Classifying Rational & Irrational

At the beginning of the year one of the first things we do in Algebra 2 is go over types of numbers. We classify natural, whole, integers, rational, and irrational numbers. The next day we do a group formative assessment where in a group they take turns organizing different numbers into rational/irrational numbers. Then I give each of the groups a get a sheet where they have to organize a list of numbers into rational/irrational and explain why.

Students did an excellent job discussing the numbers and classifying them.

The Math Assessment Project has other amazing resources like this one at their website.






Temperature Drop Pre-Eclipse

I wanted to start the day with a Notice/Wonder introduction. So I asked students to discuss what they think would happen during the eclipse. Students shared somethings they picked up in other classes about nocturnal animals becoming away, lightning bugs might show up, and that we might be able to see stars.

My next question focused particularlly on the temperature and asked what did they think the temperature would do during the eclipse? Students discussed in groups some of my favorites:

"How close would it be to a really cloudy day?"

"Would the temperature drop more than ten degrees?"

"Would the street lights come on outside of school?"




I gave them a piece of graph paper and asked them to put temperature on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. I told them they could use their iPads and any resources they needed to answer the question and discuss in their groups. They had ten minutes to come up with a graph and post it on the wall.

Then I showed them this graphic from the 2001 eclipse in Africa.


I asked them how it would be different, how it would be the same as the eclipse on Monday. I described the activity we were going to be doing Monday and the layout of the day.

Since some of the students had questions about the eclipse, we watched this 5 minute really well done video by Vox.


Then we went outside and tried on a pair of solar glasses to see how they fit and what the sun looks like. Some students even got their camera's on their phone to take a very blurry picture. 



Beginning of the Year: Math About Me


Every year I kick off the school year by getting to know the students in a numerical way. The overall goal of the project is for me to get to know the students, do some math that everyone can do, and have other students in the class see and hear their other classmates.

The outline of Math About Me, is that students are to make a poster of themselves and include 10 numbers that represent something about their lives on a personal level.

For example on my poster I include the number of years I have been married, how many siblings I have, etc. Then students are to make their poster colorful. I eventually hang every single one up in the classroom to show to students that their work is valuable and give them ownership of the classroom.

When they have completed the Math About Me, we sit in a big circle and go around and tell the numbers we put on our poster. This lets me see who is already proficient at speaking in front of a group, who is shy, and lets me hear their name in their voice.

I like this project, I have done it the last four years, even though it changes a little every year. I read Tracy Zager's book Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had she explains in her book that she has students write a math autiobiography, students detail their lives as mathematicians. I thought that this would be good to start our writing in math class and then in small groups read the paper and hear each other.

What do you do to start of the school year in your math class? I always hated going over the syllabus on the first day of school, seemed impersonal. Here is my last years blogpost on the beginning of the year.

iPad Apps for Number Sense

Calculator the Game (Free)

You and your calculator gang up to complete different levels. The Game where you'll manipulate numbers by adding them, subtracting them, converting them, reversing them, and stuffing them through portals. You also can change the language now for EL students. 

The best part is for students it helps build number sense and the order in which you can do the problems from front to back or the opposite way. Promotes number sense.

You can find the link here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/calculator-the-game/id1243055750?mt=8


Factris (Free)

Factris is a game just like Tetris, but you move each of the blocks in the number of factors of that number. For example, if you got the number 8, you would be able to get the block in a 1x8, 2x4, 4x2, or 8x1. Factris is a classic risk/reward high score game. Resize the dropping rectangles according to their factors and pack them together. Factris is challenging (there is no undo) and you need to pay close attention to the size of the rectangles coming next. Improve your numeracy, packing and knowledge of factors with Factris.

The best part is that students get use to factors of numbers, especially for primes.

You can find the link here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/factris/id1248555092?mt=8

Shape Fix (Free)

Shape Fix is a game where you need to identify the center of the larger shape and try to estimate. This is a good number sense game where students try guess the center.

You can find the link here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shape-fix/id1227483776?mt=8


Eclipse: Math Class

Since we are not exactly in the path of totality we are in the 98% range, I have bought 50 Eclipse glasses through Rainbow Symphony. I want students to enjoy the eclipse, this is my first solar eclipse, but I am also an astronomy geek. Below is what Schuyler, Nebraska will look like at that time.


Day Before Eclipse

I will use this video as an introduction to the eclipse: https://youtu.be/BmOR4XSZoIQ

On that day we are going to be citizen scientists, we are going to be measuring the temperature change during totality. On this day we will talk about what the temperature drop will look like and what type of graph might that be for the entire day? We will take guesses and put them up on the white board. Each student will be given one of the worksheets below and ask them to fill it out and be as specific as possible.

Here is a link to this graph: Graph Worksheet


After all of the students have recorded their own answers, I will show them the air temperature in Lusaka, Zambia during the June 21 solar eclipse. Ask them how it will differ


I will ask the students how this will be different or the same from their graph, and what the change in air temperature was and how they think they measured air temperature.

We will go outside and test our Eclipse Viewers to make sure all students know how to use them.

You can find the activity here: Temperature Change during Totality

Eclipse Day
For the 2 hours before and after the eclipse we will go outside on the soccer field and measure the air temperature every couple of minutes. For the time that the eclipse is happening, I will take the readings so the students can enjoy the eclipse.

Students will have their own recording sheet, since we are doing our more frequently than the one in the worksheet. I will have to change it.

Here is the link with all of information and this worksheet above attached here: Citizen Scientist

Day After Eclipse
I will compile all of the data that the students took and import it into GlobeObserver for the Citizen Scientist project. Also I will give all of the students the raw data and ask them to extrapolate. I want students to ask questions at the beginning of class and answer them to the group at the end of class. Example questions would include: What the graph looked like? How far were we off? What was the temperature drop? Did the air temperature drop faster or increase faster?

I want to make August 21st a learning experience, but also a chance to see something they may never see again. Some students might not see another eclipse until April 8, 2024.

What are other math teachers doing during or for the eclipse?

Orthographic Projects with Blueprints

Blueprints is a board game where you try to score the most amount of points by constructing a building out of dice, first person to win 3 games wins. That was the short version.

There are lots of different ways to incorporate this game into any math classroom. First is the way you score points, it would be a great way to review order of operations.




Basically there are four color dice, when you use them they have different point values. The orange ones increase by two by the
number that touches that specific orange one. Green ones increase by the specific number of green ones you have. Black ones increase by a specific number according to its height. Lastly, clear ones are the top number on the dice that is rolled. When you have a variety of different dice, you get a number that needs to be added in a complex way.


The next is one that I use in my classroom. I bought 4 copies on CamelCamelCamel for about 18.00$ a piece. Students were placed in groups of 4, students were taught how to play the game with a mentor game. In the game you get extra points for completing a specific build. I added extra points if they could draw an orthographic project of their build from the top, side, and front.  On the right is one of mine mid-board game night with the wife.  The cards have a unique view like most of the worksheets when searching orthographic projection, but this makes a good review game. 

Geometry Project Runway

One of my favorites lesson this year was Project Runway. When I think of teaching and learning geometry I think of the most boring lessons, some of the theorems can be hands-on, but to me patty paper is not hands on. It's visual, not interactive or engaging.

We were finishing the very first lesson in circles. Students just learned about chords, radius, tangents, centers, and secants. We reviewed to start the lesson what each vocabulary word was and what it meant.

I put students in groups, you can have them choose their own groups, this class couldn't handle that though. Plus, I was still in my visibly random groups phase (#VRG).

I played the introduction to Project Runway on YouTube. https://youtu.be/cqQrdkv-WTo

I told the students you are given 20 minutes to put together a piece of clothing for a fashion show on Project Runway. You will need to include different vocabulary words from our circles unit as your creation makes its way down the runway. You need to include: secant, tangent, chord, radius.

The second part was that they needed to select a model from their group to model down the runway. The two other designers will point out each of the properties of a circle. At the end they needed upload a picture of model on Seesaw and label each of the parts.


 All of the students finished in the 20 minutes. They worked extremely hard the entire time and even though they had trouble finding a path to go down and work as a group, it was a learning experience for everyone.

Here are some of the models as they go down the runway. The students convinced me to play Beyonce softly in the background.

 


One of the things I need to work on this activity for next year is to give students planning time in the beginning for them to gather their thoughts. Secondly, tell students that they can not write on their project runway clothing.