Monday, December 28, 2015

Digital Interactive Activities...Go Paperless!

It's soon to be a new year and maybe you are looking for new your school going 1:1?  Do you have access to a set of chrome books or iPads?  If you do, you might like to start using some interactive activities that will allow you to use no (or at least less!) paper in your classroom.

This can be a slow process.  At the school where I teach, we spent an entire year preparing for students to each come to school with their own iPad.  Then, we spent an entire year learning about apps we could use in the classroom.  This year, our second with 1:1 iPads, is being spent working on integrating the iPads into the classroom environment.  Not everything has to do with can you use the iPad or computer to REPLACE or ENHANCE some learning activities.  It doesn't have to happen all at once.  Take a lesson or two that you would like to explore using technology to teach.  Try that...reflect, analyze, reach out to other friends using technology in the classroom, what worked, what didn't, try again.

I am going to start the year in my classes with asking my class to reflect on their First Semester and then to think about what they would like to accomplish for second semester.  This is a great activity which I often don't do when I think about all of the paper this generates...I want to read what every student has to say about it, but when I think about how nice and clean my desk is right now and what it will look like after I collect that paper from every student...UGH!  As an added benefit, I can read the student's responses right on my iPad...I can read them while I am waiting for my son at band practice or my daughter at gymnastics...Yay!

So this year, I am going to have students fill out their own reflection sheet on their iPads, or at home on their computer, and ask them to turn it in to me digitally!  We use the Learning Management System called Schoology, but you could have the students submit through other systems as well such as Showbie or even through email. paper!

Here is what my reflection sheet looks like and a link that you can check out at my TPT store.  (template courtesy of Danielle Knight - Study All Knight).

[Here's the link: Second Semester Goals]

Also, I don't know about you, but my class needs constant practice to keep their basic algebra skills fresh!  I made a fun factoring puzzle that students can interact with on their computer or other 1:1 device.  You have seen these puzzles before...students cut and paste.  I don't know about you...I love this activity but it's painful to me watching everyone take so long to CUT...I mean what are they doing...cut on the lines...move along!  Anyway, this is the same type of activity, but students move the pieces virtually!  Fun :)

[Here's the link: Factoring Puzzle]

I know everyone isn't a math teacher out there, so check out some of my friends' products and blog posts about Digital Interactive Products.  If you need more information about using digital products in the classroom, be sure to read the blog posts below!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Desmos and Geogebra Ideas that I Want to Use in My Classroom

Do you ever find the perfect idea for a topic just AFTER you have finished teaching it?  Me too!

This isn't really a blog post, it is a collection of ideas for Desmos or Geogebra that I find that I want to use in my own classroom.  Feel free to click through the links to check out what I am finding!  Check back as I will be adding to this list.

1) Graphing equations of lines - get through the maze: (check out the blog Simplifying Radicals)

Equations of Lines Maze with Desmos

2) Inverse Graph - shows the inverse and the function and the points on each graph.  (check out the blog I Speak Math)

Inverse Graphs

Here is a worksheet that goes with it: Inverse Graph Worksheet

3) Increasing Decreasing Domain Range - uses a turtle moving along a graph to show students increasing and decreasing (check out the blog Reflections of a High School Math Teacher)

Increasing Decreasing Turtle in Motion

4)  This is a blog post that explains why we use radians instead of degrees in calculus.

Why do We Use Radians?

5) Here is an activity to do as an introduction to radians from (Math Teacher Nerd)


1. Using a compass, make a circle on this sheet of paper.

2. Measure the length of the radius and measure a piece of yarn to that length.

3. Using that yarn, lay the yarn on the circle and mark the circle arc that is one yarn's length.

4. Using a protractor, how many degrees (approximately) is this?

5. Now, continue to measure the circle using your yarn. How many yarns (radii) make up a circle?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Little Book of Calculus Rules (part one)

Sometimes there are just things that must be memorized.  My students drive me nuts because the JUST.WON'T.MEMORIZE.

So, I created this fun and easy foldable out of one single piece of paper.  Quite honestly, that is really the very coolest part :)

(To see how to fold this book, check out this pinterest pin:

Fold One Piece of Paper into a Mini Book)

Here is what the book looks like after it is printed - notice...only one piece of paper used!

Here is a picture that shows the size of the book after it is folded.

Would you like to make one of these with your calculus class?  Check it out in my TPT store:

Little Book of Calculus Rules

Friday, December 11, 2015

Using Google Drive Slides in the High School Math Classroom

Using Google Slides in my classroom has been an awesome addition to other technology activities that I have been working to incorporate.

Let me explain...

I have wanted to try working with interactive notebooks in my high school math classroom for a super long time.  But, I just could not muster up the energy to try all of the cutting, gluing, and cute marker writing that I see on lots of other people's blogs.  I see the value in it, and think at least some of my students would enjoy it.  But the TIME involved in the cutting and gluing just seemed like a lot to spend.  I know it works for people, and I am glad about it, but for me I just haven't been able to do it.

But, I like the idea of it.  I like the idea of the students being able to move pieces around and show me that they know which things (graphs, equations, solutions, vocabulary, etc correspond to each other).  I LOVE the idea of students being able to submit things paper, yes please :)

There are apps available that allow students to move such items (for example, Stick Around), but nothing that I found that was going to work exactly for me.  I need math notation and I need the ability for students to graph things and type equations.

So, after thinking and thinking about it...I went to my friends online and I found that Danielle Knight (Study All Knight) and Jean Adams (Flamingo High Math) were thinking along these lines as well.  Danielle has some ELA materials available for Google Drive and Jean Adams has some math activities available for use with Google Drive - check them out!

I decided to give it a try...could this type of activity be valuable to the students in my math class?

{Note:  My students each have their own iPad that they bring to school everyday}

The first thing I tried was an activity in my calculus class.  They had real difficulty finding the derivatives of trig functions.  I thought if I showed them some of examples of functions that looked similar but that had different derivatives, it would encourage them to start looking for the differences in the original functions.

Anyhow, here is a picture of the slide I made and sent to my class electronically:

Since this is just a picture of the activity, you can't see actually move the boxes.  But, in the actual google slides document, the students move the white boxes so they match with the original functions.  Students then submit this document back to me electronically through our learning management system, Schoology.  Yay, no paper :)

This activity worked well...I am going to try to make more activities like this...stay tuned!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fun Christmas Activities for Secondary (Middle School and High School) Math

Thanksgiving is over and it's time to turn our thoughts to Christmas!  Everyone knows that kids are excited about Christmas, but we need them to keep their minds on math!!!

What kinds of activities can you use?  Check out these 35 activities below.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Resources to practice Trig Special (Convenient) Values

This happened in calculus class the other day...we found the derivative of something involving a trig function and then had to find the value of sin (π/4) in order to finish the problem.  I said ok what is the value of sin(π/4) and I got wildly differing answers including 0 and 1.  That drives me absolutely shows absolutely no understanding whatsoever.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming wasn't the precalculus teacher's fault - I'm the precalculus teacher this year and I totally get the struggle!

So, I searched and found the best online game (free!):

Here is the website where it came from:

Unit Circle Game

Students play this online.  (My students used their iPads and it worked fine.)  Students practice putting the radian angle measure in the correct place.  In addition, they practice putting the coordinates in the right place.  The website times should have seen the competition going on in my class for the best time :)

But, I know the students need more practice...see the linkup below for even more options.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fun Thanksgiving Activities for Secondary (Middle and High School) Math Class

Halloween...over already...time to get ready for the next round of holidays!

Try one of these activities this year!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fun Halloween Secondary (Middle and High School) Math Activities

The Secondary Math Classroom can be fun too!

Even our best high school students have a little trouble keeping their minds on math sometimes :)

Here are some awesome suggestions for activities for students in secondary math.  Feel free to link your activity.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Using Classkick in the High School Math Classroom

Do you integrate technology into your classroom?  Are you a 1:1 iPad school?  If yes, do you wish you could find an app for your students to use that caused them to say, "I love this app!" And "Can we use this app every day?"

Let me tell you about the app Classkick.  When using this app, you can see everything your students are doing on their iPad in real time.  You can give them feedback in real time.  Best of all, you can give them a virtual sticker if they get the problem correct!

Here is a screenshot of a problem I gave to my calculus class recently.

Notice the problem is right in the Classkick app.  I typed the directions in the app and then imported a picture of a problem I wanted the students to do.  [note: there is no equation editor in Classkick as of yet.]

Here is a screenshot of one of my students' work that he did right on the iPad.

Here is a screenshot of the sticker he got when he got the problem right and you can see where I wrote Good on his work.

After briefly being creeped out when they realized I could see exactly what they were doing, my class worked diligently on the three problems I gave them.  I know it sounds completely unbelievable, but the all worked and were completely engaged.  They all wanted my attention RIGHT NOW,

The best part for me was that I could correct errors as they were happening.  Kids could ask me a question virtually and no one else had to know.  I could tell immediately who still needed practice.  It was great 😀

Beware: Once you turn the students loose with this app, their answers will come quickly and you need to be ready.  Once someone gets a message from you, or a sticker, they will all be calling out for you!   Classkick provides a feature so that students can virtually raise their hand for help or ask you to check their work.  They can also ask another student for help...however I haven't experimented with that feature yet because I was a little worried about what one student might write on another students' screen.  Depending on your class, this might be a great feature for you.

If you are interested in learning more about Classkick, here is a link to their website:  Classkick

[One thing I forgot to mention...Classkick is ABSOLUTELY FREE and students join your class by entering a class user names or passwords to remember!]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Snippets of Video on You Tube for High School Math

This post will be a compilation of video snippets I find on You Tube or other places online that are helpful in introducing or teaching high school math.  These are not Khan Academy type videos - they are fun snippets that you can insert in your lessons when a laugh is necessary :)

1) Introducing Proof - How to Prove a Mathematical Theory - by Scott Kennedy for Ted Ed - 4:38

2) Volume of a Cylinder - Phineas and Ferb - 0:15 - Phineas and Ferb discuss the formula for finding the volume of a jar of jellybeans.

3) Pythagorean Theorem - Simpsons on the Pythagorean Theorem - 0:08 - Homer states the Theorem incorrectly.

4) Vectors - Vector from Despicable Me - 0:59 - Vector introduces himself to Gru

5) Newton vs. Leibniz - Merry Newtonmas - 1:09 - Big Bang Theory - Sheldon wants to hang a Newton ornament on the tree.

6) Crickets Chirping - The Jiminy Conjecture - 2:47 - Big Bang Theory - Sheldon counts the number of chirps of a cricket and is able to determine the type of cricket.

7) Speed and Velocity - They Might be Giants - Speed and Velocity - 1:50 - from They Might be Giants - cute video and song that will be stuck in your head :)

8) Newton vs. Leibniz - Fun Cartoonish Video about the Calculus Controversy - 7:46

9) I Will Derive - Fun Song Parody called I Will Derive - 3:16

10) Pi on Phineas and Ferb - Pies Recite the Number Pi on Phineas and Ferb - 0:17

11) Triangulation on Phineas and Ferb - a fun song about using triangles to find the height of a building - Triangulation - 0:44

12)  Systems of Equations Fox Trot Cartoon -

13)  Why Logarithms are Necessary Why Computer Colors Use Logarithms

14) Pythagorean Theorem - Ted Ed Video

15) Proving the Pythagorean Theorem Using Water - Proof Using Water

16) History of Pythagoras - History of Pythagoras with Bad Drawings

17) Sigma Notation Used to Set up the Definition of Derivative - Sigma Notation

18) Why You Can't Divide by Zero - Ted Ed Divide by Zero

[Contributions from Mrs. E Teaches Math, Doc Running, and Joan Kessler]

(If you have suggestions of things to add to this page, please leave them in the comments)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Teaching Analyzing Functions in Pre Calculus or College Algebra (and a FREEBIE!)

This year I am teaching Pre-Calculus - Yay :)  I have taught the course before, but it has been several years ago.  We are going to be working on analyzing functions soon, so I thought I might do a round up of activities/lessons/worksheets that I have found that look like they might be good to use in class.

1)  Analyzing Functions from Graphs and Tables - This is my own set of worksheets that I made this summer once I knew that I was going to be teaching this course.  

This set contains 7 worksheets.  

Worksheets 1 and 2: Students will work with a single graph and answer questions about function values, where a function has a maximum or minimum, what the maximum or minimum value is, and where a function is increasing or decreasing.

Worksheets 3 and 4: Students will be given two different functions on a single graph. Students will work on finding values of things like f(x) + g(x); f(x) – g(x); (f(x))(g(x)); f(x)/g(x); and combinations of these functions.

Worksheets 5: Students will be given two different functions on a single graph. Students will work on finding the value of the composition of the two functions.

Worksheets 6 and 7: Students will be given a table with values for f(x) and g(x). Students will use the table to find the value of the composition of functions.

Would you like to see a sample page from this packet?  Here is a link to the first page [FREE] - if you find it useful, I hope you might leave a comment on this post or a rating on TPT :)  FREEBIE!

If you like the sample page, here is a link to the full product on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Full Product - Analyzing Functions from Graphs and Tables

2)  Next up from my friend Jean Adams at Flamingo Math - Here is a Functions and Graphs Stations Activity.  You can use this activity at the end of your unit - students love getting up and moving around the classroom!

3)  Do you need help teaching function notation?  Here is a link to a blog post from my friend Karrie at Mrs. E. Teaches Math  How I Teach Function Notation.  Need to follow up?  Try this maze with Operations on Functions.

4)  Need help with the composition of functions?  Try these two activities:

     A) from Janet Knox:  Composition of Functions Cut and Paste

     B) from Sandy Pinder (Weatherly):  Composition of Functions Worksheet

Hope these help!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Congratulations to the winners of our STEM Teachers of TPT Giveaway!  Kristen and Denise won the product giveaway and Megan won the $10 TPT Gift Card.  You all should be receiving an email from me with your prizes!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Secondary STEM Sellers Back to School Giveaway!

Are you ready for Back to School?  Me neither quite honestly, but time marches on and it must be done :)

So, a group of my favorite Secondary STEM Sellers have gotten together to put together a great giveaway package for you!  Two people will win this fabulous package :) and one lucky person will win a $10 TPT Gift Card!

Here are the sponsors and the products they are giving away:

1)  Teaching High School Math - that's me :)

Sudoku Bulletin Board

2)  Flamingo Math

Functions Lab Stations Activity

3) Joni Kilberg Kessler

Slope End of Unit Task Cards

4) Janet Knox

Graphing Reflections and Shifts of Parent Functions

5) Mrs. E. Teaches Math

Midpoint and Distance Formula Stations

6) Education with Doc Running

Exploring the Art of Fractals

7) Lisa Tilmon

Scientific Notation - I Have Who Has Game

8) The Blakenator

Distance and Midpoint Quiz

9) Gramma Elliott - Educational Tools

Arthropods Magnified by a Scanning Electron Microscope

10) 4 the Love of Math

Intro to Algebra Interactive Notebook Pages

11) Math Giraffe

Coordinate "PLANES"

Would you like to win the products listed above?  Two lucky winners will win the package and one person will win the $10 TPT Gift Card :)

Get chances to win by following each of our TPT Stores.  Enter Below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Using Exit Tickets in Math Class

Using exit tickets in math class has really changed my teaching.  Let me tell you why...

1)  I think the biggest, most important thing that exit tickets have provided me is something worthwhile for the students to do the last 5 minutes of class.  Sometimes my lesson doesn't get me all the way to the bell and having an exit ticket ready to go keeps my class busy all the way until the end of the period.

2)  Using an exit ticket (or quick check as I sometimes like to call them) gives me a really quick way to assess how students are doing on a small slice of material.  I don't know about you, but I usually do not have the time to grade daily homework.  I JUST CANNOT. DO. IT!  But, seeing a small stack of one quick problem to grade for each student is something that I can definitely do in just a few minutes.

It is truly eye opening to get a response from each student.  You really thought that everyone understood everything you were talking about, but when you get the quick check you can see that many students have understood the concept, but others are still struggling.  You know who to work with during the next class period.  Not only that, but you have an idea of what specifically they are struggling with.

3)  Exit tickets keep students engaged and responsible.  If students know that they are going to have to show you what they know at the end of the period, they are less likely to tune out.  You never know when something will be said that is on the end of class assessment.

Do you use exit tickets in your classroom?  I'll be back later this week with some more information about how I use them in my calculus classroom and how I hope to incorporate them into my geometry class this year.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Super Secret Number Puzzles - Calculus Edition (FREEBIE!)

I have developed an activity that can infuse a little excitement into the classroom while students practice valuable skills.

The idea in this activity is that students are given a set of problems (usually between 8 and 10) that help them practice a very specific skill.

Students solve all of the problems that are given.  Then they find the sum of all of their answers (this is the super secret number) and then…(here's the fun part) they check to see if they have correct super secret number by scanning the QR Code that I post in front of the room.  [If you don't have QR capabilities, you can still use this activity - you can just wait until the students are finished and TELL them the Super Secret Number - it's still fun :) ]

I have Super Secret Number activities available for the following Calculus Topics:

1) Chain Rule

2) Equation of Tangent Line

3) Implicit Differentiation

4) Position, Velocity and Acceleration

5) Curve Sketching

6) Natural Logs and Exponential Function Derivatives

7) Riemann Sums and Trapezoidal Rule

But, just for you blog reader, I have a bonus Super Secret Number Puzzle - Finding the Value of a Derivative at a Point!

Download it here:

Derivative at a Point

Are you interested in buying the bundle?  Click Here:

Super Secret Puzzle Calculus Bundle