Friday, February 5, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Feb. 4th, 2016

I am now on the hunt for a laser cutter. There is certainly a lot of buzz around 3D printing but you don't have to get that technically. I don't even think you need a laser cutter. Maybe just a CNC machine. I think many schools have those. And then you can make some of these cool geometric shapes that have so much versatility. So many tessellation possibilities that start from three identical quadrilaterals that come from a triangle.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

I was reminded of Row Games last week for some reason and remembered that we had made a bunch years back. So I thought I would blog about them. The premiss is that you pair kids up and they each get a column of questions. As they do the questions the answers are the same for each row so if they come out equal the kids have done them correctly, if not, it's back to the drawing board. It's self checking in this way and tweaks the idea of practice just enough for it to be a bit more engaging for students. Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM1P
When we can take simple math concepts and turn them into games then we have won. I love this little game that deals with plotting points on an Cartesian plane that was made with Web Sketchpad. It starts with an explanation of the rules. You are trying to find a "treasure" and are given how many segments away you are from it. You put in the coordinates of a guess and given more clues. Hopefully eventually finding the treasure. There is a board with just points in the first quadrant and one with all four quadrants. Have fun.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

Although I don't necessarily agree with the sentiment that "we don't spend enough time on limits" (I always did - I think) in our Calculus & Vectors course, I do love all the beginning of the semester activities that @marybourassa has given to her students. The Desmos one on create graphs was nice and the one on calculating the area of a circle using polygons reminded me of this older Nick Jackiw sketch (from Key Curriculum) on Archimedes method of exhaustion. A fun way to start the semester. 
Curriculum Tags: MCV4U

We have recently been talking a lot about digital manipulatives vs physical ones and we specifically were talking about digital snap cubes. We like the app by Braining Camp (in fact we like their whole suite of manipulatives) but I was lamenting that it could only be used in 2D but I love this idea from @matthewoldridge to use Minecraft to do the same thing but in 3D. Great idea
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

This post from @dsladkey totally resonates with me. I have long thought that graphing is a great way to check algebraic work. Although there are certainly times that I might want students to not use a calculator, more and more I think that there are ways you can ask questions that require students to show their work and only use the calculator for checking purposes. So often when ever I see a student do some algebraic work and ask "is it right?" I answer with "let's make a graph". I especially like to tell students to get a visual proof when they are doing trig identities. They literally could do it every step of the way to see if they have made an algebraic mistake or not. The one quote from this post that I liked the most was 
"No Calculator questions strip the students of their best and most visual resource:  THE GRAPH. What No Calculator questions do is get students to forget that GRAPHING is a GREAT way to solve almost anything.  Don't we want to encourage graphing?  I don't mean graphing by hand either.  I mean a really fast way to analyze a problem.   Are we discouraging graphing because that is too easy?"
Sometimes that is the problem that I think teachers have with this. Almost as if solving a question without a calculator there is a right of passage. Times they are a changin'
Curriculum Tags: All

Sometimes understanding the normal distribution is tough. This video and website might help
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

A great image for dealing with addition (or multiplication) with fractions: How many watermelons were used to make this image?
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8


  1. are watermelons called pumpkins in Canada?


  2. thanks for the heads up on that site. I didn't know about it. I am still waiting for a public version of web sketchpad for myself, though