Unicorn 2 Lesson 3 Homework

Students learn better when they’re engaged, and manipulatives in the classroom make it easy for kids to get excited. We recently asked a group of elementary school teachers to come up with unique ways to use manipulatives in the classroom to teach math. They definitely delivered by sharing some awesome ideas!

This 20-dice set is a mixed set: Half have numbers 1–6 on them and the other half have 7–12. Who doesn’t like to roll dice? The physicality and the suspense instantly make learning more fun.

1. Teach place value. “Give each student a handful of dice and have them roll. Then have them randomly arrange the numbers they rolled on their desk. Have them write down which number is in the hundreds place, tens place, ones place and so on. It’s a simple activity, but it’s lots of fun.” —Karen Crawford, second grade, Houston, Texas

2. Play Fast Facts. “The game Fast Facts is played with two opposing teams. Give the 16 dice to one group and the 712 dice to another group. A member from each teams rolls a die, and the first player who shouts out the correct sum of the two dice added together wins a point. Once a team has 10 points, they win and you can start over.” —Lisa Ann Johnson, fifth and sixth grade math teacher, Shadyside, Ohio

3. Practice and teamwork. “The game Rock and Roll is a good way to practice addition and subtraction. Give groups of two students one die. One student rolls and the other student records the number. Then, for the next roll of the die, they switch tasks. After they’ve rolled the die 10 times, the students do a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors—the winner decides whether they add or subtract the numbers on their sheet. If they tie, they must do both!” —Amanda McKinney, first grade, Duncan, South Carolina

4. Practice makes permanent. “Foam dice are wonderful for developing fact fluency in primary students. The kids can use them to practice addition and subtraction facts within 20. Use them in conjunction with the sand timer or with recording sheets.” —Liz Rauls, K–2 special education teacher, Hillsboro, Missouri

These colorful magnets have fractions on them and can be moved around and mixed and matched at will.

5. Show your work. “Get one of those big magnetic boards that also double as a whiteboard. When students finish their math homework early, let them use this mini fraction station to challenge a fellow student and work the problem out, right there on the board.” —WeAreTeachers Staff

6. Mobile fractions. “These magnets are a perfect fit for a cookie sheet. Then when students are in work stations, they can travel around with them and none of the pieces get lost. Also, give students illustrated fractions to take along too. This really helps assess their understanding.” —K.C.

7. Equivalent fractions. “Use these magnets to reinforce understanding of equivalent fractions. This is a good partner activity, so each set should have a cookie sheet and a set of tiles. Give the partners a target number—like 1 3/4—then challenge them to find as many ways as possible to use the tiles to make the mixed number. Once they find as many ways as they can, the partners should share to see if they match.” —L.A.J.

8. Shopping with fractions. “Set up an area in your classroom with three cookie sheets and three sets of fraction magnets. You should act as the cashier and the students are the customers. In your mock ‘store,’ post pictures of various items with fraction prices. The students have to add things up to a given amount. Once they understand the concept fully, they can take turns being the cashier.” L.A.J.

It’s the classic race-against-time situation! You can use the 1-minute sand timer in dozens of classroom games. You can also find this one available in 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 10-minute varieties.

9. Time to cool down. “Sand timers are great for your cool-down area. Students use the timers in various stations. They are really good for any games where someone gets ‘out,’ because then they can join back in again after just a minute.” —K.C.

10. Mad Minute. “The 1-minute sand timer is perfect for timing the ‘Mad Minute’ multiplication challenge. Buy several so that each group of desks has one by them.” —WeAreTeachers Staff

11. Time management. “Sometimes students want to take a long time when it’s their turn in a group game. Solution: Flip the timer and they must make their move by the time the sand runs out. It turns into a ‘beat the timer’ game, and the kids don’t have any trouble finishing!” —A.M.

When you’re teaching about money and making change, it really helps to have the right visuals there in the classroom. This set includes 42 pieces total.

12. Working as a team. “Having magnetic money really helps teach concepts to the entire class. You can work together on a money word problem and have a visual to show all the students. This helps them understand the concepts better.” —A.M.

13. Playing store. “Set up a small ‘store’ in your class with items marked with certain prices. Students will love adding up the amounts, paying with money and making change.” —K.C.

You can create your own fun and games with these 30 cubes. They come in six different colors.

14. Self-made games. “When you are creating self-made games, these dice come in handy! Use them as playing pieces to a game. Add numbers to them. Build patterns with them (great for younger kids). The possibilities are endless.” —K.C.

15. Learning basic integers. “Choose one color cube to be positive and one color to be negative. Label the color cube with numbers 1 to 6 or go more challenging and use numbers 7 to 12. This is a partner activity. Each student gets one cube of each color. One student rolls and adds the two numbers on their die or subtracts the two numbers on their die (depending on practice skill). The partner checks the answer on the calculator. Then the process is repeated and it’s the partner’s turn.” —L.A.J.

16. Perfect for Post-its! “Blank cubes are so much fun for students. Let them come up with the math problems on their own and write them out on Post-it Notes. Then tape them directly to the dice. This allows you to switch out the problems several times.” —WeAreTeachers Staff

It’s so much easier to learn and understand time when you have a clock in front of you. These little clocks feature writable, erasable surfaces.

17. Time check game. “Use these clocks for a game called ‘Time Check!’ Here’s how it works: You give students a word problem, and then they each set the time (or the answer) on their mini clocks and write their names underneath. Then they go add it to a magnetic board in the classroom so the teacher can easily check all the work at once.” —K.C.

18. Double time. “For partner work, have the students quiz one another. Because the clocks are geared, it makes it easy for kids to move the hands and figure out the solution. When students work together, one can set a time and the partner can write the digital time. Then they can check each other.” L.R.

You can play so many good math games with dominoes. Best of all, these are soft, made of foam and easy to wash!

19. Dominoes and math. “There are so many variations of domino games. Borrow some ideas from this website that features ways to turn the play into math-learning lessons. Your students will be trying to find free time so they can plan again.” —WeAreTeachers Staff

20. Playing War. “Let your students play a game of ‘Number War’ with dominoes. All you do is place the dominoes face down in the middle. Players flip one domino over. The student with the highest number gets to keep all of the dominoes. (You could make it an addition or multiplication challenge too.) The winner is the one with all the dominoes at the end.” —WeAreTeachers Staff

21. Fraction lesson. “Dominoes are a great tool for working on fraction concepts. For example, you can add fractions with unlike denominators. Have your students turn all the dominoes face down. The first student to take a turn flips over two dominoes and adds them together. Then the partner checks the sum. If it is correct, the player keeps them. If not, the partner keeps the dominoes. The other player takes his/her turn, and play continues until all dominoes are used.” —L.A.J.

22. Input and output. “Here’s a game for older students learning about input and output tables. Each group of students (three or four) is given a set of dominoes. Then give each group a rule like +2, or –3. The students select all the dominoes that follow that rule and place them under the rule. For example under the rule +2, they would put 0, 2, and 1, 3, and 2, 4, etc.” —L.A.J.

You can show your spirit and have fun in the classroom with these colorful foam fingers.

23. Increase participation. “Why raise your hand when you can raise a foam finger instead? Kids will be much more excited to answer a question when they have a foam finger to raise.” —WeAreTeachers Staff

24. Time to lead. “These little foam fingers are not only cute but very handy in small groups! When you need a student to take on the role as the leader, let him or her wear one of the foam fingers. They will be excited to take on that role and synergize with their peers.” —K.C.

Do you have creative ideas for using manipulatives in your math curriculum? We want to hear them! Submit yours in the comments area below so other teachers can benefit!

Herbology 501

Professor Tudor



Year 5 – Politics, Theory and Research

Lesson 5 - Research with Care of Magical Creatures II – Unicorns, Plants, and Purity

            Flutterby bush

    "The blood of a Unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips."


Lesson Objectives

  • To give students an introduction to plants and nonviolence
  • Students should be able to recognize some of the repercussions of the changes
  • Students should be aware of some of the causes of the climate changes as well as have a working knowledge of how what is going on with the planet relates to other issues of social justice

Optional Additional Reading


The Unicorn


If you are taking Year 5 CoMC, the eighth lesson will be about Unicorns. A small introduction will be given to the creature here since some of you are not taking that class. First of Unicorns look like a fully white horse with a single horn on its forehead, although the foals are golden or silver. Unicorns are known for their purity, which is particularly what makes Unicorns interesting to us. Plants tend to be connected to purity in general because of how plants are natural; however, that is not the connection made for this lesson. In order to get a sense of what is the focus of this lesson, let us take a look at a moment recorded in Harry Potter’s life.


            In Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts he was given a detention where he had to go into the Forbidden Forest. Hagrid takes Harry (and the others in detention with him) through the Forbidden Forest to search for a Unicorn that is injured. During the pursuit of the injured Unicorn Harry is separated from everyone else. In this time a Centaur named Firenze talks to Harry and describes the Unicorn as “pure and defenceless.” The fact that the Unicorn is called defenceless is significant to the beast’s relationship to plants. It is a reference to the nonviolent ways of the Unicorns.


Purity and Plants

(or, Plants and Nonviolence)


Instead of just looking at perspectives on plants, today we will be looking at a plant’s perspective. Specifically, we will be looking at the perspective of plants that attract Unicorns.  As I mentioned before, Unicorns are creatures of nonviolence. They do not attack other creatures or humans, and will resist injustice in nonviolent ways. In no way does this mean that Unicorns are weak. The Unicorns are strong creatures, and their integrity is admirable.


To illustrate this point, I want you to think of Harry Potter. Was he weak when he used Expelliarmus instead of Avada Kedavera against Voldemort? Of course he wasn’t. Harry was wiser than Voldemort, because Harry came to understand that violence wasn’t the answer, but love was.


If you can see how the Unicorns and Harry Potter are stronger for choosing nonviolence, then perhaps you are able to see how many plants are nonviolent, and stronger for it. Plants which are nonviolent have grown in such a way that they do not harm others. They may have the ability to cause harm, but do not. For example, some plants which are Class A choose not to release their powder or gas so that no one can be hurt. Some magical plants disarm their would-be attacker instead of attacking back. Other plants, such as our main plant today – the Flutterby bush, do not have any methods of hurting others. Before we start on the bush please copy out the chart I am putting on the board.



Nonviolent characteristics

Violent characteristics

Shields self

Attacks others

Protects others by shielding them

Causes deaths

Refuses to release gasses

Releases gasses

Smooth or otherwise harmless to touch

Poisonous, or sharp to touch

Aims to disarm

Intends to cause harm


            Please make note of the fact that plants can be naturally nonviolent of choose to be nonviolent. Plants that choose nonviolence have ways in which they could harm others but live in such a way that they intentionally do not cause harm. Only magical plants have the ability to choose nonviolence. Both magical and non-magical plants can be naturally nonviolent, as this occurs when the plant is grown without the capability to harm others. Finally, a frequently asked question about violent verses nonviolent plants is in the case that harm occurs after the plant is dead. If the plant can be harmful when eaten in large doses this does not make it a violent plant, as when it is dead it is someone else’s responsibility to handle. The plant does not live in such a way to encourage its future consumption so the person who picks and serves the plant is the one liable.


Flutterby bush


The Flutterby bush is one of the most beautiful plants housed in the Hogwarts greenhouses, although it only flowers every 100 years. Even when it is not flowering the Flutterby bush is a fantastic sight to behold, for its foliage shimmers and shines. Muggleborns who see this plant usually take a while to believe it is not an artificial plant. (Muggles who somehow come across this plant remain convinced it is a fake plant; however, the Ministry of Magic still requires that the bush be kept indoors in Muggle neighborhoods). You’ll notice when examining the foliage how the tips are sparkly and the leaves shimmer in the light. When the plant is flowering, it looks like the bush is covered in hundreds of light green butterflies. Incredible, isn’t it!


            There are a couple of qualities to the Flutterby bush which makes the plant distinctly magical. First of all, the plant is constantly in motion. The leaves move in a fluttering pattern even when there is no wind. The Flutterby bush was named for this very quality. Even though it is a beautiful plant, it can be an eerie feeling to see leaves moving about when everything else in the room is still. The second magical quality of the Flutterby bush is its scent. It is able to adapt its scent in order to attract attention from any individual person. The Flutterby bush is well known for its showing off. Particularly, the unwary wanderer is brought away from whatever it is that the person had been intending to do by being attracted to the scent of the bush. The Flutterby bush does not distract people in order to lead them into danger, but just in order to show off its beauty. This is why the plant is considered nonviolent. Person may get lost or become late but that is not the plants intention.


            The scent of the leaves and flowers are used in amortentia, which is a powerful love potion. Also, the Flutterby bush may often be found at weddings as a decoration. Unicorns love this plant not only for their shared stance of nonviolence but for their beauty and pleasing scent.


Major Review Point


This week I’d like to take a comprehensive look at what we have learned so far about the historic roles of Herbologists and various Herbology traditions. In particular we will focus on the relationship with the earth, with Muggles, and across cultures.


            Herbologists have always been more connected to the earth than wizards in any other profession. They do not simply take the world at surface value, but look deep into the ground, in the soil and in the waters, trying to understand how magic flows through the roots in the soil. With some exceptions of rather eccentric characters, Herbologists have always worked with both magical and non-magical plants. Since both types of plants are useful to Wizards, whether one is in the Auror department, working as a Healer, or simply brewing potions in a classroom, Herbologists consider the relationship between the whole earth of greatest significance. It is perhaps this basis which made Herbologists the major proponents of Wizard-Muggle relations before the Statue of Secrecy. Indeed, Herbologists understood the value of including everyone in the community, because whether magical or not, every person and every plant is valuable in their own right.


            We did a short exploration of the relationship between Herbologist and Muggles in Year Two. At this time we talked about how Herbologists were viewed as religious leaders by Muggles. This was because Herbologists brought the power of their healing into the Muggle communities. The great healing power was understood by the Muggles to surpass our understanding of magic and transcend into their ideas of the realm of the mystical. In general magic was associated with deities and therefore the Herbologists were brought into the various religions of the communities they supported. It should be noted that the Herbologists were quite open-minded and accepted whatever the Muggles wanted to believe about them as long as the Herbologists were able to do their healing ministries. Many Herbologists attempted to convert the Muggles to whichever religion the Herbologist ascribed to but never to the extent that it might have gotten in the way of the work they were doing.


            The two main historic traditions we have covered so far are from Chinese and Aboriginal, Herbologist traditions. Chinese Herbologists tended to work with plants of high toxicity levels, and therefore tended to separate the plant nutrients from the plant material (such as roots, leaves, or flowers). We would know a lot less about many dangerous plants if it weren’t for the work of these Herbologists. When learning about the Chinese traditions we also learned about the Ying and Yang theory, and its modern application (as applied to the balance between nature and civilization). This focus shows how Chinese Herbologists today remain connected to their historic roots. As your History of Magic professor would agree, when you lose your connection to your history you miss out on the development on the future. Without a past there is no future, and without a foundation there can be no building. The connection between historic tradition and present work is also found in the Aboriginal Herbologist traditions we studied. Aboriginal Herbologists connected the plants they studied to the four directions and the four seasons. This expresses their philosophy of examining the earth. The seasons and directions were in turn connected to colours, which were then connected to the four types of health in the Aboriginal tradition: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Today’s Aboriginal Herbologists are still employing the same methods of understanding plants; however, their approach has changed. Traditionally Aboriginal Herbologists only worked within their own communities, but today they have set up networks to help a broader number of people and are conversing with other Herbologists from around the world to spread knowledge and gain information about plants not native to North America.


Thank you for attending class today. The homework is a take home quiz which should be handed in before the beginning of next class. Photos for today’s lesson may be found at _____.


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