Georgia has brought in a good bit of probability and stats into the high school math curriculum. Which I LOVE! There is a new movement (well discussion of a movement) to switch the focus of getting students prepared for statistics as opposed to calculus. The reasoning being that most careers need more stats than calculus. For those careers that are more heavy in calculus it is assumed that those students choosing those paths are stronger in mathematics and can master concepts with less instruction time. I see the value in both. Stats is a little more easy to show students how they will use in the world they live in presently. This is why I love teaching the multiplication counting principleit is easy for students to understand and easy to make connections to the real world. After I teach the multiplication counting principle, I have students breakup into groups and create a restaurant to answer the following questions. 1) Name a restaurant you and your group will open 2) Create a menu with at least 2 different food categories 3) Find the total number of combinations available at your restaurant using… a. the Multiplication Principle of Counting b.a tree diagram 4) Write and solve a probability problem pertaining to your eatery This activity also serves as a great refresher of past concepts and reinforcing how each is different but connected at the same time!
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Technology has changed how we all receive information. Learning is no exception. While there are some annoying parts of technologyconstantly having to tell me students to turn off their cellphonesthere are many great teaching strategies to use. YouTube is my favorite source! Why? 1st: If a student is absent I can send them to a YouTube video to watch to learn the lesson (reserve learningwhich I do plan on trying at some point this school year) 2nd: Use it to reteach a lessonthis is especially beneficial to my support students 3rd: Introduce a topic or make a problem more interactive to support a lesson in class How I use YouTube in each of those 3 categories... 1st and 2nd: YayMath is produced by an energetic teacher that has enertaining videos on topics covering Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry. I also encourage students who are gone to watch other videos when they missed a day or do not understand an objective and cannot come in for extra help. For my support students, YouTube provides another way to address an objective in a more exciting way then me writing on the board. It provides a 3rd presenter (1st: Math 3 Teacher, 2nd: Math 3 Support Teacher) on a topic. 3rd: I will use YouTube videos to introduce the Quadratic Formula Song, my Barbie Bungee Project, and the Fibonacci Sequence YouTube is awesome! Just make sure that you watch a video completely before you show it to your students. This source provides a great way to make math a little more interactive and my students enjoy hearing a different voice (and especially when I do not sing for them, they really really appreciate not having to hear me sing!) During November 2010, I went to the Tennessee Independent Schools BiAnnual conference held at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN. I was impressed with Baylor's picturesque campus, campus dormitories (which I did convince a teacher from Baylor to sneak me into onway, way larger than my closet of a room at Tech), and their amazing math department who are incredible innovative. My first post about chalking was from one of the teachers from Baylor. I sat through a presentation on how a 7th grade teacher had her PreAlgebra kiddos create an 3D animal from paper towel rolls, shoe boxes, and similar material and then find the area and volume of their animal. Her Algebra students where jealous so she had them draw animals on graph paper (using all straight lines) and then find the equations of particular lines. This the part that I borrowed! I did this project with my 7th graders in Memphis and then my 9th graders in Atlanta. The class subjects are the same so the material was relevant to both. For both classes I asked them to draw an animal on graph paper using only straight lines. I did not tell them what the purpose was. My 7th graders completed this while having a sub one day and my 9th graders completed this for homework the night after a test (100% completion rate!) I also had them go over their final animal in pen. I then collected them and made a photocopy of them. The students got the original back and their copy. I asked them to decorate the copy and use the original to somehow label the lines they defined on a separate sheet of paper. The final version included the original animal, the decorated animal, and then the equation sheet on a poster board with the rubric on the back. Reflections: 1st: Will do this project again 2nd: Took forever to grade so may consider this a partner project to lessen the grading part 3rd: Will allow more classtime to work on the project 4th: Will use strong student examples from the past in the introduction of this project 5th: May expand theme on animals to something like school spirit
One of my favorite things about teaching is showing my students how what we cover in class is used the real worldother than word problems. While I do not do this as much as I wish I did, I do take personal victories when I am able to! I have found that projects are a great tool for this. While covering ratios/scales in my PreAlgebra class last year, I noticed there where a number of problems centered around architecture. I decided to create a project where my students would create a scale drawing of a house and then create a scale model of the house. For the sanity of my students, their parents, and me, they could only create drawings/models of onestory houses. My students begged and begged to let them create multiple story houses but I knew the model would be a bit too time consuming for a 7th grade math project. (All I could think about was how much time that my friends at Tech that were architecture majors spent in studio and I knew I had to scale this back!) To make sure my students were not completing this in one night, I had 3 checkpoints over a month before the project was due. They were as follows: 1st: Rough Drawing of your house with dimensions 2nd: Scale Drawing of your house with rooms labeled with their purpose (cannot be on graph paper) 3rd: Scale Drawing of your house with dimensions (actual and the scale measurements) I also allowed my students to have 1 workday in class to construct their house. This allowed me to help them and give them pointers on glue and cutting. This also gave me time to redirect those who were WAY off point. This was my first time doing this project and so are some kinks. I ended up making copies of everyone's scale drawings so that they could build the house on that. Changes I would make next time:1) I would limit the size of paper used for scale drawing to 8.5 x 14 in (the bigger the paper, the bigger the house)2) I would set the scale that student's use to 1in to 1ft or 1cm to 1ft The range of what I got was staggering! They did look awfully pretty on my window seal though! I am including pictures of projects that exceeded expectations, meet expectations, and did not meet expectations. Pictures are on my personal computer. I will update from home!
I love the idea of my students having fun in class but I find it hard to develop/find games/activities that are productive to learning or practice. It takes a good bit of trial and error and reflection. For me, I use short games that can be explained, completed, and cleanedup in less than 15 minutes (it may roll into 20 minutes depending on the day.) I really really want to use JEOPARDY games in my class as a review but I have not been able to successfully pull that off where all students learn/practice/benefit from the game. The activity I am attaching (I in no way deserve credit, I found it online) is GREAT! Students are in groups of 3. 1 moderator and 2 players. I will assign whoiswho. I usually have the strongest student out of the 3 be the moderator. I have the moderator come up and get the board, instruction sheet with the answers on the reserve side, two dice (or "number cubes" as we call them in Georgia), and a handful of two sided coins. The beauty of this activity is that I have the moderator read the instructions to their groupI rarely have questions, it is pretty self explanatory. The Game1. Decide who goes first by tossing a die. 2. The first player tosses both dice and locates the corresponding box on the game board. For example, if the player tosses a 3 and a 4, they may go to the 3rd row, 4th column, or the 4th row, 3rd column. 3. The player factors the problem and asks the moderator if he/she is correct. If the solution is correct, the player places his/her marker in that box. If the solution is incorrect, the other player can steal the box by giving the correct solution. 4. If a player tosses the dice and the box indicated is already occupied, the player rolls the dice again. 5. The winner is the player who has four of his/her game markers in a row(row, column, or diagonal).Materials NeededGame Board (I laminated my)Instruction Sheet with copy of answers on the back for moderator Two diceChips of two different colors (Georgia gave all high school teachers a box full of goodies)I also reserved this and made the answer sheet the game board and the game board the answer sheet to have my students play a game when we learned to multiply binomials with FOIL (I know some people dislike FOIL).If one group finished quickly, I will have them switch moderators and play again!Hope your students enjoy it as much as mine did!
During a session at the Tennessee Independent School Association conference last fall in Chattanooga, TN I was introduced to the idea of 'chalking.' Teachers at Baylor School said that whenever a pretty day came up you could expect to see math problems worked out around the school's campus in chalk. I knew my girls at Hutchison would love this! So this past spring when the weather was nice we would go outside and chalk. I divided the class into groups of 24 and gave each group a different problem and 1 piece of chalk (to cut down on nonrelated ground decorating.) The girls LOVED it!!! I found it helpful to do the problems that got the most 'ughs' with chalk. The joy of being outdoors and writing with chalk got rid of those. For my PreAlgebra 2 students we did triangles and my Algebra kids did DRT problems. The beauty with chalk is that when it rains, its gone! No cleanup. The girls did a great at staying on task and following directions. I also enjoyed the change in scenery and the extra Vitamin D. ___ 
Natalie Turbiville
Educator who loves math and working with students. Archives
May 2016
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