Saturday, October 15, 2011

Using History/Math

I used this example in my Algebra I class this past week.  My students were very into the whole warm-up.

The exercise is a warm-up using Powerpoint.  I try to introduce the topic without math being involved at all so they pay extra attention to see where I'm going... reveal each point one at a time creating a word problem.

So now we have a problem to solve that everyone has wondered at some point.  What the heck is a "score"? as in Four score and seven years ago.

Some of the Social Studies teachers liked this exercise too.  I try to incorporate what they're doing into my lessons.  This particular one helped me to answer "Mr. R., why do we need this?" and also reinforce what they learned in another subject.

Sometimes we just use math to figure stuff out like "what is a score anyway?"


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Algebra and Marbles

A couple of days ago I bought 6 bags of marbles.  There are 50 marbles in each bag.  I would like to make at least 3 Algebra activities using these marbles.

Here's one I think is cool:
1. Start with 2 jars, one filled with marbles and the other empty. Give students the weight of the filled jar and also of the empty jar.

2. Then give students a supply of marbles and an empty jar.  I imagine doing this in small groups.

3. Students use algebra to determine approx. weight of 1 marble, 2 marbles etc....

4. The challenge is to find the weight of one marble without weighing anything or opening the first jar.

5. Let them play and problem solve.

6. [y=mx+b] They should discover that the full jar weight = (# of marbles) (weight of one marble) + weight of empty jar. They need to reason it out to get to this point.

7. In order to know how many marbles are in the full jar, they can use the empty jar and fill it with marbles, then count approximately how many marbles are in the first jar. So it's important to use "approximately".

8. Students can solve for weight of one marble using algebra.

I like this activity because they won't feel like they are using algebra until then end.  At that point the algebra should make sense.  What do you think?  Can you come up with any more activities?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why Mark Twain Was an Analytics Guru

Some really cool quotes about analytics in this article. :-)

Why Mark Twain Was an Analytics Guru | ClickZ

New York Regents Exams vs ADP Achieve Exams (Sample tests with answers here)

I wish that New Jersey used the NY Regents Exams instead of the ADP Algebra End-of-Course Exams

I remember taking the Regents when I was in HS (in the 1980's).  The exams seem to be pretty good.  They've been around for decades and change very little over the years.

There are plenty of review guides available and it is very clear to teachers and students which material and types of questions they need to master to do well on the test.

Info and Sample tests with answers here:

New York Regents Exams

NY Regents (Integrated Algebra)

NY Regents (Geometry)

NY Regents (Algebra II/Trig)

NY Regents (Mathematics B)

New Jersey used these for the past two years and ended up not counting them.

ADP Algebra I End-of-Course Exam

ADP Algebra II End-of-Course Exam

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cell phones should not be allowed in school

I really think that cell phones are one of the main reasons some students don't do well in school.  I was way too nice this year in dealing with texting in class.  As a first year teacher I was a bit anxious dealing with this problem.

My plan for year two is to start out very strict.  I will keep this image that I manipulated in Photoshop in mind every time I even see a cell phone.  I need a bit of Darth Vader in me.  :-) (think Captain Morgan ads)

How do you deal with texting in class?

24 pencils at Walmart for $1

Great deal on these pencils at WalMart. 

Only $1.00 (actually $0.94)

I bought 8 packs.  :-)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Test post from cell

Working on getting some posts up

So I finally decided to try to get blogging.  To be honest, I hate writing!  I think that's why I took to math.  Less essays, reports etc.  :-)

But I will give this a shot.

Please feel free to make suggestions how to make this blog better.