Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Paper Crafting in Math Class?! Say whaaaat?

Yup - you read that right! :) In the math class I am taking (problem solving methods for elementary school teachers) we had two assignments that involved paper crafting. The first one, which we had to do at home, was to create a Base 10 Model, which in real life are blocks that children use as a tactile tool to add and subtract. Some of you may remember using these yourselves (like I did) or you may have seen your kids use them. I made mine out of cardstock paper, but really they would be three-dimensional and look something like this:

Each little square counts as one unit, the rods count as ten units, and the big square is one hundred units. These don't look three dimensional in the picture, and I suppose they don't have to be, but usually they are in the form of blocks so that moving them around is easier. 

For the actual assignment, we had to cut our own Base 10 blocks. We haven't used them yet, but when we do our hands will be videotaped while using them to add or subtract to show that we understand this method. Here are my Base 10 paper blocks:

We had to create four 100 blocks, 30 rods and I believe 30 little squares. I used my paper trimmer to cut them to their proper size:
100 block - 10 cm x 10 cm
10 rod - 1 cm x 10 cm
1 square - 1 cm x 1 cm

The second assignment we had to do was to create fraction circles. This had to be done with the teacher before or after class for safety reasons because we used an Ellison Machine. Now, I had never heard of this before, but after using it I definitely know what inspired the Cricut! You lay your paper on top of your "template" which is a wood block with your shape on it, on the tray. You push the tray 1/3 of the way in, and then bring the lever down. You then push it another 1/3, bring the lever down, and another 1/3, bring the lever down. You pull the tray out and lift your template - and out comes your cut! We used cuts in the shape of fraction circles (you'll see in the pictures) but I found a really great picture online of an Ellison Machine with the templates and other shaped cuts. 

We had to cut two of each size fraction circle and each had to have their own color so that when we work with them as a class we are all working with the same pieces that can be easily identified. Here are my fraction circles:

(From top left to bottom right) 1 whole, 1/4, 1/8, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/3, 1/4, 1/12. I tried to space each of the pieces out a little so you could get a better feel for what they looked like separately. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this, I always like to change up my posts. As a future teacher, I found this really interesting and loved the fact that I got to paper craft as a homework assignment. I thought it would be interesting to share with all of you. :)

Do any of you own an Ellison Machine or have used one before? I'd love to know more about it!



  1. How fun...sticks and cubes and blocks. hhaha. When my kids first came home with that I was like, "HUH?"

  2. Oh, I don't miss having to cut everything for my classroom and bulletin boards using the Ellison die cutting machine! I wish I'd had a Cricut when I did my college classes and student teaching...well, teaching in general! I used the base 10 blocks and fraction circles a lot when I was teaching...laminate them!! Great stuff.

  3. lol Thank goodness for die cutting machines


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