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May 7, 2014

Dear Problem Solvers,

My dad always says “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” That’s an idiom that means there are a lot of different ways to solve a problem. This is especially true in math.

Good math thinkers don’t stop thinking about a problem after they answer it. Instead, they think about their process of answering, wonder if there are any other ways to solve it, and look for rules and patterns that can make solving it easier. It takes a lot of work  to find rules for solving problems, and we have to make sure the rules work all the time, not just some of the time, but that is the work of mathematicians.

Here’s a problem for you:

How many different coin combinations can you use to make $0.87?

May 6, 2014

Dear Categorizers,

To understand the world, humans put alike things in the same category. Likewise, we put different things in different categories. In some cases, how two dissimilar things are unlike can tell us more about them than investigating how two similar things are alike.

If you’re a fan of Sesame Street, the game “One of these things is not like the others” should be familiar to you.  Find the item in each category that does not belong. To do so, you’ll first have to figure out the category. Give it a shot.

1.     4, 16, 24, 36

2.    Denver, Colorado Springs, New York City, Thornton

3.    football, soccer, basketball, track and field

4.    Cardinals, Broncos, Lions, Seahawks

5.    Liam, George,  Niall, Harry

6.    Chamber of Secrets, The Subtle Knife, Deathly Hallows, Goblet of Fire


May 5, 2014

Dear Math Masters,

I always tell you to include units in your answer. You might think that’s just me being a typical teacher, but I do it because numbers always have context. When we use numbers in the real world, they tell a story, and the units is the good part of the story. Without them, we can’t be sure what our number means. Also, if we aren’t clear about our units, we could cause problems or make mistakes. And I don’t mean “miss a few points on your math test” mistakes. I mean “oh no, we won’t be able to destroy the meteorite before it crashes into the earth” mistakes.

So here are a few numbers that are important to us. I want you to see if you can match the numbers with their units.








Mr. Heimbuck

May 13, 2013

Dear Readers,

How does language change over the time? The words we use now are different than the words we read on the Declaration of Independence, written over 200 years ago. How can we read these old documents and understand them in today’s world?Today, we’re going to talk about some strategies for reading such challenging texts. It’s important that you’re challenging yourself to read complex and difficult texts. That’s the only way you’ll grow as a reader. Plus, some of the best stuff is found in difficult texts.

While language changes over the time, math is timeless. The factors of 18 have not changed since 18 has been around, and those factors won’t change in the future. That’s what makes math such a fascinating field of stuff: it reveals truths about something fundamental about the world.

Take out homework page 130 and read to self silently.


Mr. Heimbuck

May 7, 2013

Dear Persisters,

This world is full of mysteries, problems, puzzles, and conundrums. We can only solve them with a mixture of persistence, creativity, and insight.

Thomas Edison is probably the most famous inventor in history. He invented the light-bulb, record player, movie camera, and many other inventions that completely changed our lives in the 20th and 21st century. He was a very intelligent man, but most of his accomplishments were the result of hard work. He also had a lot of wisdom about the importance of hard work and persistence.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
― Thomas A. Edison

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”
― Thomas A. Edison

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”
― Thomas A. Edison


Mr. Heimbuck

May 6, 2013

Dear Citizens,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalieanble rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”

These are among the most famous words ever written, and even though they were written 236 years ago, they still are the vision for our nation. And as citizens of this nation, we still disagree on exactly what they mean and how we should carry them out. That’s part of being a citizen. It’s part of living the good life. My hope for each of you is that you become active citizens with the skills you need to help shape and share your own vision for our nation.

Let’s have a great day,

Mr. Heimbuck

May 3, 2013

Dear Performers,

Today you get the chance to show all you’ve learned in math this year. Don’t be nervous. Be confident. We’ve worked hard, and now it’s time to turn that practice into performance. Think about your test taking strategies, read each problem carefully, stay focused the entire time, and be confident. If you do those things, I know you will perform your best.

Also today, we’re going to tessellate. We see examples of tessellation all over the natural and human-made world. Today we’ll look at some examples of each and create our own tessellated works of art. Creating art is not an easy task. It’s often lonely and boring and a lot of hard work. But without those things, art is just an idea, which no one else can see. I want to see your completed projects today.

Read to self at your seat.

Let’s have a great day,

Mr. Heimbuck


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