Atomidoodle, A Periodic Table Game

*Disclosure: I received this app for free and have been compensated for my time on writing this review. All opinions are my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

First, I am always on the lookout for fun and different ways to encourage math skills at my house. Second, science is a subject that I often leave at the bottom of my school list.

Allowing my boys to unlock levels on the Atomidoodle app reinforced math skills while helping them learn new facts about the periodic table.

Atomidoodle by Hero Factor uses the periodic table and teaches math skills of addition and division by teaching fission and fusion.

Periodic Table

The fusion widget combines any two elements together and sends out the new element. Then if it is the correct element needed you can send it to the examinator. The fission widget will divide one element into 2 elements. The fission tries to divide as evenly as possible, but for odd numbers the smallest number will come out first.

My 10 year old struggles with math. I needed to briefly explain to him how the fission widget worked. Once you add the two elements together, try to think of what is half of the number. This helped when it was an even number. Sometimes he could figure it out and sometimes he would yell for help for the answer. I did not mind answering, I support all moments of using math without crying.

Before I was carried away in writing lesson plans to include this app in our lessons; I handed the iPad over to my 13 year old son. I wanted to see if he could figure out how to play and if he could play independently from my instruction.

He was able to follow the tutorial and play for a few rounds of the game independently. I made it a point to not mention how he was using math to reach new levels. After playing about about 40 minutes he had already unlocked 18 elements.

This is a fast pace game that does require some problem solving skills. My boys love the fun facts that are displayed before and after playing a level. [Read more…]

Life of Fred Edgewood, Extra Activities

Life of Fred Edgewood

Here are my ideas and creations for Life of Fred: Edgewood. My son loves the Life of Fred math series but requires extra time with the material for mastery of concepts. Sometimes I just add extra mathwork sheets and other times I create extra projects.

To change things up I am using a different notebook page from the one I created for the first book, I like this Life of Fred Edgewood printable . My son was curious to why the border contained houses, I mentioned it had something to do with Edgewood. At this moment he is guessing all the things Edgewood could be.

Chapter 1: Life of Fred Edgewood

  • Since Fred introduces quadrilaterals I thought this was a perfect time to build shapes with pretzels and mini marshmallows. Then my son interest was peaked by the mention of Fred’s age in days.
  • I created  “How Old Are You” printable to calculate age by years, days, hours, and minutes. It was a great chance to review how many days in a year and how many minutes in an hour. Then we compared how many more days older my son was to Fred.
  • Since Fred mentions going through the alphabet to say good morning to different animals and plants, I thought it was a perfect time to create an ABC Book of Math Ideas. Each lesson my son will work on his book.

How old are you ABC book of math ideas ABC book of math

How old are you?    ABC Book of Math Ideas

[Read more…]

Teaching Money with Life of Fred

Teaching Money with Life of Fred first four books. Includes printables and activities.

Over the course of our last school year we completed Apples, Butterflies, Cats, and Dogs. My son became very concerned with the money troubles Fred was experiencing. I saw the perfect opportunity for teaching money.

The first thing he wanted was a total amount of money Fred had lost over the 4 books. I created a printable to help keep track of the money he was swindled out of in each book. I included a blank title printable for other comparing and contrasting themes in the first four books.

Life of Fred Money

Money Lost [Read more…]

Life of Fred Dogs, Extra Activities

Life of Fred Dogs


We are ending our school year with Life of Fred Dogs. We began this year with Life of Fred Apples, followed by Life of Fred Butterflies and Life of Fred Cats. I have no doubt we will continue the series next school year.

I plan on spending the summer reviewing time, money, and addition facts. My son needs extra time to absorb all the information presented in the Life of Fred Series.

Life of Fred Dogs: Extra Activities

We began by collecting books about dogs from our local library. I would suggest adding spaghetti noodles to your grocery list. My son enjoyed using them as a math manipulative for one of the lessons. Yes, we ate them raw too.

I highly recommend cooking eggs along with lesson one. [Read more…]

Life of Fred Cats, Extra Activities

Life of Fred Cats

We have almost completed Life of Fred Cats. If you are new to the Life of Fred math series I have written about our journey with Life of Fred Apples and Life of Fred Butterflies.

Since my children suffer from a disease that causes them to hate math, I love that Fred discusses math in the context of history and science topics.

To help build excitement with each new Life of Fred book, I buy a new math game. Since we are using Mystery of History volume one, the Mummy Math game became our new favorite.

For the first lesson in Life of Fred Cats, I bought some glow-in-the-dark star stickers. I had my son create the Orion constellation with the stickers. [Read more…]

Life of Fred Butterflies, Extra Activities

LIfe of Fred Butterflies
We have completed Life of Fred Apples and almost have Life of Fred Butterflies done.

No one at my house likes math. Life of Fred has introduced some math humor into our learning.

I do agree with the author about math being more then memorizing math facts, but my kids really need more practice to remember the concepts.

Along with the Life of Math Answer page I created to document their “Your Turn to Play”, I have also signed up to EdHelper for extra math pages. Really it has saved me time scouring the Internet for free math pages. I add these pages to his math notebook. I would also recommend signing up to Free Homeschool Deals. Often there are addition and subtraction activities for free. I have gotten a few games and lap books by reading the daily deals. [Read more…]

Life of Fred Math: Ideas, Activities and Notebook Pages

life of fred

Math at my house generally brings frustration and agony to my kids and me. I usually avoid any questions on which math curriculum do you use…cause we have used most of them. Especially since each of my kids learn differently. I have to work hard not to grumble about teaching math.

A few months ago I stumbled upon an online discussion of math books and discovered Life of Fred. At my first convention I bought the first three books in the series.

After reading the Life of Fred Apples, I knew I was going to need to incorporate hands-on activities and extra practice with the concepts. [Read more…]

Place Value Cups, 8 Ideas on How to Use Them

Teaching Place Value with cups

Have you ever found a great DIY project and then wonder what to do with it? Or a great homeschool idea that looks great on Pinterest but leaves you thinking long and hard on how to teach it.

In my quest to teach place value to my youngest son, I found directions on how to construct place value cups. The basic idea for place value cups is to use Styrofoam cups and labels them with numbers. I loved the visual and hands-on aspect of this, although I did tweak it. I used a cup for each comma that was needed. Since I have been correcting 12,39 or 4567,98 recently, I wanted a clear visual on 3 numbers grouped together then the comma. [Read more…]

Math Formulas in Color

Math Formulas

When my son started adding instead of multiplying when doing area, and couldn’t remember to take ½ of the number when doing triangles; I knew we needed to stop and help his mind sort out the information rolling around in there.

First thing I did to help him is color code the math formulas, this really helps form a picture in his mind.

Since he was counting numbers into the trillions I wanted to review place value. It is a great math concept to color code. Place value cups can be a hands on way to learning place value.

Then we discussed what items in life that he could picture in his mind that had perpendicular and parallel lines.  We added the compass rose to help with perpendicular and railroad tracks to help with parallel.

To remember that perimeter is adding the numbers I used addition signs in the corners.

Then when we moved into area problems I shaded the problems to help him remember that area is the inside of the shape.

We did make the h in the triangle formula a little different, but in his mind angling the H and putting the right angle line on it helps him remember.

Now we have reference sheets for when we are teaching the lesson for the 20th time and it all “seems new” to us.

Take a risk and try adding color to math formulas and extra pictures to help remember how things are supposed to work.

Math Formulas2