Saturday, November 30, 2013

Teaching Slope and Equations of Lines - Fun!

Teaching slope and writing equations of lines is REALLY IMPORTANT!  I tell my students that no matter how much you wish this topic would just go away, it will be with you throughout all of the rest of your math classes.

I have to admit, the topic of slope was a mystery to me when I first started learning algebra.  I mean I knew the formula but I made no connections to what slope actually was.  I don't know if that was my misunderstanding, or the way my teachers presented it - I'm sure it was me :)

Students need to have a solid understanding of slope, y-intercept, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, and writing equations of lines in order to be successful in calculus.

Here are a few ideas and activities I have found that I think will allow students to practice these ideas without boring worksheets.

1)  Slope Posters  -

This is a link to slope posters that I have in my TPT store that uses cute superhero graphics to show the different types of slope.

2) Monster Themed Power Point Presentation -

This is a presentation that presents information about finding the slope and y-intercept of a line from a graph with fun monster graphics.

This is a link to Monster Power Point Presentation in my TPT store.

3) Equations of Lines Christmas Puzzle -

This is a puzzle that you could use at the end of your unit on writing equations of lines.  Students solve 22 questions and then match their answers to form the answer to a funny Christmas riddle.

Here is a link to my Christmas Equations of Lines Puzzle

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Fibonacci Day!

It's Fibonacci Day!

A little information about the Fibonacci sequence…

The Fibonacci sequence begins like this…

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, …

The next number is generated by adding the two previous  numbers together.

There is so much to study and learn and wonder about when thinking about the Fibonacci sequence.  It leads us right to the golden ratio and to wonder about things such as DaVinci's Mona Lisa and the pyramids in Egypt.

So the question is, why is it Fibonacci Day today?  

Well, it is 11-23 of course - the first four numbers of the Fibonacci sequence!

I love teaching the students about things like this that aren't easily placed into the curriculum.  Do you know of any good resources that I can use in my classroom?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Success in Secondary November Linky Party

It's time once again to link up your favorite Secondary (grades 6 - 12) activities!  You can link up to 2 paid and 1 free activity.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Studying for a Math Test

Do your students ever ask?  How can I study for this test?  You can't study for a math test can you?  You either know it or you don't...

Here are some tips that I give to my high school classes:

1)  Be Neat and Organized - If the teacher gives notes and examples on a specific topic copy them down or organize them in a binder or notebook.  It would probably be helpful to date them when you get them.  If you have a textbook that has section numbers, label your notes with the section numbers.

2) Review the vocabulary - I always tell my geometry class - I'm never going to ask you to define a word, but you have to know what the words mean to answer the questions.

3) Review examples - Surely the teacher has given some example of problems that will be on the test.  Go over them.

4)  DO examples -  One of the biggest messages I try to give my students is you have to DO PROBLEMS.  You can't just watch the teacher do them and you can't just look them over.  You have to try the problems yourself.  I suggest that they have their mom or dad rewrite some problems (that they have the answers to) on another sheet of paper.  Students should try to work the problems completely without looking at either the written out solution or the answer.  Only after they are finished should they check.  Incidentally, I feel that Task Cards with QR Codes can really help in this respect.  Students have the answers to the given problems, but they can't see the answers until they actually scan the code.  (See examples of my  QR Code Algebra Bundle here).

Then, when you get to the actual test...

4) Read directions - When you get the test, be sure you read the directions carefully.

5) Answer the Question That is Asked - Make sure you read each question carefully.  Answer the question that is being asked - not the one you assume is being asked.  For example, in geometry there is a quiz that I give that asks for the number of sides a polygon has if it contains 540 degrees.  Some students answer 5 and some answer pentagon.  It drives me nuts...

6) Don't Answer a Question that Isn't Asked - This one is mostly for my calculus class because they have to be really careful on the free response questions on the AP Exam.  If the test asks to tell where a function is increasing, don't tell where it is decreasing just increases you chances of making a mistake!

Have a great week!