Friday, September 12, 2014

Math Links for Week Ending Sept 12, 2014

I think it is interesting to let students in on the history of mathematics. And as it turns out we have Marcus de Sautoy to help us out. Here is a nice article from the latest magazine for IB teachers (turn to page 11). He also has a four part documentary called the The Story of Maths which you can view here (the first episode is below). He also has a 10 part BBC radio series called A Brief History of Mathematics an can be listened to and downloaded here. And if you find by now that you are into de Sautoy then you might like his TED talk on symmetry. Thanks to Steve Chevalier for reminding me of these.
Curriculum Tags: All

Making the Internet rounds recently is Randall Munroe, creator of XKCD. He is hocking his new book which is an expansion of this blog What if?. Here you can read an interview with him on the 538 blog and he was also on Science Friday recently too. Listen here. He was apparently also on the Colbert Report as well (Canada at 15:00, US). And I had mentioned this before but he has a TED talk as well. Thanks to Mark Esping for the last two.
Curriculum Tags: All

I came up with this activity a few years ago to do with my data management kids. It's an open sort for types of single variable data. Even though I made it for grade 12 data management, it could easily be used for grade 11 college or even all the way down to grade 7 where they have to talk about different types of data (eg categorical vs numerical). Digital files are here to so it's ready to go as is.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U

It's always great when teachers blog out there and do the heavy lifting for us. That being said, I like this activity, Transformation Telephone. If you may recall from childhood, the game telephone was played when one person whispered something into the ear of another, then they passed it on to someone else and so on until it comes back and you see how the thing has changed over all the retellings. That being said, at the Slightly Skewed blog they have developed this idea for transformations. The idea is that students are in groups of four and each are given a function to graph. They then pass their graphs to the right and the teacher gives them a transformation that they have to apply. The students graph the new function and then pass the graph again. Then a new transformation is given and graph and passed one more time to be transformed again. The reason I like this is that it is a self checking activity. That is, if the students have done it correctly, then after the last transformation the new graph will be the same as the original (I have done the first here in Desmos if you don't believe me). So the reason I say they have done the heavy lifting is that they have come up with several sets of transformations that all come back to the original function. The way it is set up, it could be used in grade 11 U or UC since they use function notation with parabolas but with a little tweak you might be able to adapt it for grade 10 as well (for example if all the transformations give were just described verbally (eg "translated to the right by 3"). Thanks to Dan Meyer for this one.
Curriculum Tags: MPM2D, MFM2P, MCR3U, MCF3M

It's always good to have real examples of things to explain concepts to students. In this story from the Story Collider (storys of science and math), a woman tells of how cognitive bias lead her boyfriend to jail. The story doesn't seem to be related to that at all as you are listening but it comes around at the end. Caution: there is one use of the f-word. Listen below
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

I don't think anyone would argue that if you contextualize math for students, they will have a greater chance of internalizing those topics. The tough part is doing that authentically. Just making a question about a cell phone won't do it. None the less this article talks about doing just that to make algebra more accessible. 
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This article is a year old but its message is still spot on. It deals with all of the stereotypes that go along with math. From the idea that it has to be hard, or to be considered good at math you have to be fast. Read on to determine if you are reinforcing any of these in your classes. Thanks also to Michele Cooper for reminding me of this video this week that, I think, goes along quite well with the article.
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