Friday, June 27, 2014

Math Links for Week Ending June 27th, 2014

Hey, I have started a new blog with my teaching parter. This blog (the one your lookin at right now) will continue to come once a week but my new blog is a place for us to store all the activities we have developed over the last couple of years. We went a bit crazy this week and created 4 posts. Each one has a brief description of the activity, curriculum links, procedure, sample work (where possible) and the file downloads.
The first few posts have topics like converting from one form to the others (equation, tabular, graphical and story) with linear equations, using fractions to create a group structure, simplifying polynomials with algebra tiles and playing the game "Heads Up" to consolidate properties of quadrilaterals. All with full downloads. Hopefully over the summer we will continue to add our activities. Take a look
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P

I think this would be a great problem dealing with rates. That is, if you know how much energy it takes to hit a key on a keyboard (1.5 mJ/keystroke) then how about if you type an essay, or write a book. At What if they asked that question and determined what kind of energy output typing out a whole book would be (and more). But don't let them do the work, have your kids do the same work on their own.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MFM1P

I like when it is possible to take the abstract and make it visible. So it is with this recent post from Timon Piccini. We have all certainly talked about the "balance method" for solving equations and maybe even played with some virtual balance apps (here, here and here). But in this case the method is to use actual scales. He does talk about some of the difficulties and limitations (and is looking for input on how to fix them) but gives all the handouts, video files and power points. Take a look at the video below which asks how many pennies does x equal if you get some evidence when you split x up evenly in to four different cups (I think the stack of pennies is 10)
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MFM2P

Though not truly an article, I felt this post belonged int his section. Its a few years old but I just came across it. It about the idea that basically school is boring. And before you blame the Internet, think back to when you were in school, it was probably just as boring. The thing is that we now have the technology and the means to actually have school not be boring. So why not take advantage of those opportunities. I love the quotes from the students. Some might give you pause.
Curriculum Tags: All

Did you know that there is a mathematical way to choose a port-a-john. Of course there is and Numberphile is gonna tell us how. The thing I like about this is it really exemplifies the idea of trying a simpler version of a problem to develop an answer for the more complex problem. Some goodcombinatorics in this one.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

One of the new features of Google+ is that when you upload your photos you can do something called "AutoAwesome" them. That is, you can apply various effects that will enhance your image(s). One of the choices will compile similar images into one animated image. So this meteorologist, Tom Brice, made a bunch of graphs about the frequency of tornadoes agains their location then AutoAwesomed them to get images like the one below. Click here for his original Google+ page. Either way, its some cool data.
Curriculum Tags: MBF3C, MDM4U

Friday, June 20, 2014

Math Links for Week Ending June 20th, 2014

"Part of the joy of the Booster Maxxx is knowing that every few weeks, a bunch of underpaid Eastern-European carnies take it apart and put it back together again in another city, significantly increasing the chances of a catastrophic accident."
And so starts a series of calculations to figure out where you would land if this amusement park ride failed and launched you instead. Although a bit morbid, this series of calculations would be well suited for any class talking about parabolic/projectile motion. I like the use of Google Maps and streetview to enhance the solution.
Curriculum Tags: MPM2D, MFM2P, MCR3U, MCF3M, MBF3C

I really like this post about using an area model for dealing with quadratic equations. I have been an advocate for that for years but I had never seen this kind of treatment. Using the snap cubes to represent each term for various values of x is neat. And I love the different visual representations of each stage. Check it out.
Curriculum Tags: MPM2D, MFM2P

This dynamic sketch from the folks at Sketchpad is an interesting way to attack the problem of dynamic software. That is, if you have a dynamic sketch that shows the sum of the angles in a triangle always equal 180o then what might happen is that the dynamic nature may be too quick for students to grasp the very thing you want them to. So they have modified the sketch with virtual protractors so that kids actually have to make the measurements of the angles.
Curriculum Tags: Gr8, MFM1P, MPM1D

Here is another connections to math in the movies. This one is dealing with the idea of error calculations and the movie Divergent.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

I wasn't sure about this one at first but then I realized that we do have to try to reach every student and for those who are artistically inclined, this can be a way to get them engaged in the math you are doing. thanks to Peter Wright for this one
Curriculum Tags: All

This article focuses on a book called How not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. I like the reference to the Stock Broker's fallacy problem too. Thanks to Michele Cooper for this one.
Curriculum Tags: All

Although, technically, I think the methods this kid uses are outside of our grade 12 calculus course, it is still interesting. From a scientific perspective, I liked how meticulous he was in taking his measurements.
Curriculum Tags: MCV4U

I have seen a few different versions of this shirt but I think this one is the one that is most mathematically correct. Thanks to Michele Cooper for this one.
Curriculum Tags: MCR3U, MHF4U

At 538 they literally post tonnes of stuff every day. So you are bound to find something you will like relating to data. This week it is data about PBS Artist Bob Ross. You may know him as the guy who teaches you how to paint landscapes. Well they have the data on all the elements that he has included in his paintings and here they are
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

Friday, June 13, 2014

Math Links for Week Ending June 13th, 2014

Speed dating and Row games are two really nice activities to promote kids doing questions and then self checking whether they are correct or not. I first learned about these from @k8nowak on her Function of Time blog a few years ago. I was recently reminded of them when @thescamdog tweeted that they have a little video introduction to these on their provincial math site in Alberta. Speed dating has students become experts in the solution for one question each. They are then paired sitting across from each other and switch question. Once that question is solved then they shift one position and switch with another student. Row games has students paired with a worksheet where there are two columns of questions and each student does the question in one column. The beauty of the worksheet is that the answer for each question in any particular row is the same so that if the students get different answers they know that one or both of them has made a mistake. Thus it's self checking.
Curriculum Tags: All

How about some data on the lyrics that boy bands of the 90's used the most. Yep, there's data on that. Hey, data is data. This could easily be used for central tendancy, bar graphs, or even box plots.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

I like collecting real data in classes, and so I was thrilled with a reason to do so. That is, the mystery of why there are different weights of regular M&Ms vs Peanut Butter M&Ms per bag. The actual reason is a bit of a mystery and you can listen about that mystery with the Planet Money podcast here . But collecting data about how many M&Ms are in each pack (or how much each pack weighs in reality) is a good way to talk about measures of central tendency, dot plots, and standard deviation.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

Though this is a couple of years old, I just came across it today. Math Goes to the Movies is a book that connects scenes in movies to teaching specific math concepts. Having done presentations on this sort of thing at OAME, I am interested to see what they have found that I haven't
Curriculum Tags:All

Math anxiety is real. We have all seen kids who suffer from it. Here are some ways to combat this problem.
Curriculum Tags: All

Mixing dance and math to entice girls in an after school program.
Curriculum Tags: All

One of Keith Devlin's more recent books was Leonardo & Steve about, you guessed it, Fibonacci and Jobs. It comes in ebook only form but if you want to get the gyst of what's in the book you might look at this two part talk on the same subject.
Curriculum Tags: All

I like this math "takedown" of this motivational poster. It leads to a nice problem about comparing the volume of cylinders, spheres and cubes. Could be used in grade 9 math measurement or in grade 8 if you leave out the sphere.
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM1P, Gr8

Might as well have a graph about the World Cup. This is coming from the 538 blog where they predict the winner of the soccer tournament. And as they point out, you don't need a computer model to predict that Brazil is the heavy favourite (even after their controversial win over Croatia). Either way they go through the reasoning behind their prediciton
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

538 keeps hitting with the data that has so much bearing on world events. Which is the blingiest NBA playoff matchup? That is which pair of teams has the most rings.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

Friday, June 6, 2014

Math Links for Week Ending June 6th, 2014

Here is a nice panel talk (if you have 90 min to kill) on modelling in math with Steven Strogatz (among others). Its a video but there actually isn't much to see. So you could probably just set it playing while you do other work.
Curriculum Tags: All

Someone has posted all the videos from Joe Boaler's How to Learn Math course. This is an online course that is meant for parents and teachers (apparently there is a separate course for students). Here is the whole playlist.
Curriculum Tags: All

It being NHL playoff time Yummy Math has a data set about the longest overtime games. In the regular season, games can end in a tie but in the payoffs the game must be won or lost so the overtimes just keep coming. Its a small data set of the games with the largest number of over time minutes. A nice little data set that you could use for percentages,single variable dot plots, box & whisker plots, average or standard deviation.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

And another one from Yummy Math. This time on movie opening weekends. This data set gives the opening weekend gross for blockbuster movies and couples that with the overall gross. It leaves out the overall gross for the new Godzilla movie (since it doesn't exist). This means this data set would be good for interpolation/extrapolation with scatter plots. They get the data from a great website that I have been using for years, Box Office Mojo. So many different metrics about movies that you can use for any class dealing with data.
Curriculum Tags: MAP4C, MDM4U

A three act math task from Kyle over at the Tap Into Teen Minds site. This time with composite area. Because it's dealing with circles that means it's for grade 9 classes only. I hope you like cookies. Check out the first act below and go to the website for the rest.
Curriculum Tags: MFM1P, MPM1D

I am a big fan of performance tasks for summative assessments. So it's no surprise that I like this one from Alex at Slam Dunk Math. There are a lot of things I like about this one. First it's done board wide so across many schools. Secondly it takes several days and the students co construct the information needed for the task. And thirdly there are a lot of ways for students to participate and be involved. I like how Alex has given detailed instructions and info about how things went. I am going to suggest that Alex post the image files associated with each sheet so that if there are any of us who want to use them it will save us time. Thanks to @MaryBourassa for this one. She did it in her class and has a detailed series of posts about how each day went (day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4).
Curriculum Tags: MPM2P

Here's another one from Alex, this time featuring the cup stacking challenge. I like this for two reasons. One it can be used really easily to visually show the idea of initial value (if you stack them inside each other and keep them linear) and two, I love his pictures of the various cup configurations.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MFM1P, MPM1D, MFM2P

When I was at OAME a few weeks ago, I sat in on a session about math tools in the intermediate classroom and learned about the concept of a "field of zeros" when using algebra tiles. So I made this video on how to multiply with them.
Curriculum Tags: Gr8, MFM1P

I just found out that someone else I know has done a TEDx talk. Take look at Amy Lin talk about what it means to think "math-ishly" and then check out her blog:
Curriculum Tags: All

Can you trademark the Pi symbol? Apparently an artist has tried to do just that (with an added period after it). Then tried to send cease and desist orders to online sites that sold Pi t-shirts. Me thinks the whole thing is performance art though. More info here. Thanks to Mark Esping for this one
Curriculum Tags: All

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the Spurious Correlations blog which shows graphs and data of unrelated things that are correlated with each other. I recently found out that these data sets are all found by software that mines the Internet to find unrelated data sets that can be correlated. So that being said, I think I am going to be posting interesting ones as I see them. Here's one that correlates Nicholas Cage films and number of people drowned by falling into a swimming pool.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

This is kind of a neat idea. Make your own math buttons and then sell them on Zazzle. These ones are all to do with calculus. Reminds me a bit of the Big Bang Theory when they made Penny Blossoms (which you can't buy here)
Curriculum Tags: MCV4U
Do you need some data that might pique the interest of your students? Who knew there was a punch in the face emoji?
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8