Category Archives: Math Minute

#87: Palindrome “Week”

It’s Palindrome “Week”

The dates December 1-9 form a palindrome when the month is written as 12 and the year is written as 21.  So…

December 1 is 12-1-21
December 2 is 12-2-21
December 3 is 12-3-21

BONUS:  12-11-21 and 12-22-21 are also palindrome dates this month!

The date reads the same forward as it does backwards.  This doesn’t happen often, but it’s happening now until December 9!

To earn this mini-spark,

  • Check out these palindromes for kids: pay special attention to any words that are new to you and phrases that are palindromes. These items should all be included in your final note taking page.
  • Watch the video about palindromes and pause the video as needed to record any new words/phrases that are palindromes.
  • Share your work with your teacher and/or EY Coordinators to earn this mini spark.

Where can you find 🅿🅰🅻🅸🅽🅳🆁🅾🅼🅴🆂?

Leave a comment and/or send a picture of a palindrome you discovered.

#86 Football Roster Math

There is a plethora of data when it comes to sports!  Whether you’re looking at individual player stats, team rankings, or just want to see the breakdown of a particular game…MATH IS EVERYWHERE IN SPORTS!

This Mini Spark has you looking at the 21-22 Westside High School Football JV and Varsity Football Roster.  Download and print a copy of the worksheet and roster by clicking the links below.  Or, you can complete the worksheet digitally using Notability or other app on your iPad.

When you’re finished, show your classroom teacher and/or your EY Coordinator.


JV Football Roster:

Varsity Football Roster:

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#85 Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD)

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Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD) is how far, on average, all data values are from the middle.

To find the MAD, you can follow 3 easy steps:

  1. Find the mean of the values
  2. Find the distance of each value from that mean (subtract the mean from each value, ignore minus signs which is also the absolute value)
  3. Then find the mean of those distances

For this Math Mini Spark, you’ll be finding the MAD on a spreadsheet.  Follow the steps below.

Step 1:  Make a Copy of this Spreadsheet by clicking the link:

Step 2:  Watch the video below and complete the steps shown in the video on your own spreadsheet.


NOTE:  This mini-spark can be used as 1 spreadsheet lesson for the Spreadsheet Superstar Badge.

#84 Doodling in Math Class

What?  Did that say DOODLING?  Yes!

Have fun learning about math while doodling from one of my favorite mathematicians/doodlers…Vi Hart!
Don’t forget to share your doodles with your teacher and/or EY Coordinator.  Maybe you could even organize a math doodle contest for your classroom/school!

#83 The Luhn Algorithm

The Luhn algorithm or Luhn formula, also known as the modulus 10″ or “mod 10” algorithm, was developed in the 1960s as a method of validating identification numbers.  Number communication accuracy can be using this formula

Take time to explore:

Read this article about the formula and how it is used in real life to catch errors when shopping online.  Research the creator Peter Luhn and make a timeline about his life.

In this video you will learn how to use the Luhn Algorithm. Make the table on paper as you watch.

Math challenge presented by CEMC math POTWC-20-NN-PA-21-P . Print it out, read the page and look at the different strategy that they present to you. Try to figure out the last challenge. Answer key for challenge. You can use this to check you work.




#82: EWeek 2021

Do some math problems and earn PRIZES!

Engineers Week (EWeek) is THIS WEEK and you can celebrate with MATHCOUNTS by solving their 5 Problems of the Day (linked below).  BONUS: Just for participating, you’ll have an opportunity to earn some prizes!

  • Each day you’ll have an opportunity to solve our Problem of the Day and enter a prize drawing! You can submit your answers anytime during EWeek (Feb 21-27), so don’t panic if you get started late! Each Problem of the Day has multiple parts, and each correct answer you get will be a ticket in that day’s prize drawing.
  • Everyone who participates will be entered in a prize drawing! Submit answers to at least one Problem of the Day and you’ll be entered to win, even if you don’t get correct answers.
  • Each individual prize drawing winner will get a $10 Amazon gift card and each group drawing winner will receive a $50 gift card to the MATHCOUNTS store!

Monday’s Problem (Environmental Engineering):

Tuesday’s Problem (Systems Engineering):

Wednesday’s Problem (Software Engineering):

Thursday’s Problem (Aerospace Engineering):

Friday’s Problem (Chemical Engineering):

#81 Triangular Numbers

Have you seen a question like this before?

How can you solve this problem without drawing a picture on paper?

Use one of the resources below to solve the problem.

  • Use this interactive tool to construct triangular numbers until you can see the pattern to answer the counter question from above.

  • ADVANCED: This is a teaching page that REALLY gets into the math behind these types of problems. Use the formula and see if you can get the right answer.

  • Check out this triangular number chart.  Click on getting started. When you have a solution and a written statement about what you did to solve the problem, check the “solution” button to check your work.

  • Connection: Research the original Light Brite, a 1960s toy. Come up with some unique idea on how teachers can use these toys to teach math, science, and art.


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#79 Really Big Numbers

What is the biggest number you can think of?  What does that number mean?  For this math mini spark, you will be exploring some “really big numbers” and what they mean.
In your math notebook, complete the following tasks:
  • In the episode, “Have You Seen This Snail?”, SpongeBob SquarePants is given a challenge of hitting a paddle ball 29,998,559,671,349 times in a row.  This causes SpongeBob to neglect Gary (his pet snail) and so Gary leaves.  Write this number out in words.

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Thank you for inspiring this this math mini spark.  It definitely sparked my curiosity!