Math = Love

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pipe Cleaner and Pony Bead Covalent Molecules

We took a quiz in physical science on Monday over predicting the products of a reaction.  Since Thanksgiving Break started Wednesday, I definitely did not want to start a new section on Tuesday.  I had seen an idea on twitter the week AFTER we finished discussing ionic vs. covalent compounds.  I decided to save the idea for next year until, of course, I realized we had an extra class day before Thanksgiving Break.   


It didn't end up going exactly as planned...  



After setting up the supplies and demonstrating to students how to build a water molecule, the intercom buzzed.  All freshmen were to report to the library immediately for a class meeting.  Have I mentioned that physical science is intended to be a freshmen level class?  This meant I was left with two students in my classroom for the rest of the class period.  

It's okay.  They each built their own molecule, and we pinned them to the bulletin board anyway.  I guess it was a good thing I hadn't planned anything new for that class period!  

Here are our finished products: 



My water molecule:


A students' ammonia molecule:


And, another student's methane molecule:


I'm sad I couldn't do these with my entire class, but that's just the reality of the day before Thanksgiving Break.  I do want to incorporate these into our unit on covalent compounds in the future!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Turkeys in the Oven Game to Review Calculating Slope and Intercepts and Writing Linear Equations

Last Friday, I decided my Algebra 1 students needed a day of reviewing calculating slope and intercepts and writing linear equations.  I wanted them to do a bunch of practice problems, but I also wanted it to seem like a game.  In October, we played Ghosts in the Graveyard, and it ended up being a lot of fun.  

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I decided a game of "Turkeys in the Oven" would be appropriate.  Here's what a game of Turkeys in the Oven looks like in action: 


This picture is from first period.  I drew the first two ovens myself, and a student volunteered to draw the second two ovens.  If you know me in person, you probably know that I am not the best artist in the world.  So, I am pretty proud of how these ovens turned out!!!  

I typed up ten challenge cards for my students to work through.  Each challenge card featured a picture of a graph and a place to write the equation, slope, x-intercept, and y-intercept.  If the x-intercept was not clearly visible, students also had to show their work for figuring out the x-intercept.  They HATED this part!!!


Each group had a dry erase pocket, and they would slide the challenge problem they were currently working on into the pocket.  Seriously, I can't say enough good things about these dry erase pockets.  They get SO much use in my classroom.  If you want a set for your own classroom, the cheapest way to go is to search for "shop ticket holders" on Amazon (affiliate link).  They are the exact same thing - just cheaper!

I got the images for the graphs from released state test questions from previous years.

Here are the 10 challenges I created:










I also introduced a new aspect of the game this time.  I made a tracking sheet that each group brought up with them when they came to get their answers checked.  Whenever they would complete a challenge, I would mark off the appropriate number on the sheet with an aqua blue sharpie.  Originally, I had planned to use my stampers for this, but it turns out the ink has dried up in them.  Sad day.  But, a marker did the trick.


This tracking sheet served several purposes.  

1.  It gave students an idea of how many problems they had completed.  
2.  It gave me an idea of how many problems students were completing. 
3.  It kept groups from doing the same easy problems over and over and over to earn more turkeys.  
4.  It allowed me to give a grade to the groups based on how well they participated in the activity.  

This time, I found turkey clip art and gave a turkey to each group after they finished a problem successfully.  Students would write their group member names on the turkey and tape it to the oven of their choice.  


Groups could put their turkey in whichever oven they chose.  When there were five minutes left in class, I announced to the students how many points each oven was worth.


As a twist, I made my four ovens worth these values: ten, twenty-five, fifty, and negative ten.  The negative points was a fun twist.  I'm thinking that maybe I should make the negative value higher next time!  

Here are some pictures of my students in action:





Files for this activity have been uploaded here.

Still confused about how this game is played?  I suggest you read Kim Hughey's original blog post about the Ghosts in the Graveyard game.  She is the teacher I learned this activity from!

Reading this and it's no longer Thanksgiving time?  You could use the same set of challenge cards and just change the theme of the game to match the season.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Predicting Products of Chemical Reactions Basketball Review Game

My physical science students have been working on predicting products of reactions.  For our first day of this section, we did six problems in our notes.  Here's what the dry erase board looked like by the end of the class period.  Our Diatomic Elements poster came in SUPER handy!  My physical science students have given me a couple of more ideas for posters I should make.  I love that they find our classroom decor to be useful!!!  


I decided my students needed to spend a day practicing these types of problems on their own.  So, I wrote up 6 different problems for them.  Each problems is printed on a full sized sheet of paper and is intended to be slid into a dry erase pocket.  Dry erase pockets are one of the most used items in my classroom!  The cheapest way to get a set for your classroom is to search for "Shop Ticket Holders" on Amazon (affiliate link).


For each problem, students had to determine the reaction type and write a balanced equation. 

Here are the six problems students were given to work through:







Each group chose one problem to start with.  They slid it in their dry erase pocket (affiliate link).  They also used our group-sized dry erase boards to do their intermediate work.    



Their final answer was written on the dry erase pocket and brought to my desk for inspection.


If the work was correct, the group got 5 points.


They also received the opportunity to take two bonus shots at our basketball goal shaped trash can.


I picked up my basketball goal shaped trash can at a yard sale, but you can buy a similar one from Amazon (affiliate link).


I placed two pieces of tape on the floor to form a two-point line and a three-point line.


My students really enjoyed this review game.  It made for a very fun Friday!

The files for this game can be found here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Exact Values of Trig Functions Leap Frog Game

Thursday night, I tweeted about cutting and laminating cards for a leap frog game in trigonometry.  


I learned about the leap frog game at the OCTM (Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Summer 2016 Workshop.  It was at a session titled, "Taking the Practice Out of the Worksheet."  Since, there's a 99.9% chance you weren't there, I recapped the session and resources shared in that session on my blog here.

I suggest you read the entire post I linked to above because it is chock full of great ideas, but if you didn't I guess I can recap the rules to playing leap frog. :)

The game of Leap Frog requires two things.

1.  Students must arrange their desks in a circle.  Or a square.  Or any convex polygon of your choosing.  


2.  Each student needs an "answer bank."  You can achieve this by either making questions and typing up the answers to form an answer bank.  Or, you can do what I did and pick a topic that only has a finite number of answers.  I typed up every possible answer to make an answer bank that would work with any possible question I came up with.

This is the first leap frog game I created, and the topic is finding exact values of trig functions using the unit circle.  Here is my answer bank:

This answer bank allows me to ask students to find the sine, cosine, tangent, cosecant, secant, and cotangent values of each angle on the unit circle.  I printed each deck on a different color of paper and laminated them for durability.  You don't have to print them on different colors, but this makes it easy to figure out what deck the card you just found on the floor belongs too!  Or are my students the only ones that always seem to end up with mystery cards on the floor???


Each student lays out their answer bank on their desk.  They will not keep the same answer bank throughout the game, but that is okay.


Put a problem up on the board for students to solve.  I would normally do this with my SMARTBoard, but my projector has been dead since October 5th.  Today is November 19th.  That is a really long time without a SMARTBoard.  And, I miss it so much.  I'm supposed to be getting a "new to me" projector over Thanksgiving break.  Hopefully it works out!  I teach in a school with a very small amount of technology to start with, so having no SMARTBoard and no document camera is even more depressing than normal.

I just wrote the trig function for them to calculate on the dry erase board.  Each student had a unit circle and a dry erase board/marker/eraser at their seat.  Each student calculated the exact value of the trig function and grabbed the correct card from their answer bank when they figured it out.  I told them to hide the card in their hand so nobody else could see it.

When I first learned about this game, I was worried about students looking at their neighbors' answer banks and cheating.  This turned out to not be a problem.  I'm not sure if this is because I used this game with my trig students or because there were 20 different cards in the answer bank.


You will have to choose whether you will give students a certain amount of time for each question or if you will just play it by ear and move on when most/all students have arrived at an answer.

When time is up or most/all students are done, ask students to show the card in their hand to their neighbors.  This helps keeps students accountable.  It also leads to some great conversations when the answers don't match.

If students disagree about the answers or if some students didn't answer, work out the problem on the board for students to see.  After determining the correct answer, have each student who got the correct answer to stand up.

Determine if students will rotate clockwise or counterclockwise.  The students who are standing will rotate one spot in that direction.  If a student needs to rotate into a seat that is taken by a seated student, they will "leap frog" over that student and any other students until they arrive at an empty seat.

So, how do you win?  There are several choices.  You can say that the first student to get back to their original seat wins.  Of course, that brings up the issue of a student who ends up going past their original seat because the student in their original seat gets the answer wrong.  This may be something you wish happens.  If so, declare the first student to make it back to their exact original seat the winner.  Otherwise, you can have a shorter game by saying that the first student to make it back to or past their original seat is the winner.

I have 8 students in my trig class (plus one student aide who ended up joining us in the game), and we ended up playing two rounds of this game in about 30-35 minutes.

The students complained about having to get out of their seats at first, but they quickly got into the game.  It was a fun way to practice finding exact trig functions without just doing a bunch of problems on a worksheet.

I have uploaded the file for this game here.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Guest Post: Solving Absolute Value Equations with a Little Creativity

Good morning!  Today, I'm happy to share a guest post with you from Beaura Cavalier. She is a high school math teacher in Arkansas, and I am so excited to share with you what she has to say about teaching students to solve absolute value equations with a little creativity.  I'll let her take it away!  

I was trying to find a way to help my Algebra 1 students remember how to do Absolute Value Equations. During a class, I came up with the following analogy.

Okay, so here is the problem.


The prisoners (3x – 1) are in jail (absolute value bars). They want to get out of jail, but first they have to wait until their visitors (any number outside of the absolute value bars) leave. So, add, subtract, multiply, or divide (on both sides of the equation) to get their visitors to leave.


Now that you have the prisoners all by themselves (in their jail cell) on one side of the equal sign, they prisoners can get parole! Once they are released from jail, they have two options. They can choose to be good (equal to the positive of whatever is on the other side of the equal sign) or they can choose to be bad (equal to the negative of what is on the other side of the equal sign).


 Then solve both equations to get two values for x.


The students laughed at my ideas, but now they are quick to point out that the prisoners have the choice of being bad or good, so x has two values!

Thank you so much Beaura for sharing a bit of your classroom with us!  


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Algebra 1 Interactive Notebook Pages: Relations and Functions

We recently finished our third unit of the year in Algebra 1, Relations and Functions.  Here are our interactive notebook pages for the unit.  This is absolutely one of my favorite units of the year to teach!  

Each unit starts with a divider that sticks out slightly from our interactive notebooks.  


The other side of the divider lists all of the SBG skills for the unit.  I accidentally forgot to type in one of the skills when I typed the divider.  I'm still frustrated by that fact.


Here's a close-up of the skills:



The first skill of the unit was to generate equivalent representations of a relation and determine if the relation was a function.  We started by creating a foldable of the different representations of a relation.   I have blogged about this foldable in depth before here.







After making this foldable, we played a "Representations of Relations" telephone game that I blogged about here.


Next, we made a frayer model to define what a "function" is.


After defining the word "function," we had a Function Auction.  This activity is always a favorite with students, and I blogged about it here.


I let my students discover the vertical line test for themselves by making human graphs on our shower curtain coordinate plane.  I blogged about this activity here.


I pulled out a notebook page I made a few years ago to practice writing sentences to justify if a relation was or was not a function.


Students divided the next page into two columns to glue in their completed function/not a function card sort.


We also practiced differentiating between functions and non-functions by completing an open middle style problem that I created and blogged about here.


Up next: Dependent and Independent Variables


This year, I had my students write sentences in the form _________ depends on _____________.  This seemed to help more of my students master independent and dependent variables than in the past.


To introduce the concept of rate of change, I had my students act out The Crow and the Pitcher fable using graduated cylinders and glass stones.



I wrote about this activity here.  

We made two practice books.  One book focused on calculating rate of change from a table or set of points.  The second book focused on calculating rate of change from a graph.  










Next, we began to discuss domain and range.  We did a DIXIROYD foldable and two practice books.  I blogged about this foldable and these books here.












We practiced finding the domain and range of continuous functions using our dry erase pockets.  The most economical way to get a set of these dry erase pockets for your classroom is to search Amazon for "shop ticket holders." (affiliate link).


I've blogged about this domain and range practice activity before here.

I also gave my students this foldable to spark a discussion of domain and range restrictions.  This was put together at the last minute, and there are a zillion things I wish I could change about it.  I guess I'll do that next year!





It's now time to introduce function machines and function notation.  I wasn't feeling super inspired, so I ended up pulling out a foldable I designed a few years ago.  Every time I use this, I think to myself that I need to edit it.  But, every year, I just don't have the energy.  I'm definitely at that point in the year where I just need a bit of a break from school!





We practice working with function machines by trying out a task from CPM's Core Connections Algebra course.  I learned about this activity at a conference this summer and blogged about it here.


The next two pages are new this year.

Evaluating a Function From a Graph


And, Evaluating a Function From a Table.


For both, I made students write a sentence to describe what the function notation meant.  I don't know why I never had students do this before!

We practiced evaluating functions from a table, graph, and equation by playing a competitive game of "Evaluating Functions War."  I blogged about this game here.


Another activity we did in class was an open middle style problem I created to practice evaluating functions.  I blogged about this problem here.



Up next is one of my favorite activities from the entire unit: Win Some Cash!  I blogged about this task in depth here.





After graphing the "Win Some Cash!" functions, we did some more graphing functions practice.  After graphing each function, students had to classify the function as linear, absolute value, quadratic, or exponential.





We kicked off our linear vs. non-linear skill by making a frayer model for "linear."


We also did a linear/non-linear card sort.


To practice our linear vs. non-linear skills, we had a "Linear Auction."  It was a rousing success!  Students had been begging for another auction ever since our "Function Auction."  


You can learn more about the Linear Auction here and the Function Auction here.  

When I was typing my divider for this unit, I accidentally left out one of the skills.  The skill was "I can create a story given a graph and create a graph given a story."  I ended up adding this on to the end of the unit as RF8.

The problems in this foldable were all found online in various resources.  I didn't keep track of what came from where, so this makes me a very bad blogger.  Sorry!




We ended the unit by writing descriptions for these popcorn graphs.  Because I teach teenagers, I had to stop one of my students from describing George's Dad's graph as "Netflix and chill."  



I have uploaded the files for these lessons here.