Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk Like a Pirate (and Practice Order of Operations!)

    Today was the best day.  One of those days that your lesson goes exactly like you want it to, the kids are amazed at what you're doing, and it all just falls into place.

     The first part of the day that was so awesome was related to the fact that is was International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  I've been looking forward to Talk Like a Pirate Day for awhile for two reasons.  Reason #1...my son has an awesome pirate hat that I looked forward to wearing to school.  I also had an old Pi Day shirt (Pi-Rate, When Good Numbers Go Bad) to wear...so perfect!

Reason #2....I had this idea this summer of making a pirate name generator.  I figure I could make up a problem (I used an order of operations problem) and the kids could roll dice, and plug the numbers into the problem.  The answer to the problem then generated the kids' pirate names.  So for example, in the first problem, the kids rolled 4 numbers and plugged them into this expression (___ + ___)^2 + ___*___.   So let's say you rolled 4, 2, 3 and 5 then your answer would be 51.  Then I had a table that told them different names for different number ranges.  So 51 meant the first part of your name was "Thieving".

Click on the picture if you're interested in purchasing this pirate name generator.

My pirate name generator had two parts.  My absolute favorite nickname of the day was Salty Fishlips!  Some of the other awesome nicknames:  Parrot Plankwalker, One-Eyed Devil, Jolly Dog, Bearded Cutlass, Gold-Toothed Buaccaneer....it was a blast!  And the kids got a little bit of order of operations practice in.  As I walked around, I really enjoyed hearing students explain to their classmates how to do the problem as they tried to get their pirate name.  

The only disappointment was that I really wanted a name that involved Scurvy Legs or Plankwalker, and the dice never let that happen for me!

Now, the other really awesome part of today's lesson was the part where I showed the kids how to use a spreadsheet....and they got it, and they were as amazed as I thought they should be at the power of spreadsheets.  But I'll leave that for another post!


  1. What a fun way of practicing the order of operations! If I had had math teachers like you, I would probably have enjoyed that discipline much more. Is your pirate name generator available somewhere for folks who would like to try this out?

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    1. Thanks Christina! Here is the website: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pirate-Order-of-Operations-Scavenger-Hunt-Activity-3241487 Or you can click in the post where it says "order of operations practice" as well!

  3. Love your costume, wish I had known in advance that it was Talk like a Pirate Day and I would have done something with my class. Didn't realize until the day of :( Love how you incorporated a fun math activity into your day and it is always so great when students love something that you worked hard planning! Hopefully next year I remember to join in on the fun,
    Scurvy Legs Plankwalker