It’s Hip To Be Square…

This week in Pre-Algebra we are reviewing square and introducing cube roots. Many of the kids have a tough time visualizing why a number is squared (it really makes a square!) and why they are cubed (3-D cube!). I wanted to spend some time really linking exponents to roots.. squaring is opposite of square root, cubing is opposite of a cube root..

I started the lesson with a square root video from BrainPop (requires login) and had the kids fill in an organizer with their own definitions of words from the video.


Then I played the song “It’s Hip To Be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News while they created a circle map of everything they knew already about squares.


Then with their shoulder partners, they had to draw the first three smallest squares and talk about their dimensions (1×1, 2,×2, and 3×3) in relation to the total squares.


After some discussion, they had to draw the first 15 (or as many as they could fit – then follow the pattern) perfect squares on a sheet of graph paper that they glued into their interactive notebooks. They used the information from their graph paper to fill in this chart:


We then discussed the relationship between length, width, and area of a square. We discovered that the side lengths will always be the same in a perfect square so we can say side x side = side squared.

After more discussion we filled in this organizer:


I really think the “if…. equals….. then…. is….” helped a lot of my students to understand the relationship between the two. I made sure to use the sentence framing for each of the examples.

I have a 90 minute block A/B schedule, so we then continued on to cube roots and approximations of square roots. For a shorter class this is a great ending point before practice/homework.

Cube Roots: I first had the students independently answer these two questions based on the diagram:


A lot of students didn’t understand how there were only 27 cubes, they wanted to count faces and answered 54. I had to show them layer by layer why there are only 27.

Then we discussed how cube roots are similar and different from square roots here:


Then I gave them the rest of the chart for independent practice:


We quickly talked about approximating square roots to what two whole numbers a non-perfect square lies between.


They all seemed to get this part fairly quickly:


Then I gave them a homework page with word problems and practice placing roots on a number line.

The file is available (for free) in my TPT store!!


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Wants vs. Needs Card Sort

Today in Personal Finance we talked about the difference between wants and needs as part of our budget unit. I modified a card sort from unicef with memes (that the kids said I was “not using correctly” and I said “I don’t care”).

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In their predetermined groups they first had to make a wants pile and a needs pile. Then they had to rank their wants and needs from most to least important and make a flow map.

wants needs

my example flowchart

Each group presented to the class and we tracked how our wants and needs were different. It led to some interesting discussion of how our values determine our priorities.

This is a great lead in for budgeting and (probably?) other activities as well!

The cards are here! (all memes are from the internet and not my creation AT ALL)


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