Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Speed Dating in Geometry

We tried Speed Dating in Geometry today!

I have tried the idea of Speed Dating before, but never in a geometry class.  I have used it in upper level courses before, but I wasn't sure how it would work with a younger group.

I am happy to report that things went great!

It took a bit of work to get things organized, but after that, this activity ran itself.

Here is a picture of my class while they were working.

I had a geometry worksheet ready to go with 13 questions on it.  I had the students sit with partners that I had selected using  [I had 13 stations set up around the room with a problem number on each set of 2 desks.]  After I gave the worksheets, I had each set of partners start with the problem number on their desk.  I set a timer for 2 minutes which I projected up onto the screen.  After two minutes the timer went off and students got up and switched stations.  One partner moved one way and one partner moved the other way.  This gave students the chance to work with many other partners throughout the class period.  No one could get too comfortable because after 2 minutes, they had to move.  This really kept the students working!

At the end of 26 minutes or so [2 minutes per question], the students were back in their original seats.  I had them enter their answers into a google form so I could easily check their answers.

I think it's great to vary the activities in your classroom and get students up and moving - at least every once in awhile :)

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Making Groups Work in High School Math Class

I love having my class work in groups.  But, sometimes the group work turns in to group chat time.  So I have come up with two things to help to make sure that learning is happening!

1) Making the groups...

I have tried various things over the years...letting the students choose their partners, I choose their partners, making their groups based on their seating arrangements...etc, etc.  These each work sometimes depending on what I am trying to do, but my favorite new way to make groups is by using the website Flippity

There are lots of things you can do with flippity such as making flashcards, making a jeopardy game board, and making a word search.  But, my favorite thing to do with Flippity is to make groups.  All you have to do is type the names of your students into a Google Spreadsheet and Flippity does the rest.  You can specify how many students you want in a group and then through the magic of google, groups are made!  It's FREE!

I use Flippity and then project the groups on the front board as students are coming into class.  It eliminates arguments and gets everybody into a group.  Even the loners who would rather be by themselves.  There's no embarrassment to being left out.  If you notice that the two kids in the class who just can't get along were randomly selected to be in the same group, you can change that easily even after the groups have been chosen.

2) Make Students Accountable for the Group Work...

My students used to work better in groups.  I gave them an assignment and they did it.  It didn't matter if I was collecting it.  They did it because I said to.  These days, I feel that I have to make them more accountable.  There are many ways to do this.

  • You can give each student in the group a job - recorder, explainer, note taker, etc, etc.
  • You can choose one student's paper from the group to turn in at the end of the assignment.
  • You can have students enter their answers into a google form.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Using Two Truths and a Lie in Calculus Class

Curve Sketching is a topic that Calculus students need to practice over and over again.  So, I decided to give them some practice by using this fun idea that I originally found on the Math = Love blog {Math = Love Two Truths and a Lie}

First, the students and I played a quick round of two truths and a lie as a small icebreaker.

For example, I made these three statements about myself.

1) I graduated from the University of Illinois.
2) I played the oboe in high school.
3) I lived in Hawaii for a year.

My students know me pretty well, so they quickly figured out that I never lived in Hawaii :)

Then I gave each set of partners a copy of the Two Truths and a Lie form.  Students could do this activity by themselves, but I thought for a first effort maybe partners would work better.  This form is specifically geared toward this particular Curve Sketching activity, but it could easily be changed to target whatever topic you want.

I decided to give my students an equation to work with.  This way, I could target a couple of groups with some more difficult equations.  But, you could easily just tell students they have to come up with their own equation.

I told students they need to use words like maximum, minimum, increasing, decreasing, concave up, concave down, and point of inflection in their 3 statements.  I did allow students to use their calculators to check their work.

Here is an example of my work:

Finally, after each group was finished, I had them fold up the bottom of their paper so other students couldn't see it.  We had a gallery walk around the room and students had to identify the lie on all of the other group's papers.

This was a really fun activity and I hope to incorporate this activity into other topics in some of my other classes!

{Do you like this idea?  If you would like to purchase the forms and equations used in this activity, please visit my TPT store at: Two Truths and a Lie Curve Sketching}

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Teaching Riemann Sums...A Post It Activity

I don't know about you, but I have a ton of post its sitting around everywhere.  Every color and size...I even purchased the Post Its Teacher Treasure Box :) I use them often!

I was ready to start teaching Riemann Sums in Calculus the other day and I happened to look down at the post its I had on my desk and I realized...hey I can use these!

So, I made this one page worksheet to get my students started on learning Riemann Sums.  The worksheet is the perfect size to use the post its that are 1/2 inch in width.  (For example, see them here: Post It Page Markers )

I introduced the idea of Riemann Sums to the class and we did an example at the board.

Then I had everyone take 15 post it page markers. [Teacher Tip:  If you put 15 post its on each student's paper before you start this activity, it takes a LOT less time]  Students will also need a pair of scissors.

This is how one student's paper looked as she worked on the assignment.

Would you like a copy of this activity for your students?  Download the one page pdf file from my TPT Store...

Teaching Riemann Sums with Post Its

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fun Winter and Christmas Activities for Secondary Math

It's that time of year again - when we all get REALLY ready for Winter Break.  We teachers are no different than the students!  There is still work that needs to be done, but if we could only make it fun somehow to keep our student's minds on math :)

I have teamed up with some of my secondary math friends to compile a list of some terrific, fun activities you might use in your class this December.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

My Current Solution to the Homework Problem

I seriously hate grading homework.  But, kids are kids, and if you don't do something with it, they simply won't do it.

Even worse, it seems like some kids just copy the homework off of someone to just get it done.  Or, they use one of the readily available apps to scan or input the problem and immediately get the answer.

I've tried many methods of checking homework...walking around the room and giving points for completion, giving short homework "quizzes" on problems from the night before, giving no homework, collecting the homework and only checking one or two problems, giving online homework, etc, etc, etc.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Making a Breakout Box {Escape Room} for Math Class

Let me tell you...making a breakout box for your class to use is no small task!  But, I had a lot of fun making it and I am hoping my students will have a lot of fun with it too.  I am planning to use this as a first day activity in my Calculus class to review some necessary skills and avoid the first day here are the rules speech.

In order to make a Breakout Box, you first need to gather your supplies.