Saturday, December 1, 2018

Math Teacher Christmas Giveaway!


Now that it is December, thoughts turn to preparations for Christmas.  We all get busier and busier!

I'd like to offer you a chance to win one of my TPT Store Bundles!

By entering this giveaway, you are subscribing to my email list; I email tips, freebies, and information about sales periodically. You are free to unsubscribe at any time.

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Calculus Optimization Project - Popcorn Box




This is a great project to do on the day before Thanksgiving Break.  It works anytime, but it is really nice to do on a day when you need to keep the students' minds on math.

Materials Needed:

construction paper
scissors
rulers
tape
calculator
big bag of popcorn

I begin by having this on my board when students enter the classroom.


Students immediately want to know "what's that for" and "are we having a quiz?"  (Eye roll!)  But at least they are paying attention to their surroundings and I am generating interest in the day's lesson.

I have students choose a partner and then sign their name next to one of the (what will turn out to be) measurements on the board.

I explain to the students that we are going to make boxes out of their piece of construction paper.  They cut squares of equal size out of each corner of their sheet of construction paper.  Each group uses the measurement next to their name on the board in the front of the room.


After students cut the paper, they fold up the sides of the box and tape them in place.

Once their box is made, each group calculates the volume of their box.

I have each group write the volume that they calculated next to their names on the board.

Once all of the groups have written their volumes on the board, we look to see which measurements will give the maximum volume of the box.

Then we figure out, using algebra and the calculator, exactly where and what the maximum will be.  The construction paper that we use is 9 inches x 12 inches.  Students use these measurements to come up with a formula that will represent the volume of a box that can be formed if squares with sides of length x are cut out of the corners of the construction paper.  This graph is generated.

We talk about the graph and realize that for this particular situation, we only want to use the part of the graph between x = 0 and x = 4.5.  [squares larger than 4.5 cannot be cut out of the paper].

Of course, none of this actually involved any calculus.  I use this entire activity as an introduction to the idea that we can all start with a given constraint - in this case the piece of 9 x 12 construction paper - and generate different solutions to the problem - in this case make a box.  Which one is best? 

Then we talk about different types of optimization problem situations - I specifically bring up whether pop is in the most cost efficient container.  I actually have a coke "can" in the shape of a (sort of) sphere that Coke put out several years ago for Christmas.  Or, Dr. Pepper, made a special edition "can" in the shape of a football several years ago for the beginning of the football season.
Image result for coke in a sphere

After our discussion and calculator work, students get to fill their box with popcorn and eat!

Do you need more optimization problems?  Check out my Optimization Problems Notebook on Teachers Pay Teachers...Optimization Notebook





Sunday, October 7, 2018

Another Way to Use Scavenger Hunts





My class loves a good scavenger hunt...you know the kind - you post problems all over the room - students start anywhere and work a problem, then find that answer posted somewhere in the room.  They continue to work problems until the end up back where they started.

But sometimes, you have a class you just don't want to let out of their seats.  Or maybe you want to hold everyone accountable for the work.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Fun First Day Math Activity - Algebra Review Using Clue





Last year I did a breakout game with my calculus class for beginning of the year review.  I will probably do that again this year to help them review some things for PreCalculus.  You can read about that here: Making a Breakout Game

But, this year I decided that I wanted to try something with my Geometry class too.

I have to thank Stephanie Howell for this idea.  I heard about it on the podcast Hacking Engagement - you can hear it too - Hacking Engagement Clue Game

So, here are the steps I went through to make this game.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Using Uno as an Intro to Teaching Proofs



I recently came across this idea on Pinterest, and I LOVE it.  I am sorry, I don't know who the original credit goes to for coming up with this idea is...if you can claim it - let me know :)

As we all know, getting students to understand the whole IDEA of a proof is difficult.  Then throw in theorems, postulates, reasons, statements UGH...it's too much.  The reason I love using Uno to start teaching proof is that you begin the lesson with something students are familiar with - many have played Uno before.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Math Lessons from the Swimming Pool



My daughter loves math and no matter what we are doing, she always wants me to teach her a math lesson.  Since we have been spending a lot of time in the pool, I came up with some things we could talk about while in the pool.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

New Game to use in Math Class - GimKit



If you are like me, you are always looking for something that will engage your math students.  What will keep them thinking, but also learning?  Is it possible to have them beg to continue playing??

This happened to me the other day in my high school math class.  It was driving me nuts that my students STILL didn't know their convenient trig values (sin 30˚, cos π, etc, etc).  We were headed into the AP test and reviewing some integral problems.  It came down to the end of the problem and the kids needed to know what the cos π was to finish the problem.  Sadly, I still had kids asking if the cos π was √2/2.  Ugh!!

That night I was listening to a podcast and I heard about a new game called Gimkit.  Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook called it similar to Kahoot, but with PowerUps.  COOL!

Gimkit is similar to Kahoot, but there are some differences as well.

One difference {that the kids love} is that you can buy powerups to help you up your score and to try to get higher on the Leader Board.  There's nothing better than being in first place!  Here is a screenshot of the "shop" on Gimkit.  Students can buy a PowerUp to increase the amount of money that will be gained or lost per question, increase the amount of money that you get in a streak, multiply the amount of money that you get, or buy insurance in case you get an answer wrong.




Another difference is that the questions appear on the students' screens and not on a big screen.  On the big screen, you can see how much money everyone has in the game at any given time.



Students can also be given the game as an assignment instead of a game that must be played in the classroom with all of the other students.


And, by the way, GimKit was made by a high school student!  Do you want to know more about it?  Check out their website.  Gimkit


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