New FAA Rules for Educators (with Drones)

With heightened security issues around drones with using them around airports, or more recently following the presidents motorcade on a recent trip. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) came out about two weeks ago with drones on their mind enforcing new rules about drones and registration. 

1. If you only operate your drone indoors, you are perfectly fine, because the airspace in buildings doesn't fall under FAA guidelines. You can skip the rest.

2. If you do take your drone outdoors and use it for educational purposes you are not labeled a hobbyist or recreationalist. You will need to register your drone with the FAA and pay 5$ to register your drone no matter the weight. When the registration comes in, you will need to carry the registration when you fly it.

To find more information about safely flying your drone follow this link:

You can register your drone here:

You can find more information here:

Finding President Obama

Earlier this week I was trying to find a good transition activity between graphing one linear inequality to solving a system of linear inequalities.  I was searching trying to find one decent activity that led students to solve a system of linear inequalities. Luckily I found an awesome activity.  By Ms. Miller at High Tech High.

Obama Activity

In this activity students need to graph and shade clues on a map to determine the location of a missing hot air balloon.  The lesson plan and materials on her site listed above.  My students had a great time with this activity.


The best part of this activity was the homework:

Some students took this homework to the next level.  Writing a letter in math is a great assignment where they have to explain themselves.  Here is one example:

For next year I want to go above and beyond with this activity.  This year I had students in groups of 4, next year I want to move students into the Annex where there are tables and lay out maps and make it more of an escape room.  Using QR codes for the clues will help bring more engagement and activity. Students will go to the library and I will use the iPad and SMART Board to make it seem more real-life.

Quizalize: The Good and The Bad

My students and I tried Quizalize for the first time this week.  I gave them a 10 question quiz over rational exponents, I replaced a mid-chapter quiz that was about 5 questions longer than last year with this short assessment.

The Good
I felt that Quizalize was different enough from Kahoot! and Quizizz for students.  Students play in teams instead of individually which was a major downfall of Kahoot! where students played individually and scores of kids who did poorly were also shown on others tablets.  All you see now is how much each person got right on one question as they progress through the quiz.

Another great thing about Quizalize from Kahoot is that I gave a reward for being in the Top 5, where as I gave a reward to half my class even if some students did poorly they still part of the winning team.

Another great part of Quizalize is that it gives teachers automatic feedback on the "6 need help part."

It breaks down students into 3 categories, students who got it, who almost have it, and students who need help.  As a teacher this provided me a great formative assessment and I could split students into three different categories and gave them individual attention and personalized instruction.

  1. Students who got it, didn't have homework. (I am a big proponent of not giving homework if students know how to do the problems.)
  2. Students who needed some help had a front and back assignment where they only had to do the problems they didn't know.  If they did need help they had to find one of the students who didn't have work to do and ask them.
  3. Students who needed help had both pages, but had all the questions and we sat in a different corner of the room and got 1-1 instruction.  Students had whiteboards and we went over 1 question in each section and students did the other problems.
The last big thing that Quizalize does different from the other two big formative assessments, is that at the end of the quiz you can see what students missed each question.

I could tell that students had a tough time going from exponential form to radical form, we addressed that the next day with a small mini-lesson, 5 question homework, with an exit ticket before moving on to the real lesson.

The Bad
Another improvement on Quizizz is that all the questions are on the students iPad when playing this game. It doesn't have the cool functionality of Quizizz with the memes, but does have some cool fireworks when a student gets the correct answer.

The only real problems I had was in the question editor mode.  When putting pictures in, it made my pictures smaller and some students had a tough time seeing it on their iPads.  Lastly, the math editor on Quizalize didn't make editing the questions any better.

The only thing in math editor was that it gave me an answer explanation which would be good if students had an un-timed quiz or were doing more of an inquiry quiz.

Great tool though that has a ton of features for using data-driven instruction.  Lots of good things to come from Quizalize.

No More Rulers! Accessorizing Your Math Classroom

Done are the days of buying manipulatives, flash cards, and binder clips for your worksheets.  Math classrooms are changing for the better.  More schools are going 1-1 with iPads and Chrome Books, that means more technology in the hands of students and more hands on activities. Here we will go over a few supplemental tools you can use with your iPads or Chrome Books to push student thinking and engagement to the next level.

Adidas miCoach Soccer Ball (200$)
The adidas miCoach SMART BALL soccer ball helps you improve your dead-kick technique by providing instant feedback on the power, trajectory, spin, and strike accuracy of your kick. Featuring integrated sensors, the app-enabled miCoach SMART BALL tells you everything you need to know to improve your kick, while maintaining the weight and feel of a regulation size 5 soccer ball.  The miCoach SMART BALL app provides instant feedback on and analysis of your kicking performance. Watch tutorials to help you master new techniques, challenge yourself to apply power with control, attempt to replicate the kicks of professional football players, and save your best kicks each day.

The app provides great curved graphs and would be an excellent resource when graphing parabolas or looking at data.

94fifty Smart Basketball (200$)

The 94fifty basketball is a lot like the miCoach Soccer ball.  The basketball has a sensor that sends data like shot arc, shot release speed, shot backspin, dribble speed, and makes and misses.  Another great way to get students into parabolas and graphing parabolas.  You can also get the data used with scatter plots or probability and statistics.

Parrot Mini Drone (80$-100$)

Parrot Rolling Spider is an ultra-compact drone controlled by smartphone. It flies indoors and outdoors with surprising speed and stability. Acrobatic tricks are available from the free app for MiniDrones  FreeFlight 3. Drones are being used more and more in education and the FAA came out with new rules for drones, blog post to come.  I use the drone indoors to avoid any regulations with the FAA.

Mini drones like these are perfect for the Tickle app and introducing students to coding.  In the math classroom there are ways of explaining geometry, function operation, and trigonometry.

3D Printers (Polar 3D) (600$) 

Yes, this is a little bit more expensive, but wouldn't it be awesome if you could create manipulatives or students make something in math class.  Polar3D is a newer 3D printer that is focused on making them specifically for education.  Students can print trig functions, using scales to scale down buildings or self made maps, or a great activity where students 3D print their own weird dice.

Breakout Edu (100$)

Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games for people of all ages. Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve.

Breakouts are perfect for classrooms, staff trainings, dinner parties, and at home with the family! At the end of a Breakout, your players will be eager for the next! Speciality K-12 Breakouts can be used to teach core academic subjects including math, science, history, language arts and have embedded standards that apply problem solving strategies within a real world OR collaborative context.  

There are great examples that use math in these breakout edu kits, you can find the parts on Amazon or you can look around at different places and find the stuff you are looking for about 20$ cheaper, but you don't get the cool box everything comes in.


MathChat is an excellent resource for teachers and students.  At our school some students do their best learning at home or late at night, when there is not a teacher present. On MathChat however there are students waiting to answer other questions as well as teachers.  

I can answer student questions at 9 o'clock at night or when I have a substitute teacher and I am out of the building I can help students that are struggling.  One new thing I have started doing in class is offering students extra credit offering their help to other students.  It provides them insights on steps and explaining their thinking.  

MathChat continues to update their product and is free on the App Store. You can find their website here: Wonderful resources all teachers should be using in their classroom inside and out.

Basketball Substitution

In class we were struggling with the concept of substitution, we already talked about it for two days, we did a vocabulary activity and guided worksheet to help them, but after the second day they were still struggling.  With basketball starting soon, we took to the 92' courts and made a little explaination of what substitute means in basketball.  

Then we talked about how good Michael Jordan was and what players on the court could have made the Bulls just as good as Jordan alone, we then could substitute in different players to see what the best possible outcome was. Here is a picture.

Students seemed to like the explaination a little more, we did a few more example problems and students seemed to understand.

Polynomial Puzzles

This week our focus in Algebra 2 was on Polynomials.  I have been searching for a project, but never seem to find any, but here are two activities we did this week. First to review factoring techniques we had a factoring polynomial puzzle that students completed in pairs.

Some students figured out that the pattern was Pythagorean theorem, one group did just put them in order from least to greatest.  It was a good activity I will have in class instead of homework next year.  

Here is the link: (free)

The other lesson was an Illuminations Polynomial Puzzler that had students practicing multiplication.

Here is the link: