans in a binder, just in case.  They have to be educational, at least sort of related to the content area in which we teach, and keep student occupied and out of trouble.  Yeah, in math, that’s not always easy!

These 8 ideas can be used in almost any level high school math class.  Some would work better for older students or younger students, but all could be modified to suit your needs in a pinch.

Need FREE emergency sub plans for middle school or high school?  These substitute teacher ideas would be great in any secondary math class.

This statistics lesson is accessible for any high school student.  Also, let’s be real, EVERYONE needs this lesson.  Have you watched the news?  It is an online lesson, but if you’re not 1:1 the sub could click through the screens on the projector and students could write their answers on notebook paper.

This lessons teaches students about different number bases and the history behind them.  It’s interesting and different, which your students just may love.

You can’t go anywhere right now without seeing emojis.  They’ve pretty much taken over.  These logic puzzles are a combination of the logic puzzles you see plastered on social media and the emoji craze.  Between the 32 task cards and the extra worksheet, I’ll be able to split it into two days worth of sub plans.

This is a fun activity if you have access to some blocks or math cubes.  Students will build their own figures and draw them with a partner.  There is also a stations maze to wrap everything up.

The birthday problem is a common example used in statistics, but it’s fun to do with any math class! This video would probably be better for older or honors students, but it really is fun. 

Between the seven stations, the extra editable stations, the worksheet AND the extension activities, this could easily be used as more than one day of sub plans.  JACKPOT!  I love that kindness and growth mindset are included, because my students ALWAYS need reminders about both of those!

I’ll be honest, I did this lesson myself.  It was actually really interesting.  This is a lesson that I think students would be interested in, and it’s pretty accessible to any high school student.  

I’m not going to lie; I love this.  It’s an article that was posted in The Atlantic and is wonderful at explaining that being good at math is the product of hard work - not good genes.  I plan to have my students read this and write a paragraph or two about whether they agree or disagree.  Yay for writing in math!


Side Note:  Many of these require students to watch a video for a few minutes.  In this case, I've found that students tend to stay on task better if they share devices with a partner and each use one earbud.  In my experience, having a partner tends to keep them on the correct website a little more.  (It's at least worth a try!)  Also, I like to keep a few extra pairs of these cheap earbuds on hand for the forgetful kids.

Have you used any of these on a sub day?  How did it turn out?


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