Week 25 and 26

I started systems of equations with graphing because it's the hardest, most useless, and the one I wanted to teach least. I did a bad job on it and they didn't really even understand the concept of 0 or infinite solutions. And when they tried graphing on their own, it went horribly. They suck at graphing. Everyone always got different answers. Here are two of the worksheets I used.

From there we went on to solving systems by substitution. I think this is the easiest method but the students struggled with it more than I expected. They were fine is y = 5 or x = -3 but when it got to y = x + 2 they panicked and made it harder than necessary. And oh lord when we got to x - y = 6 they were clueless. I always had to remind them to get x or y alone. They could do it when they heard that, but they always stared cluelessly when they first saw the problem.

From there, we went to elimination (I stole this ppt). They liked this much better and tried to use it on every problem by default. I don't think we ever got to the point where they could look at a problem and pick which method would work best. Here is a trashketball review game that I stole and modified and here is a quiz.


Vote for Funding

About five months ago, I blogged about The Teacher Salary Project.

Now they are entered into the Pepsi-sponsored Refresh Everything competition to gain funding for their documentary film. Pepsi is giving away $1,300,000 each month to fund great ideas. The project went from being rated #202 to #32 and they need help getting in the top 10 as they are in the running for $50,000.

The Teacher Salary Project's mission statement is to 'change the way society values our effective teachers.'

Here are the goals they hope to accomplish with their project:

  • Inspire the public at large to take action
  • Create a national town hall event for spring 2011
  • Collect the largest digital archive of teaching stories
  • Create a feature-length documentary film
  • Engage every American in changing how we value effective teachers

Here's how to do it:

1. Go to http://www.refresheverything.com and click the “Join Refresh Everything” link in the bottom left-hand corner. If you’ve already registered, (thank you!) click “Sign In.”

2. Then paste this web address in your browser: http://www.refresheverything.com/theteachersalaryproject. It will take you directly to vote for our project. Click the “Vote for this idea” button.

3. Click on the "Vote for this idea" button again to make sure your vote is counted. If you have troubles, please respond to this email and let us know!

4. Continue voting daily in the month of February.


Teacher Love

Teachers are patient and kind.

Teachers are not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

Teachers do not demand their own way.

Teachers are not irritable, and they keep no record of being wronged.

Teachers do not rejoice about injustice but they rejoice whenever the truth wins out.

Teachers never give up, never lose faith, are always hopeful, and endure through every circumstance.

Adapted from 1 Corinthians 13.4-7 NCV


Week 23 and 24

We're finishing up our unit on linear equations and ended it with scatter plots and the line of best fit. For some reason, I enjoyed this topic and we did several interesting activities involving them.I did this age of famous people activity suggested on Twitter by @Fouss but I redid it myself which I tend to always do. It worked pretty well and each student had different types of correlation which was helpful. We also did this spaghetti linear lab which I stole from http://www.ilovemath.org. It was interesting and I really liked it, but you need tons of pennies! One piece of spaghetti will hold up to 50-60 pennies and the experiment tests out 5 pieces of spaghetti. I liked this lab but the rate of change definitely was not constant. Some students' data caused the slope to be 0 which created some interesting results.

We then did my modified version of Dan Meyer's hot vs. crazy. Dan was brave enough to use himself but I don't date and most of my students know me personally enough that I just didn't even go there. So I had them pick people to judge for themselves. I could say that I was trying to promote ownership of the data but I was really just trying to promote them out of my business.

We wrapped it up with this powerpoint on correlation vs. causation which I owe all to @smallesttwine.She gave me some great, random ideas to use for examples. Some of my classes had a hard time deciding how to make up a scatter plot without any data. By the end, we were discussing more than graphing, but that was okay with me, and naturally lent itself to this worksheet I stole from a Google search but can no longer find the original link to. I thought about giving a quiz but decided I had already assessed the heck out of scatter plots.

Up this week we'll be starting solving systems of equations. Any ideas?

In the geometry world, I was lucky enough to find a great wiki from @tperran which has been extremely helpful. We started a new unit on polygons and I have easily adapted his powerpoints to fit my class better. They are more creative in the practice and examples given than I have been, and I appreciate that. Here are my adaptations on polygons, parallelograms, rectangles, rhombus, and trapezoids.

Up this week we'll be talking about kites and perhaps building our own rhombicosidodecahedrons.

The End.