Sunday, April 30, 2017

AP Saturday - An All School Workshop

I had been thinking all winter about how to entice my AP Calculus students to come in on a {gasp} Saturday or Sunday to review with me.  I know they are all busy...they are in many activities and have many other AP classes to study for.

So, I brainstormed with the other AP teachers at my school, and we came up with the idea of AP Saturday.  Here's the general idea:

We started the day off in our Leadership Center with a general pep talk to all of the students.

After the pep talk, students were dismissed to attend half hour sessions of their own choosing.  Each teacher that was present divided the two and a half time period into 5 specific sessions.  Students were given a schedule that listed what each teacher was planning for each half hour session.  (For example - from 9:30 - 10:00 my students and I worked on reviewing area and volume - from 10:00 to 10:30 we reviewed separable differential equations and so on.)  Publishing ahead of time what we each planned on talking about allowed students to pick and choose what they felt they needed to attend.

I bribed gave my students 2 points extra credit for each session they attended.  Some students came, some didn't, but I believe this offered students the opportunity to review and ask questions in a relaxed environment.

Involving other AP Teachers in the school got more people involved and enticed more students to come and study :)

We ended the day by having pizza together in the cafeteria.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Pi Day Activities for Secondary Math


Who doesn't love a chance to celebrate in the math classroom?

Here are links to a bunch of activities that could be used in your Secondary Math Classroom.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Catalog of Desmos Activities For High School Math

This is a post where I will keep a catalog of activities I have created to use with Desmos.  There is a link up at the bottom of the post where you can get a direct link to the activity, but I would like to describe the activities here.

1)  Pythagorean Theorem Triangle Family Sort - In this activity, students are given the headings 3, 4, 5; 5, 12, 13; 7, 24, 25; and 8, 15, 17.  Students sort the cards into appropriate piles based on the family that the triangle belongs to.

2)  Parabola Card Sort - In this activity, students are given graphs of parabolas.  They match the graphs to the equation of the parabola, the focus and the directrix.

3) Law of Sines - Ambiguous Case - Students decide whether the information given will allow 0, 1, or 2 triangles to be formed.

If you happen to find any of these activities useful, you are welcome to use them in your classroom too :)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Proving Math Formulas to High School Students

I am teaching PreCalc this year.  We are knee deep in our trig unit and I am planning to teach Trig Angle Addition formulas on Monday.  I seriously dread this day because I don't see any motivation for it.  I mean we have a calculator to figure out what sin 75˚ or cos 165˚ is...who cares about the exact value???

So, I checked around the internet to see if I could find some motivation and I seriously still haven't found too many reasons why we are still actually teaching this topic, BUT I did find some motivation for me!  I found several different (but similar) proofs of the formulas:

sin(x+y) = sin x cos y + cos x sin y

cos(x + y) = cos x cos y - sin y sin x

Can I tell you a secret?  I never had any idea where these formulas came from.  As a math teacher, I'm embarrassed to say that, but it is true!

So, I decided to give this proof a try during class last Monday.  It went about as I expected - some students appreciated the proof...some students' eyes started to glaze over.  But, I felt like I had done my duty and showed them some of the the beauty of mathematics.  Formulas that we use come from unlikely places - someone had to think of them...they didn't just appear out of thin air.

Here are links to a few products that I have that encourage students to see the "proof" in mathematics.  What proofs do you show your class?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Using a Desmos Card Sort in High School Math - Ambiguous Case

We are a 1:1 ipad school and I try to incorporate the iPad into class whenever it works.

I have used Desmos for graphing and to make a Christmas graphing project (see post here: Using Desmos to Graph).

But, I just recently noticed a new feature [new to me at least!] on the teacher side of Desmos.

You can make your own Card Sort!  I am currently teaching the Ambiguous Case in PreCalculus.  Ugh....seriously complicated and sometimes difficult for students to understand.  Plus...I was getting observed during this lesson :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Fun Systems of Equations Activities

I enjoy teaching systems of equation in Algebra One - it is an important skill that students need to understand for future math classes.  But, there is only so much I can say!  Students need and should have a wide variety of practice on this topic.

A new approach that I've used lately is called Color My Math.  Students solve problems and then color according to a pattern given.  In the end, they make a cool design or picture.  My students love the opportunity to color :)

Check it out in my TPT store...

Another way my students love to practice is by using Task Cards.  Why - it seems the same as a worksheet, but hey...put one problem on a card with a cute graphic and they are busy for the entire 45 minutes :)

AND...if I put QR Codes on the task cards that they can scan with their phones to see if they are correct...Awesome!

Check out these cute solving systems task cards.

Are you teaching Systems of Equations?  Whatever level you are teaching - Algebra One, Algebra Two, PreCalculus - there are activities below that could help make your teaching more fun and easier!  Check them out!