Friday, February 7, 2014

REEL life math

For the past two years, I have assigned my advanced students the project of creating a real-life math video in which they teach a math problem.  It is part of a contest held by MathCounts.

I require the project for a grade, but the students have the option of submitting the video in the National contest.  For the first time, we have a team who has completed the submission process, and their video is in the contest.

The students did all the work on their own.  I was so impressed with the output.  Due to rights with music, they had to do a quick revision and create their own song.  They put a lot of time and effort into the project, and my other students enjoyed watching what they created.

I love it when students can go above and beyond the requirements.  I believe this is a great foundation tool for future endeavors.

Voting began February 4, 2014, and it runs through March 14, 2014.  Please take a minute and go vote for their video.  There is a quick login process, but it only takes a second.  You can vote every day!  The winning video wins scholarships for the team members.

Click here to vote:

Thank you for encouraging math to go beyond the boundaries of the school!

Happy Voting!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Desks instead of paper

We start every class period with a bell ringer.  The students will have 2-4 problems that they must begin working when they come in the room.  After the bell ringer, they will do a quick one question quiz which reviews some concept we have previously discussed.  The quiz must follow the four step plan of: Read, think, solve and justify.

Of course, we have papers that they can keep the work organized, but this year I like to throw in a little different bell ringer every now and then.

One morning, I handed each student a dry erase marker when they walked in the room.  On the bell ringer screen, I included a box that stated to answer the bell ringer by writing on the desk with the dry erase marker.  I heard several gasps and "REALLY?"  They got to work and enjoyed the activity.

I typically give 2-4 minutes to complete bell ringer.  We usually switch papers and grade it.  On this occasion, we weren't really able to switch papers, so I told them to go on a field trip to somewhere else in the room.  This not only allowed them to get up and move, but it kept their attention.

After checking the bell ringer, they wiped off the desk and got ready for the quiz.  Most of the desks wipe off very well.  A few of the desks have a little different laminate, but a disinfectant wipe got the marker right off. Once the quiz was completed, they went on another field trip to somewhere they had never been before.

The kids really took to this.  I have thrown this in about once a month.  A few weeks ago, we had group work for 3 days, so each day I allowed the bell ringer and quiz to be done this way.  It provides a change-up and it helps to keep the kids excited about what the class may hold.

This was an example of one desk after the quiz.  I had all the kids take a trip to this desk to see what I look for in a justification.

It is great to give the kids a little surprise, and this surprise was FREE!

Happy Desk Writing!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dilations & Scale Factor Journal entry

This year, I started an interactive journal in my math class.  I have LOVED it.  I can see such a difference in how the kids are understanding.  It allows for them to have a hands-on approach while learning how to take short notes that are to the point.  It is still a learning process, but I am loving the process!

A few years ago, I implemented, "Say NO to Oreos".  WHAT?????  Who could say NO to oreos?  We do this when we learn about scale factor.  The NO stands for New divided by Original.  We start this saying at the beginning of the year, and we use it all year.  In the past, I have always brought in three types of oreos:

  • regular
  • double stuft
  • mini

We go through a lesson in which we start with the regular oreo and dilate it through an enlargement (the two types of dilations were discussed the day before); therefore, the double stuft is created. The students measure the oreos, and we calculate the scale factor used.

We then have the regular oreo and dilate it through a reduction; therefore, the oreo mini is created.  We do more measurements and get that scale factor.

The students have always responded very well to this.   Since I started journaling this year, I created a journal entry, so the kids could put down what they took away from it.

After each situation, we put the oreos down in the journal.  The characteristic of each type of dilation was included.

I created a little pop out which included our saying that we taped to the middle of the page.

The pop out opens up to reveal what the NO stands for.

I love how we were able to keep something from this activity that the kids can go back and look at.  The kids loved to eat the oreos!!

I am excited to see the finished journal!

Happy Dilating!!