## It’s Been a While…Geometry

Posted: September 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today while teaching Geometry, I remembered why I was so intimidated by it when I taught it years ago – I hate all the writing involved with theorems, proofs, and postulates. However, now that I have a Mimio and visual projector in my classroom, I’m ready for another shot. After a quick search, I learned that the book has online resources, but no power points. After searching some more, I came across a power point presentation for each of the 12 chapters of the book. All I have to say, is thank you Robert Fant for publishing your work. By not having to spend hours of planning period time working out each chapter, you are saving me lots of time and trouble.

## First Week of School

Posted: September 5, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Since it’s the night before week #2, I figured it might be a good idea to provide a wrap up of the two main things that presented trouble within my classes:

• Don’t assume that all Generation Z students know how to use computers. While setting up my classes on Edmodo, I was shocked to discover that some of my students didn’t know how to access a webpage. I know they teach this stuff in the elementary and middle schools…where have these kids been?
• If you decide to create a fake Facebook wall, either assign it for homework or use the template version. I thought it would be fun to decorate the classroom with fake Facebook walls of famous mathematicians. To prepare, I spent some time and I made my own fake wall using MyFakeWall. When I took my students to the computer lab, I soon discovered that with all my students on this one site, it slowed the process of making a wall down to a snail’s pace, and nobody was able to do much. I then I told them they could make a page using Fakebook. After using this site for a bit, I realized that it tended to freeze and, unless, they had saved their work, wipe out their previously accomplished work. I also discovered that if they try to save their file, they must complete one part from each section of their wall, otherwise, it won’t save it. This meant that they should not work immediately on one section of their wall, but instead they should lay the groundwork for each section and then go back to add things later.

## Thursdays is Your Day

Posted: July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Thur & Your: Yeah, they kind of rhyme right?

The goal for Thursday’s classes will be for students to use their creativity and math skills to produce math problems when given a specific value. Recently, while reading Math Mama’s blog, I came across a post from the Republic of Math. In this post Gary talks about giving a Jeopardy style question and having the recipient give you the answer that it belongs to. For example:

One question that has $\frac{\pi^2}{6}$ as an answer was posed byPietro Mengoli in 1644:

“What is the value of $1+\frac{1}{2^2}+\frac{1}{3^2}+\frac{1}{4^2}+\ldots$?”

This became known as the Basel Problem, andLeonhard Euler solved it and announced his solution in 1735 when he as 28 years old.

Euler showed – at first not entirely rigorously – that

$1+\frac{1}{2^2}+\frac{1}{3^2}+\frac{1}{4^2}+\ldots =\frac{\pi^2}{6}$

I realize that this type of problem is quite complex, especially for high school algebra students. Therefore, it will be important to start slow and build up to more complex numbers. While the first week might just be the number 13 and the next week might be 29. Maybe then the third week can consist of a number with pi attached to it. It will be important to see where my students are at and how well they are doing.

To mix things up once in a while, I plan on throwing in a few problems that require them to use certain numbers to create math equations. This will require a different mindset, because now they have to take into account the fact that there might be an equal sign involved. My goal is for these problems to be similar to those found at the site Road Sign Math.

Hopefully the students will enjoy this activity and submit their own road signs to the website and/or to the class.

## Extreme Couponing

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Math, Real Life Math, Uncategorized
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So, this weekend as we were channel surfing, my wife came across the show Extreme Couponing on the TLC channel. We were watching it and we were amazed with how this could be done. We began to wonder how this is possible and in the process we asked ourselves some questions regarding this type of shopping. For example, who actually needs 100 boxes of cake mix? Do you really need everything you buy? At what point do you donate the food to the needy? Are you needy if you shop like this? What kind of a tax credit can you get from donating that much food? Why don’t homeless shelters hire people to do this for them? Are they afraid that if they go shopping for a shelter, that they will run into trouble when they go shopping twice at the same store, even though it is for two different “households”?

Some of these questions were answered with other questions, but fortunately, this posts isn’t about these questions. Instead, I’d like to look at the possibilities of using this in the classroom. So, today I did a little research as I was interested in how one works through this process of extreme couponing. I came across a site that explains the whole concept and it provided a great starting point. But then, I remembered seeing a lady a Walmart that worked in our school district that was partaking in extreme couponing, and she had her laptop computer. She briefly showed us a glimpse of her couponing spreadsheet that she uses to keep track of everything. With this in mind, I next began to search for an excel document that I could use to help understand this method of shopping a little bit better. After a bit of searching I came across this site that offers an excellent spreadsheet.

With summer vacation almost upon me, my goal this summer is to research and attempt, at least one, shopping trip that uses couponing. My goal is to understand it, and if it entails a great deal of mathematics, to implement it into my classroom. For now, it’s a goal, so stay tuned for future updates…