Friday, September 30, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept 29th, 2016

If you like the idea of letting students notice and wonder then you will probably like this site from @jennifuhs4. I know I liked it as soon as I saw the tag line "Always Question the Man". What you will find is a bunch of scenarios where students are given an image and asked what they wonder and then a related image to have them question what they see. Most of them deal with the idea of being a smart consumer but there will be some data management and proportional reasoning in there as well.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P

You know I often dismiss Pentominoes but in this post @MrOrr_Geek has an awesome activity that starts out with kids solving "puzzles" and then works it's way to solving equations. He provides activities that start with hands on paper and pencil and then moves to an Explain Everything file and Desmos activity. Even if you don't have the technology, you could still do most of this with paper and pencil and some photocopies of some hundreds charts. I think when you are having your students solve equations, in the beginning, you want to give them a reason to want to solve the equations. This activity, I think, does a good job in getting them there.
Curriculum Tags: Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P

I really think @ddmeyer is just showing off. That is, he keeps posting these Desmos activities that have these features that only the Desmos staff can use. Well, here's the latest one. It's an #OpenMiddle task for solving equations. It's relatively simple and you could actually do it with paper and pencil but the self checking features would make this work relatively nicely by using this Desmos version. The basic premiss that students choose four numbers and then those numbers are used to generate an equation they have to solve. The challenge then becomes to generate an equation that has a solution that is closest to zero.
Curriculum Tags: Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MFM2P

I was in a session this week about the Ontario Renewed Math Strategy and part of it was a presentation from Assistant Deputy Minister @CathyMontreuil. I loved that she paraphrased this quote from Seymour Papert about how students don't shy away from challenge but that we often are too boring for them in school so they are not interested in the challenge but that video game manufacturers have figured out the right formula. He is not with us anymore but for more on what he thinks abour technology, see his website
Curriculum Tags: All

The EQAO marks for the province came out last week and the big news is the drop in scores for grade 6 students. Despite the fact that many of the media stories get the data wrong (they often say that 50% of students are failing - it's actually 50% of students that are reaching provincial standard - essentially a mark of 70%), there were some boards that did well. Here @MarkChubb3 breaks down how his board did it. It's a good read. Spoiler alert, it takes time.
Curriculum Tags:All

How fast can you clap? Watch the first act video that @mathletepearce modified from @nathankraft1 original (he blacked out the clap count at first). Have some contests in your own class and talk about proportional reasoning at the same time.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MAT1L, MAT2L, MPM1D, MFM1P, MFM2P

I always like these images from @JessicaHagy on her Indexed blog. I always think they can be used to help students understand the nature of plotting points on graphs by asking them where people with certain characteristics will be on the graph or why the shape of the graphs fit the descriptions. Here's a couple that you could use either when talking about linear relationships or quadratic ones.
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM1P, MFM2P

Friday, September 23, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept 23, 2016

It took me a while to finally put this post together but I finished it this week. I played Pokemon Go all summer with my kids and, as it turns out, there is a lot of data that can be pulled out to use in class. From single variable to scatter plots. In this post I let you know where the data is and how you can mine it with your kids. There are some sample sets already if you want where you can get started and Google forms to help you collect your own.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MAP4C, MDM4U
A couple of support posts from the Desmos team. First a guide to creating Desmos activities. But it's not the kind of guide you might be used to. When you hear "guide" you might think that this is a technical "how to" but it actually is a pedagogical how to. They give tips on how to make your activities good for students. Totally worth a read. Secondly, they continue tweak and add features to activity builder. New is their Classroom Conversion Toolkit. The anonymizer feature has been around but now there is a tool to adjust the pace of the class so kids can't go too fast as well as a tool to pause the entire class. Man, if you are not using Desmos, what is holding you up?
Curriculum Tags: All

We may have all played Two Truths and a Lie so why not apply it to just about any topic in math class. In this case @mathequalslove does so for significant figures. This is really good for just about any topic that is basic and boring but we need kids to practice. 
Curriculum Tags: All

I love this post from @mathycathy. She starts with an example of a "teaching video" where the topic is zero exponents and all they basically do is tell students the rule and call it "magic". She is rightfully upset but exacts her revenge the MTBoS way by creating a simple Desmos activity that allows students to discover the properties of the zero exponent and finishes with a card sort.
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM2P

A few weeks ago I mentioned that @robertkaplinski started a movement using the hashtag #ObserveMe. Now he is offering some troubleshooting tips for when it doesn't go as you had planned.
Curriculum Tags: All

I love this term "mathematical zombies". The idea is summed up best with this quote:
"Students who can reproduce all the steps of a problem while failing to evidence any understanding of why or how their procedures work."
Dan goes on to use the calculation of z-scores to follow through with an example of an extreme case. But the point is that it is pretty easy to have kids do mechanical calculations but if we don't want to create these zombies, we need to do something much different from what many of us received as students.
Curriculum Tags: All

Call it performance art if you will but the cool thing here is that they are going to create a massive image from pixels coloured by hand using the idea that each pixel uses different intensities of red, blue and green. For one you certainly could do a lesson on how these three colours mix to make all others but you could also use it to connect to percentages.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

Here is the new and old version of the "how popular is your birthday" visualization. Regardless of the one you use, it does give you a false impression that some birthdays are way more popular than others. Regardless of which you like, here you can get the data collected and an interactive graph.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

Some nice examples of transformations from @mrhonner
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

Friday, September 16, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept. 16th, 2016

I never fail to point out when teachers create and share their stuff, especially when it is clear that it has taken a bit of time or take some skill. For many, creating Explain Everything files can be a chore but when you have people like @MrOrr_Geek, those who might not have the time to create these have a friend in him. In this case, its some resources on some review materials for percent for grade 11 MEL students. There are a couple of files (both dealing with percent). One is a nice re introduction to the notion of percents called Percent Pile Up and the other is a practice file called Random Winner. Of course even though he used it for grade 11 as a review, it would be appropriate all the way down to grade 7.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MAT1L, MAT2L, MEL3E, MEL4E

One of the nice things about this list that @MathyCathy is sharing of Desmos activities is that it kind of does a better job of the current Desmos search engine. Her list of some of her favourite activities including this nice integer card sort is great. Add the fact that there is a nice rubric for students creating Explain Everything recordings and you've got a nice set of resources here.
Curriculum Tags: All

There is a lot of talk in the educational community about Math Talks. A lot of time we hear about this stuff for elementary but this post from @dsladkey does a great job in telling us how to apply this concept to secondary school. So look at this post for ideas for 10 days of Number Talks for Secondary.
Curriculum Tags: All

I was reminded of this earlier this week but it never gets old. The classic "Verizon Math Fail"
Curriculum Tags: All

Not a video but audio on this NPR story on the problems with big data
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U

Here's a fun little explanation of how logarithms are useful in a series of @BenOrlin Math with Bad Drawings. Click on the link for all the images.
Curriculum Tags: MHF4U

Of course there is a never ending stream of these on Facebook. I think this is a nice one for patterns but check out the good (and bad) math in the comments
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P

It's funny because it's true
Curriculum Tags: All

Friday, September 9, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept. 9, 2016

Well it's that time of year. Yes, yes, the start of a new school year but what I am referring to is when the Provincial EQAO results go public and then it happens: The public goes a little nutty with "we need to get back to basics" posts and articles. This is as if we don't teach "basics" anymore or that somehow that teaching the "basics" is all that is needed to be done to fix all of our math problems. I'm not gonna post all the articles I saw but I think I liked this one the best. It seemed to give some nice examples of why we try to do the things we do.
Curriculum Tags: All

 The first of a couple "first day/week" posts. The thing that caught my eye right away was the title on this post from @DaveLanovas: "Can't we just take notes?". Sure he talks about all the neat stuff that he did this week (be sure to check that out) but the sentiment that students feel the game has always been: Teacher tells us stuff, we copy it down and then repeat it back runs up against all we know about engaging students in a rich curriculum where they experience struggle as part of the design. We still have a long way to go.
Curriculum Tags: All

We are lucky that so many teachers are willing to share their stories. And I especially like when a teacher tries to give the full story. Here @MrOrr_Geek starts off with a "First Day" post talking about all his classes but focussing on his MEL3E class. He then proceeds to do a post a day the rest of the week with all of his Essential Math antics. In this time of the "Renewed Math Strategy" here in Ontario, the focus in secondary math is supposed to be grade 9 applied. But who are we kidding, for so many schools and school boards that has been the focus in years. So it is great to see someone focussing on a course that often is given to teachers as an afterthought. This is a course that needs some tender lovin' care. If you are interesed in the overview/day by day check this link out. One thing I like about this post is that he basically does the same activities with his MHF4U class and his MEL3E class.
Curriculum Tags: MEL3E, MHF4U

Of course people had opinions about the calls for "back to the basics". I liked this one from @msbjacobs. 
Curriculum Tags: All

I totally forgot to post this a couple of weeks ago when the news broke but after a several year hiatus, the Canadian Census was back and we had a 98..4% response rate, the highest ever. Way to go Canada. This is surely a great thing to add to any discussion of the census and surveys.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U, MAP4C

This is old but I was reminded of it earlier this week. If you are looking for something to connect quadratics to gravity then you might ask "Can you survive a jump from a building?". The original post was about the analysis of the fall using a neat and free piece of video analysis software called Tracker (you can read my blog post about Tracker here). It's pretty involved but really shows how you can analyze the real world with the right app.
Curriculum Tags: MCR3U, MBF3C, MCF3M

Via @DataIsBeautiful here is a graph about the average weight of NFL rookies by position that you could use to ask inquiry questions
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MAP4C, MDM4U

Friday, September 2, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept. 2nd, 2016

Chance News is a wiki that takes statistics in the news and analyzes it for mistakes and interest. There is a semi regular newsletter that comes out. In it there is a section called Forsooth where they showed statistical issues presented by the media. This link is a summary of the best ones since 2005. There is a literal pile here from subjects like percent, probability, stats and more. Perfect to bring up in any class. It's not very visual but each example has a link to the original post which usually has more information.
"I realize I don't have a chance, but nobody's got a chance. So the way I look at it, I have a 50-50 chance -- either I win it or someone else wins it,’ reasoned Barrie Green, 60, after buying a single ticket Monday afternoon …."
If you are interested in the actual newsletter, you can click here to subscribe.
Curriculum Tags: All

An introductory sampling activity you could use to start to get the idea about how sampling works with a data set. There are handouts, ppts, and instructions all here.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

Via @rmbyrne at Free Technology for Teachers, here's a post on Two Graphing Tools for Google Docs. Even though you can use an equation editor by default, these tools allow you to do CAS and graphing right in your docs.
Curriculum Tags: All

The Math Myth - That is, the idea that all this stuff we teach our students is important. The idea from this professor is that it's not. As he points out, most engineers and actuaries that he knows don't use anything more than Excel and grade 8 math. So why do we do it all. I don't necessarily agree with his last argument but for the most part that actual "stuff" of what we teach isn't too important.
Curriculum Tags: All

A couple here on the idea of Average that are related to each other (they share bits of the story). The first is a great story from the @99piorg podcast. It starts out as a history of the origins of average. Then it goes into how the notion of average helped the military but then how it was later abandoned and along the way the remnants of both of these things show up in everyday life. Click on the link below to listen. The other is a TED talk on the myth of what average is
Curriculum Tags: All

I will continue to keep adding Pokemon Go related posts as often as they come in (I think I have had at least one each week since it came out). So why stop now. How about some data on how the popularity has dropped since it peaked weeks ago? It's not super exciting but it might be topical enough for kids to be interested in analyzing. Check out all the graphs at the link below.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MDM4U, MAP4C