Sunday, July 22, 2012

Diffy Box Fun!

So--do YOU know what a diffy box is?? I posted a Diffy Box FUN! pack (pictured below) a few days ago and talked a little about them yesterday. Allow me to explain a little more now--

The only thing your kids (or YOU) will have to know before using a diffy box is basic subtraction--that's it! (Diffy as in difference!) In fact, these can be fun for math nerds like me any adult too! You may find yourself doing these at a restaurant while you wait for your order (if you're cool enough to be a math nerd like me). Ready to try it??? Grab some paper and a pencil--it won't take long!

1. To start, just draw a box. Make sure it's big enough for you to be able to write inside of it.

2. Pick 4 numbers (let's just stick with 1-digit numbers for now) and write one per vertex.

3. Find the difference of two adjacent vertices and record it at the midpoint of their common side.

4. Now, connect those numbers to form a new box.
What numbers do you see? Are they all zeroes? If they are, skip ahead to step 7. If not, continue on to step 5. 

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all numbers are zero. When you have all zeroes, continue on to step 7.

6. Thank me for giving you your brain exercise for the day.

7. All zeroes means you are FINISHED.

And that's basically how to do a diffy box--simple, huh?? I think these boxes are the coolest! The kids have a blast with them! These can be fun for multiple grade levels, from 1st to middle school.

Have you ever used diffy boxes?? Please share!

In my pack, you will find a step-by-step whole group lesson (with more than what I just explained to you), diffy box templates in various sizes, several extension activities and ideas, and a math station diffy box game. Click on the picture to check it out! And until Tuesday night you can enter to win a free copy of this--click to head over to the giveaway! :)

On an unrelated note--tomorrow I am throwing a linky party!! :)

I'm curious to know--what's your teacher story?? We all got to the classroom somehow, most of us not taking the same path. Now is your chance to share your story with me and others! The party starts Monday morning, so start reminiscing and get your posts ready!! :) 


  1. WOW! I love how simple the DIffy Box is, but it's meaningful at the same time! It would be so easy for students to do when they have extra time or when I have extra time! And it wouldn't be too hard to differentiate for students who need to work on double, or tripple digit subtraction. Thank you for sharing! :o)

    Inspire, Dream, & Create! 

  2. I have never heard of Diffy boxes but I am fascinated!! I have to try to remember these to use as one of those "not enough time to start something new but not time to leave the class yet" moments! I love it!

    Third Grade Tidbits

  3. Never heard of these before but they are so COOL! I think kids would really get a kick out of them and would find them kinda magical. I can see them trying all sorts of numbers to see if it always works. I've entered the contest, but should I not be a lucky winner, I'll definitely be purchasing this!

    Learning's a Hoot

  4. This is very, very cool! I entered your giveaway, but will be buying the Diffy Boxes if I don't win :) Thanks for the chance Janaye!!

  5. Never heard of a diffy box, but know that I know, I can't wait to use them with my kids! I'm going to start tomorrow with my summer students.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Inside this Book

  6. I follow you on TPT and saw this and was wondering what it was. Thanks for sharing! I am definitely going to use this with my kids!

    Adventures in Room 5

  7. I had never heard about this before, but what a cool thing. Pinned!

    The Teaching Thief

  8. I love the Diffy Box. Never heard of it before, but love the whole process it takes to complete. Thank you for explaining.

  9. This is SO cool! Thanks for sharing!! Can't wait for your linky party!!

    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

  10. Wow! Love the Diffy Box! My kids will love this as a math strategy! Does it work with fractions or decimals too? Cause that would be pretty spectacular! I will certainly join up for the linky party.. it will be my first! :)

  11. I answered my own question... It works with any numbers! Super awesome way to practice subtracting decimals and fractions.

    1. I never thought about using the diffy box for decimals and fractions. Thanks for the suggestion.


    2. Actually, there are numbers that won't go to 0. Very hard to find, though...

  12. I used the diffy box years ago when I taught second grade but I haven't thought about it in years. Thanks for reminding of it. Now that I teach fifth grade, I can use it for subtraction review and practice with subtracting decimals and fractions. Thanks for sharing.