Sunday, August 10, 2014

Loved that Lesson Linky - Combinations and the Lottery

A great fellow blogger - Meg Anderson from The Teacher Studio - invited me to participate in this linkup from her blog.

This is a great idea, and I hope you follow along to check out all of the ideas :)

One of my favorite lessons that always generates a ton of interest is a lesson on Combinations in Algebra 2 or Precalculus.

I start the lesson by placing a $50 bill on my desk.

As the students start to enter the room I tell them - someone in the room is going to have a chance to win this $50 today during class.  Students are really excited…who doesn't love money?

In Illinois, we have a lottery where people choose 5 numbers from 1 to 40.  If they choose the correct 5 numbers, they win big money - like millions of dollars!

The seniors in my class are old enough to buy tickets and AHEM - win, so I want to show them how unlikely it is that they will win.

You can make this fit any lottery situation, but I have the students pick 5 numbers from 1 to 40.  They must write them down in pen in their notebook. (FYI - in my lottery the order the numbers are chosen in doesn't matter.)

Before I begin choosing numbers, I have all the students stand up.

I use my projector and my TI-Nspire calculator to randomly generate a number between 1 and 40.  I am sure to project this to increase excitement.

After the first random number comes up on my calculator, I have all of the students sit down who do not have that number in their list.  I hear disappointed sighs from the class.

Then I generate a second random number and again have the students who do not also have that number on their list sit down.

At this point, I usually have MAYBE one student left standing and everyone is rooting for them.  I generate the third number and unless that student has that number too, by now everyone is sitting down.
(In 25 years of teaching, I have never had a student get more than three numbers correct, and that only happened twice.)

After all the students are sitting, I generally hear a lot of "Let's play again!"  I generally play 4 or 5 times before I get down to the reason we are playing the lottery in class.

This lesson really seems to motivate the students and they are all interested in their chances of actually winning!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Super Secondary Sellers Unite!

(Before we get to the real subject of this post, remember to enter my Back to School giveaway - check it out at this post - Giveaway)

SHHHH!!!  The annual Back to School Teachers Pay Teachers Sale is just around the corner - it STARTS ON MONDAY!  Sellers can mark their store up to 20% off and TPT throws in an extra 10% off :)

A whole bunch of Secondary Sellers have joined together to make this sale even more awesome!

Check out everyone who is participating below (and Super Special thanks to Danielle Knight for making this totally awesome graphic!)

Even better, here is a link to all of the teachers who are pictured above:

Study All Knight
Juggling ELA
The SuperHERO Teacher
The Creative Classroom
Teaching High School Math
All Things Algebra
Miss Math Dork
James Whitaker
For the Love of Teaching Math
The Classroom Sparrow
Teaching Math by Hart
2 Peas and a Dog
Addie Williams
21st Century Math Projects
Tracee Orman
Science Stuff
Teaching FSL 
Michele Luck’s Social Studies
Margaret Whisnan
Created by Mr. Hughes
Making it as a Middle School Teacher
Kate’s Classroom CafĂ©
FisherRena Education
Darlene Anne
Mrs. S
Pamela Kranz
Liz’s Lessons
The Tutor House
The Career Ready Teacher

Secondary Solutions
Live. Love. Math
Charlene Tess

Friday, August 1, 2014

Seriously, Cannot Believe It's Almost Back to School - Back to School Giveaway!

Can't believe it's almost back to school - the calendar just turned to August and I feel like all my free time is gone!

This shows you exactly how I feel about it.

Ha Ha!

So, to help you with the Back to School Blues - I am having a giveaway on my blog!  A $10 gift certificate to TPT!

Enter below :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Super Secondary Link Up!

Time for a Super Secondary Link Up!

Please feel free to link one free and one paid item :)

(limited to the first 40 links)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fun High School Math Bulletin Board

I saw this idea the other day on Pinterest - a Sudoku Bulletin Board.  I was thinking - that is the coolest thing ever!

So, I made my own!

Sometimes my students get to class early and they need something to do.  Sometimes they finish early and they need something to do.

So, I thought as a group effort they could work on solving a Sudoku Puzzle.

Here is how the Bulletin Board would look (currently displayed on my kitchen floor since I am trying to deny the fact that it is almost August for as long as possible :)

In the picture, you will see a Sudoku puzzle set up.  I have similar pieces that have red numbers on them that the students would use to fill in the puzzle as they figure out where the numbers go.  You can kind of see in the puzzle that there are velcro tabs on the puzzle so I can change it around as often as the puzzle gets solved.

I also made this really cool blank Sudoku sheet that you can use to make your own puzzle, or students can use it to record their solutions to the puzzle on the bulletin board.  (This sheet is available for FREE in my TPT store :)  Grab it here:  Blank Sudoku Puzzle

If you are interested in the entire Sudoku Bulletin Board Package, grab it here:  Sudoku Bulletin Board

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back to School Math Activity

Can you believe it's almost time for Back to School?  As the calendar turns over to August, I know that time is running short and my mind needs to turn back to how to best engage my students.

One things I have found over the years is that it is absolutely necessary to engage them from day one - in this class we are going to talk about math and I mean business :)  I hope they get the message along the way that I love them, but also that I LOVE MATH!

Do you remember high school and on the first day…what did you do - listen to 7 or 8 teachers tell you about the rules for their class - maybe get your book - BORING!

So, how about an activity that you can do the very first day that even incorporates technology :)

This would be appropriate for a class that learned how two solve two step equations last year…

Give each student a card from this set of task cards:

Give the students a minute or two to solve the equation on the card.  Then, have the students - WITHOUT TALKING OR WRITING - line themselves up in numerical order from smallest to largest.

After the students feel that they are lined up in the correct order, the teacher can start at one end of the line with a piece of technology (phone, iPad, tablet) that has a QR Code Reader.  As the teacher scans each QR Code, he or she announces the correct solution.  Students listen to see if they are correct.

I have done an activity like this before where students line themselves up in order of their birthday.  It is a great activity to see who the leaders are in the class and for the students to work together.

(If you are interested in this activity - grab it from my store...Algebra Solving Two Step Equations - Line Them Up )

Have a great day!

Friday, July 18, 2014

What Does a Math Teacher Do in the Summer?

I was so inspired the other day on Pinterest by these fascinating looking sculptures that 5th grade students made! (

I decided I needed to give it a try.

So, I explored the links that I found on the website above.  This project looked fun and challenging!

Here is how it went for me.

1) I started with the template given on the website.  I didn't want the pieces that big though, so I copied, cut, and pasted, and made the template into a size that was manageable for me.  I got 5 pieces onto one sheet of paper.

2) I thought … ugh a lot of cutting!  So, I got out my trusty, rusty Silhouette Cameo and used the print and Cut feature.  This was a lot easier than cutting out all 30 pieces.  (Let me know if you would like to try this and I can post my Cameo Print and Cut File)

3)  Here is what I had after I cut the pieces.

4)  One of the tips given on the above website is to make sure that all of your pieces are facing the same direction, so I piled all of the pieces into a pile so I was sure they were all going in the same direction.  I put a dot on the face of each one.

5)  I then started building - I really had no idea what I was doing at this point - LOL.

6)  As I continued to build, I noticed that the pieces come together in either sets of 3 or sets of 5 and seem to alternate.  This is a picture of about half of the project complete.

7)  As I got closer to the end, it was harder and harder to get the pieces together!  As I got to the place where I didn't think any more pieces could fit in, I realized that there was NO WAY I was going to be able to use all 30 of the pieces.  So, KUDOS to the 5th graders that figured this one out!  In fact, I didn't use 6 of the pieces.

I still think my final design looks cool, but not quite the same :)