Math = Love

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Must Reads: Volume 19

Happy Monday! It's a very happy Monday here in the Carter house because it is the first official day of Thanksgiving Break! I think the stress of this school year has been getting to me a bit. This weekend, I cried at least twice. My first tears came when I opened the refrigerator to find that the previous night I had placed the ice cream carton there instead of the freezer. My second bout of tears came while trying to do a physics problem that didn't have a corresponding example in the book. So, here's to a week of relaxing and not thinking about school as much as possible.

But, first, let's talk about this week's Must Reads. Then, I'm off to do dishes and make a new batch of soup.

Sean Corey shares some posters which create a great visual for the 4 C's of math questioning.

Image Source:
 Looking for a fun thanksgiving activity? Elizabeth Carney shares a creative turkey puzzler.

Image Source:

Kent Haines challenges his students with an interesting task. I need to take some time and think this one through myself!

Image Source:

Mr. Coster inspires with a fun looking escape room activity. This looks like a blast!

Image Source:
Bob Lochel poses an interesting puzzle that will most likely be showing up soon on my puzzle table.

Image Source:

Image Source:
Jennifer Williams shares easy-to-implement data collection activities. I will definitely be stealing the time to complete a puzzle idea! 

Image Source:
Image Source:

Shelby Roth shares a photo of some awesome posters in her classroom that represent each different subset of the number system.

Image Source:
Primary Maths shares a website that has great potential for writing future math problems!

Image Source:
Greta Bergman shares two new open middle style problems she has recently created. These look fab!

Image Source:
Image Source:

Mary Williams helped her students get in the Thanksgiving Spirit by creating a beautiful bulletin board to show off their gratitude.

Image Source:
Jae Ess is an expert when it comes to creating thoughtful and creative interactive notebook pages.

Image Source:
Miss Baird makes atomic structure come to life by combining two simple supplies: paper and string. I look forward to using this in chemistry!

Image Source:
Until next week, keep up the awesome sharing!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Five Things Friday: Volume 4

It's Friday! And, it's a VERY happy Friday for me because now that the school day is over it means that Thanksgiving Break is here! This is a much needed break, and I'm looking forward to having an entire week off to catch up on the parts of life that tend to get neglected during the school year.

Every Friday, I do a quick post of five things I deem shareable but not worthy of an entire post on their own. Without further ado, let's get to it!

1.  In chemistry, we did a density challenge this week. Students had to calculate the maximum amount of sand that could be placed in a film canister so that it still floated. We tested our canisters today, and every canister floated! I ordered a set of 24 film canisters from Amazon (affiliate link) especially for this lab. The lids were a bit hard to get on/off, but they worked perfectly for this activity.

2. We wrote thank you notes today after our Algebra 1 quiz. Students had to choose one of the thank you cards I printed on colored paper, fold it in half, and write a thank you note to someone at our school. I chose to let students write letters to teachers, support staff, or other students. Some wrote silly notes. Others took it seriously. One student's note brought her friend to tears during first period. This is the power of just saying thanks. Interested in downloading the thank you card templates I created? You can find them here.

3. My study of physics is continuing. I've started creating an interactive notebook of sorts to contain my physics notes and worked practice problems. There's something about doing my study in a notebook that makes my learning feel more real. Since starting to keep my worked problems in a notebook, the amount of problems I've been working has been increasing. So, that's a win!

4. Last year, my husband taught a middle school computer science class using the curriculum. One of the activities involved having students build boats from aluminum foil. Students were challenged to create a boat design that would hold the most pennies. We took a trip to the bank one day and got several dollars worth of pennies. This year, I've been getting my own mileage out of this bowl of pennies. We did the aluminum foil boat activity during the first week. Then, we used the pennies to determine how many drops of water will fit on a face of a penny. Students practiced using the scientific method to make a hypothesis regarding how different liquids would compare to water when it comes to drops fitting on the face of a penny. Finally, we used them recently to calculate the density of pre-1982 pennies and post-1982 pennies. Students used these densities to test their hypothesis regarding the composition of pre-1982 and post-1982 pennies.

5. I got some UTA goodies in the mail this past week. The President of UTA heard that I was a finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, so he decided to send me a gift of a UTA Pennant and Scarf. I did my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction through UTA online. I have a TU flag in my classroom from my undergraduate days, so I'm excited to have something to hang up in my room to represent my time in grad school.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Volume 51: Things Teenagers Say

It's already time again for another volume of Things Teenagers Say. Either my students have been saying more interesting things lately, or I've just been better at writing them down. I'm not sure!

Check out previous issues of Things Teenagers Say:

How am I not supposed to worry when your ones look like twos?


Student: Mrs. Carter, can you eat butter since you're a vegan?
Me: I'm not a vegan. I'm a vegetarian.
Student: What's the difference?
Me: Vegans don't eat any eggs or dairy products. They don't even eat honey.
Student: Why?
Me: Honey comes from bees.
Student: Woah.
Me: They also don't wear leather since it comes from cows.
Student: Do they wear anything?


Student 1: Why do students keep saying you are pregnant?
Me: That rumor has been going around for the entire six years I have worked here.
Student 2: Yeah. Someone said it must be twins because you've been pregnant for so long.
Me: What?
Student 2: Can you believe that some students at our school think you have to be pregnant for 18 months to have twins?


Don't leave me with these heathens.


They treat us like slaves in this school. I don't come to school to be told what to do. I come to see my friends and play sports. I'm not learning anything.


Food and cats. Aren't those the same thing?


He'd never survive in a gunfight. They'd tell him to take ten paces. He would take five and turn around and shoot. Then, he'd be an outlaw.


Do trees shrink when they get older?


Student 1: Mrs. Carter, it's 12 days until our birthday!
Me: I know! I'm excited.
Student 2: You're going to have a birthday?
Me: Yes. I'll be 28.
Student 1: 28? You look like a mom!
Student 3: A cat mom.


Me: What do we use to measure time?
Student: A ruler.


What would you do if Mr. Carter ever left you? A cat would always be there for you.


Student 1: The cat I want is like $3000.
Student 2: Is it a tiger?


Student 1: We need to do the quiz on Thursday because I might not be here on Friday.
Me: Why?
Student 1: My puppy died.
Student 2: Today is Tuesday. If your puppy died, why would you be gone on Friday?
Student 1: We're going to have its funeral on Friday.


Me: When I was in school, I learned "My very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas" to remember the planets. But, now that Pluto is no longer a planet, I'm not sure how they are teaching it in school.
Student: Didn't Pluto get blown up?


Student: Mrs. Carter, do you know what the best way to eat bananas is?
Me: No.
Student: Trash.


One freshman student to another: You look old. You look like a grown woman. Your face looks like that of a 40 year old.


Student 1: Can we name the tree Bob?
Student 2: The tree can't be named Bob. We already had a problem with Bob emptying out his swimming pool.
Student 1: So why can't our tree also be named Bob?
Student 2: Trees can't empty out pools or even swim in them in the first place.


Student 1: We don't have school next week.
Student 2: That's how Thanksgiving Break normally works.
Student 1: Rude! What would you say if I said I was dying?
Student 2: I would say, "Of course you are dying. I can see the blood stain on the carpet."


Me: What is special about mapping diagrams that will help us with finding domain and range?
Student: Mapping diagrams show love to the oval shape.


Instead of writing "It passes the vertical line test," I'm going to write VLT-Approved.


One time I sneezed back in Vietnam...


It reeks in here. It smells like rabbit.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Algebra 1 Solving Equations and Inequalities (Unit 2) INB Pages 2017-2018

We are currently working on relations and functions in Algebra 1 which is by far my favorite unit of the year. This means I can finally share our solving equations and inequalities unit with the internet!

This is my second year teaching Algebra 1 under the new Oklahoma Academic Standards. And, I'll be honest; I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what exactly the standards entail and how best to go about teaching them. This year's unit on solving equations went 100 times better than last year. Having said that, I still have so many changes I would like to implement in the future. I'm proud of what we did this year, but I know that I can still do more. Next year, I want to implement more application problems.

Every unit starts out with a divider. One side of the divider has a place for students to list the "Top Ten Things to Remember" from this unit. At the end of each unit, students get a grade for completing this as part of their notebook checks. Some students keep a running list as we go through the unit. Other students wait until right before the notebook check to write their list. Still others leave it blank. I can't win every battle.

The opposite side of the divider has places for students to record their quiz scores for each skill.

You can find out more about these dividers and download a template here.

Before beginning to solve equations and inequalities, we did a quick review of inverse operations.

We followed this up with an inequalities investigation that was inspired by an activity from Discovering Algebra (affiliate link) called "Toe the Line."  The goal of this activity is to remind students that we need to flip the inequality symbol whenever we multiply or divide both sides of the inequality by a negative number.

Up Next: A summary of steps for solving equations/inequalities with variables on one side.

Next, we did a quick review of how to graph solutions on a number line. For my students, this is all a review except for graphing "not equals to."

In the past, I did this without the equal sign. I'm SO thankful I finally found time to add the equal sign this year.

We did six practice problems in our notebook over solving equations/inequalities with variables on one side. Students stapled these problems together and glued them on a single page. Some students even chose to staple their paper with the steps on top of the practice problems to condense things even further. I kinda like this approach!

At the end of our first unit, students were really struggling with translating between words and algebra. So, I decided to continue giving my students practice translating by giving them every single equation and inequality in WORDS instead of ALGEBRA. Was this the right decision? I'm not really sure. But, I can say that half way through this unit on solving equations/inequalities, my students started translating between words and algebra like bosses! The continued practice did end up paying off. What it prevented, however, was the chance to look at different types of application problems. I would like to combine these two approaches when I teach this again.

Here are close-ups of each:

Next time, I do want to make a few changes to this template. I want to switch around steps 7 and 8. By having my students check their solutions before they graphed them, some of my students became confused and started putting the results they got from checking their work on the number line instead of the solution they found.

To introduce the idea of solving equations with variables on both sides, I gave them a set of scale puzzles that I downloaded from Sarah Rubin at Everybody is a Genius. I love giving these puzzles to my students and giving them 3 minutes to solve them. There are only two rules:

1. Both sides of the scale must balance.
2. Whatever number is placed in one box on the scale must be placed in every box on that scale.

Students have a hard time following rule #2. Of course, the reason they want to break rule #2 is that the some of the problems they are trying to solve are actually impossible.

Our next foldable was also inspired by Sarah Rubin.

As a twist, I had my students create their own equations.

A New Set of Steps: Solving Equations/Inequalities with Variables on BOTH Sides

Practice Problems:

Here are close-ups of each:

I reused a foldable I made last year for compound inequalities. I'm still not happy with how well my students understand the differences between "AND" inequalities and "OR" inequalities. I need to rethink my approach to this in the future.

We only did four practice problems in our notebooks for compound inequalities. I think we should have done more.

Here are close-ups of each:

Steps for Solving Absolute Value Equations

Practice problems are next.

Close-ups of each problem are below.

Steps for Solving Absolute Value Inequalities

Practice Problems:

Our last skill for the unit is solving equations for a specific variable. This is also known as solving literal equations or changing the subject of the equation.

I let my students choose between two methods of solving: flowchart method and the more traditional algorithm for solving equations.

We did four practice problems twice each.

You can download the files for this unit here.