Math = Love: February 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Operations With Functions Notes and Practice Activity

I've got a few minutes before I head home for the weekend, so I want to sneak in a quick blog post.  With the wedding coming up and grad school finishing soon, it seems like all of my free time (and blogging time!) has a way of vanishing into thin air.

Here is a foldable I created for my students on operations with functions.  It's my favorite lazy type of foldable.  I say foldable, but it's really just a sheet of paper folded in half with practice problems inside.  We like to call these "books" in my classroom.  Of course, this gets confusing because we call poof books the same thing...



I wanted a way to make practicing this a little more fun because I have to be honest: this isn't the most exhilarating Algebra 2 topic to teach.

I spotted some foam dice in my room and ended up coming up with this:

I wrote up a list of functions that I thought would operate well with one another.

I think I had to end up adding a few more random ones to have enough for all of the students in my class.  These ended up being written on colored index cards.  

I gave each student a card and asked them to pair up.  Each pair also got a foam die and this recording sheet.

  Each pair had to decide which function to make f(x) and which function to make g(x).  Then, they rolled the foam die to determine which function operation they would have to complete.  Let's just say they got very, very aggravated when they rolled a six!

The blank box to the right of f(x) and g(x) was meant to write the operation they were completing.  The large box was meant to show their work.  And the small, skinny box was meant to record the final answer.

As students finished a problem, they raised their hands and had them checked/stamped.  Once their work was checked, the students traded index cards and found a new partner.  For the record, high school students get super excited about stamps!  

If I were to do this again, I would give them more problems to do because some students ended up avoiding multiplication or division.

I would also have them roll a die and evaluate the final function at that value.

Files for this lesson can be found here.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Quadratic Formula Templates

This week, my Algebra 2 students started solving quadratics using the quadratic formula.  Wednesday, I passed out one of my favorite homework assignments of the year to get them started off right.  

This year, I didn't teach it to them to the tune of quadratic formula.  Instead, I gave them the paper, let them freak out a bit and try to memorize it on their own.  A few students remembered their older siblings singing the song and filled the rest of the class in on how it went.  That was fun to see.  :)  I also told them to check out YouTube to find a version of the song that would help them remember it.  
Yesterday, I knew I wanted to create a notes template that would help them organize their work.  In the past, I've done a Tangram Puzzle for them to cut and paste in their notebooks.  

This was cute, but my I found my students need A LOT more help with setting up the problems than I have given in the past.  So, I whipped up this template on my planning period:

I inserted it into a quick booklet foldable with two example problems for my students to work through.  

My students seemed to understand where the a, b, and c came from much easier with this template.  Of course, they freaked out a bit when the imaginary numbers came into play...

After working through the practice problems, I set each group up with a Quadratic Formula Question Stack Activity.  The cards I use are hand-written because I made them last year before I had a computer template, so I don't have a set to share.  Sorry!  (But, you can learn more about Question Stacks here.)

I decided at the last minute that I should make them a dry erase template to help set up each problem. I just cut and pasted the template from the notes onto a blank document and increased the font.

They weren't pretty, but they worked.  We slid them into these dry erase pockets to make them erasable and reusable.

The kids insisted we get out the red/yellow/green cups so they could indicate when their group was having trouble.  The thing that I liked the best from this was that when a group was having problems, it was super easy for me to figure out if they had even set up their problem correctly since that's where I find most errors occur when working with the quadratic formula.

I tweeted a picture from this lesson, and John Golden suggested using different shapes for a, b, and c.

Of course, I had to pretty-up my dry erase template for the future, so I created two versions.

Version 1: Regular Rectangles

Version 2: Different Shapes

All files can be found here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

5 x 5 Game

Just want to give a quick shout-out today to Sara Van Der Werf and her awesome 5 x 5 game!

I read her post about it before Christmas and filed it away to use on one of those random days when I wanted a filler activity that was still very much math-y.  Well, I got the chance to use it last week.

My statistics students are working on designing and implementing their own surveys.  They are practicing different sampling designs and trying to avoid introducing as much bias as possible in their results.  It's been super fun to listen in on their planning as they critique each other's projects.  Many of my students have chosen to do an simple random sample, and I told them on a certain day that I would give them the list of all the students in the school (or the students in the grade they had chosen).  It just so happened that the copy machine decided to break that very same day.

So, I had to scrap those plans and keep my stats students occupied somehow.  My stats class is notoriously hard to keep on task because a fair number of them are seniors and there is no end-of-instruction exam at the end of the year.  But, they quickly got into this game and became super competitive!  My students also noted similarities between this game and 20 Express.

The best thing was I could throw it together at the last minute because Sara already has made images to explain how the game is played.  I just cut and pasted them in my SMARTBoard file from her blog post.  All you need is a deck of cards with the face cards removed to play.  I'm not going to rewrite out all the steps of playing because Sara already did an awesome job of explaining them!

I had my students play using dry erase boards because I was throwing this together at the last minute.  They drew their own 5 x 5 board, but it was super time consuming.  They all agreed it would be better if they had a template to use next time.  Sara includes a sheet of game boards that you can print out, but I decided to make a giant game board to use in the future with my favorite dry erase pockets.

Here's my box template.  Uploaded here as a PDF and Publisher file.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Basketball Homecoming Spirit Week: Song Edition

Basketball Homecoming is this Saturday.  So, that means this week has been Spirit Week.  My student council kids decided to go with a "Song Week" this time around.

They'll probably get mad at me for posting this, though.  When they were doing research for spirit week ideas, they just kept finding all the spirit weeks they've done in the past that I've blogged about...  How do I know this???  One of them mentioned me in this tweet: "So frustrating trying to look up new spirit weeks and then finding what you've already done, posted by your famous teacher @mathequalslove"

Each day of the week has song lyrics that coordinate with the day's theme.

Spirit Week Hash Tag



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Make Someone's Day

I spilled hot chocolate on myself this morning, and I thought to myself that it was probably a sign it was going to be one of those days.  I got to work this morning, dropped off my lunch in the teacher's lounge, turned on my computer, and scurried to the restroom to try and remove the signs of the hot chocolate from my blue blouse.

When I got back to my computer, I noticed that I had just received an e-mail.  My principal had nominated me for a teaching award.  Instantly, my day had brightened!  Did my principal have to do that?  Definitely not.  If I decide to submit an application for this award, it's going to mean more work for him.

So, I want to send you on a little mission today.  Do something to make someone's day today.  It doesn't have to be big.  It doesn't have to take a lot of time.  It doesn't have to cost anything.

Write a note to another teacher.  Go out of your way to have a conversation with someone you don't normally get to talk to.  Compliment someone.  Invite someone to eat lunch with you.  

I'm so thankful for those who have gone out of their way to make me feel special lately.  My principal nominated me for an award.  My amazing coworkers threw me a wedding shower yesterday afternoon, and my church family threw me a wedding shower on Sunday.  I woke up to a short DM this morning from a blog reader who wanted to thank me for the resources I post.  Another Oklahoma math teacher sent out a tweet yesterday encouraging people to read my blog.    

Making someone else's day might just help make your day. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Oklahoma PD Opportunity

Hi guys!  If you're a math teacher in Oklahoma, I want to let you know about an exciting professional development opportunity that's coming up.  Best news: it's free!

It's for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Geometry teachers, and it will be held at Oklahoma Christian University on February 27, 2016 from 9 am - 12:30 pm.  You're going to need to follow the directions in the flyer and RSVP by February 19th.

I've been to several workshops put on by this group, and they are AWESOME!  I sadly can't attend this year since it's at the same time that Shaun's family will be in the country for the wedding.  But, I can guarantee you will walk away with tons of ideas to use in your classroom!