Math = Love

Monday, August 6, 2018

Radicals Interactive Notebook Pages - Algebra 1

Radicals. I don't know why, but this is always one of my favorite units of the year to teach in Algebra 1. There's just something about watching students solve problems that they would have never thought they would be able to solve that makes my teacher heart happy.

Like with every INB unit, we start off with a unit divider. You can find more details about these dividers and a free download here.

The back of the divider lists our skills for this unit. It also gives students a place to record their progress.

I teach simplifying radicals through prime factorization because it works no matter what the index of the radical is. This means we need to do a quick review of prime factorization since it's been awhile since they've seen this.

Most of my students learned prime factorization with the factor tree method. This is how I learned it as well.

When I was student teaching, I was introduced to the birthday cake method. I find that my students make WAY less mistakes when they use this method. There's just something about the fact that the prime factors are arranged linearly that helps them make sure they didn't miss a factor.

Of course, I let my students choose which method they prefer. In each class, there are students who are devoted fans of each method. When I do problems myself, I actually find myself switching between methods depending on which seems easier for that problem.

Next, I give my students a chart for recording the prime factorization of each natural number under 100.

Students are allowed to use this chart for the rest of the radicals unit. This gives them lots and lots and lots of practice finding prime factorization.

Now, it's time to actually start dealing with radicals. I really emphasize vocabulary at this point because I think it's important for all students to be on an even footing while discussing these new looking types of problems. In the past, students have only been exposed to basic square roots.

Plus, there's the fact that I didn't even know this vocabulary when I started teaching. I remember teaching an Algebra 2 lesson on radicals where I kept referring to the little number on the top left of the radical. I had to get out a textbook and look up the word index. Vocabulary is important!

Now, it's time to simplify radicals.

Add and Subtract Radicals

Multiply Radicals

Before we start dividing and rationalizing the denominator of radicals (yes, it's in the Oklahoma standards), I try to give my students a taste of history and the WHY of what we're doing.

Rationalizing Practice

Dividing Radicals

Files for this unit are uploaded here.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Five Things (Not Friday): Volume 21

I got the "Welcome Back!" letter in my inbox recently with all the important professional development dates, and I started setting up my new classroom this week. So, it's really starting to sink in that I'm about to start my new job!

Here's a small peek at five things I've been up to lately.

1. Classroom progress pictures! So far, I'm just hanging posters I have made in the past. I've made a bunch of new posters, but they need to be printed on 11 x 17 card stock. I'm so new at my school that I don't even know where the copy machine is. I mean, I know where it was ten years ago when I was a student there, but things change. I'm a bit scared to just go opening random doors, but I guess I will have to figure this out at some point. Also on my list of things to figure out: where in the world is the teacher's lounge? I have New Teacher Orientation on the 10th (so soon...eek!), so I'm guessing I will have a lot of my questions answered then.

SOH CAH TOA Posters | Includes/Excludes Posters

Pythagorean Triple Posters

Mistakes are... | Keep Calm and Combine Like Terms | N/O and O/K | Left and Right
A math room isn't complete (in my opinion) without a number line! 

Printable Horizontal Number Line | Positive and Negative Infinity Posters

Order of Operations Posters

My order of operations posters took a bit of a beating last year thanks to students' backpacks, so I really need to reprint A and S. But, I went ahead and hung the old ones up in case I don't get to that item on my to do list for a while. 

Math-y Welcome Banner
It's nowhere near done, but it looks like a room that I could teach class in tomorrow if I had to! 

2. Friday, I got to see Chris Shore present "Reaching and Teaching "Those Kids."" It was very thought-provoking, and I really enjoyed watching Chris execute his well thought-out teacher moves.

Chris equipped us with lots of different strategies for engaging every student every class period.

I was super-excited to get to see Clothesline Math in action!

I'll definitely be looking for ways to incorporate the clothesline into my Algebra 2 and Pre-Calc classroom! I also love the 4 digit problem. The task: make the numbers between 1-100 using exactly 4 eights and any exponent of your choosing (except 8).

3. I spent some quality time recently updating my teacher planner with some new calendar pages. Special shout-out to my husband for designing an excel file to automatically generate these pages!

Last year, it took a bit of adjusting to get used to a vertical layout. But, I discovered I LOVE it!

4. I found a bunch of safe-t compasses (affiliate link) at a garage sale. I'm super excited to use these in my classroom this year. Then, when I was cleaning out my cabinets of my new classroom, I found some giant demonstration sized safe-t compasses. I'm thinking these will come in handy teaching pre-calc!

5. My wooden cubes came in the mail! I've got big plans for these 100 one inch cubes (affiliate link)! I found at least three different puzzles online made of cubes that I will be making for my puzzle table! Now, I just have to find some time to paint them. I can't wait to share these ideas on the blog as I get them made and introduce them to my students!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Puzzle Table: Weeks 18-24

It's time once again to start a new school year, so that means it's also time to make sure the previous year has been wrapped up on this blog! One of the things I haven't wrapped up from the 2017-2018 School Year is my puzzle table recap posts. You can check out previous posts here, here, and here.

Not sure what I mean by a puzzle table? Inspired by Sara VanDerWerf's idea of a play table, I put out a new puzzle for my students to play with during spare class time each Monday. The puzzle stays out for the entire week to spark student interest and curiosity. When I first started out, I mainly used  puzzles I had purchased. Later, I started downloading and laminating puzzles I had found online. Soon, I began searching for more and more puzzles from books which I could type up and use in my classroom. Most recently, I have been finding puzzle inspiration from the Puzzle Box books (Volumes 1-3) which are published by Dover Publications (affiliate link). To prove how much I LOVE these books, seven of the eight puzzles from the last eight weeks are from this series. I highly recommend using the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon to get an idea of the awesome variety of puzzles. So many of these logic puzzles can be adapted for classroom use, so these books are perfect for math teachers.

Another great source of puzzles is The Big, Big, Big Book of Brainteasers by The Grabarchuk Family (affiliate link). Sadly, the book is now out of print, but used copies are available on Amazon.

You can also use the Amazon's Look Inside Feature to see more puzzles from this book! You can still access quite a few of the puzzles for free, though. Just keep clicking "Surprise Me!" on the left pane to see a different page of puzzles.

These four books are must-haves for anyone interested in incorporating puzzles into their classrooms!

For each puzzle, follow the underlined link to get more information and access a free downloadable file!

Week 18: Arrows Puzzle - This dry erase based puzzle didn't get quite as much attention/participation from my students as the puzzles from other weeks which involve manipulating pieces. A lot of my students don't like reading the instructions before jumping into a puzzle, so I'm thinking this is why many of them didn't jump into this puzzle.

Week 19: Double Letters - These puzzles drive my students insane! I always have more than a few students mad at me when I won't reveal the word at the end of the week when the puzzle is getting packed up to make room for the next week's puzzle. When I solve these puzzles myself, I find that I either find the world RIGHT AWAY or it's nearly impossible to figure out! Haven't solved one with a nice middle ground yet.


Week 20: Cover the Shape Puzzle - Remember the Duck/Camel/Heart puzzles mentioned in earlier puzzle table recaps? This puzzle uses the exact same pieces. Score! Sadly, I couldn't figure out a cool name for this puzzle, so I had to settle for "Cover the Shape." 

Week 21: Hidden Equation Puzzle - This dry erase based puzzle got a bit more attention than the arrows puzzle I mentioned above. I think this was because the puzzle was much more straight forward. I chose to use multiplication dots instead of x's because I thought my students might confuse the x's for variables. But, some of the comments said people were confused about the dots being decimal points. So, this puzzle may need a bit of work still... 

Week 22: Square the Shapes Puzzle - This puzzle led to some awesome conversations with students! The goal is to place the three circles so a square is formed with the circle already provided on the puzzle board. Then, do the same with the squares, the triangles, and the pentagons. Oh, wait, there's one more catch: each square must have different dimensions! My students were convinced it was impossible, but I promise it's not!

Week 23: Don't Get Stung Puzzle - This puzzle got a lot of attention on the puzzle table! I think this was a result of the fact that the puzzle pieces are so eye-catching. I had huge groups of students gathered around the puzzle trying to place the pieces to that shapes were not repeated in any of the rows (in any of the directions) AND that all the bees were hidden. Most of my students started off just trying to hide all the bees. They wanted to prove that it was even possible to hide all of the bees. I love this puzzle because it got kids to the puzzle table that rarely tried their hand at puzzles all year long.

Week 24: Mixed Emotions Puzzle - This was the last puzzle for the puzzle table for the school year. After my students had a productive struggle for quite a while with last week's puzzle, I looked forward to them tackling this puzzle. They eagerly did, and most of them ended up quickly solving the puzzle.I think this was a result of only being composed of four different puzzle pieces. Still, fun was had, and brains were challenged!

So, 24 puzzles later, I can't imagine not having a puzzle table in my new classroom. I'm looking forward to reusing my favorite puzzles from this year with my new students and trying out plenty of new puzzles, too.