Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is the Weight of the Snow You Shoveled this Winter?

A colleague of mine gave me an article today from the Chicago Tribune called "One man's snow-shoveling total: 25 tons (and counting)"   Take some time and read it.  I loved it.  There is a TON of math in this.  Pun intended.  Wallberg (the author) challenged us to find the amount of snow that we have shoveled on our own driveway.  So, being the math geek that I am, I did it.  Here is my work.

1.  I found the area that I shovel on my driveway. Use this site:  Free Map Tools This site is really cool.

2.  Let's change snow to water. Wallberg (the author of the article) uses a 15 inches of snow to 1 inch of water ratio.  So we have had 75.2 inches of snow this year so far divided by 15 will give us the amount of water in inches that we have had this winter.  That is 5.01 inches of "rain" that fell as snow.  That is (5.01/12) of a foot.
from www.montecitowater.com/ 
3.  Ok now lets figure out how many cubic feet of water that is.  I took the area that I found for my driveway from the cool website above and multiplied that by (5.01/12).  That is 1085 square feet times (5/12) foot to equal the number of cubic feet of water that is on my driveway.  Remember that the (5/12) foot will be changing as there is more snow predicted tonight.  That would be roughly 453 cubic feet of water.

4.  One cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 pounds.  If you multiply 452 cubic feet from above by 62.4 pounds you get roughly 28,267 pounds of snow (water).  Yes that is over 14 tons of snow that I shoveled!  I just patted myself on the back and said "Good Job David".

They will need to use this info.
1.  Find the area that you shovel on your driveway.   Free Map Tools 
2.  Use 15 inches of snow equals 1 inch of water ratio.
3.  Use 62.4 pounds per cubic foot of water.

The beautiful part of this problem is that their are a lot of ways to come up with the answer.  Wallberg (the author of the article) found the weight of 1 square foot of water by 1 inch high.  He used this to get the the weight of 1 square foot of water for whole seasons worth of snow (water).  I love this problem because it gives the students some ownership of the work.  Give it a try.  I certainly will.

Thanks to mwalberg@tribune.com Twitter: @mattwalberg1  for writing this cool article.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

ICE Conference 2014

I attended the ICE Conference (Illinois Computing Educators Conference) today.  Here are some of the things I am going to use.

1. Keynote Speaker: Mike Muir from Maine  twitter @mmuir
"It's about the learning not the stuff"
"We should have a Pedagogical Focus not a Tech Focus"
"It's not a Formative Assessment it is Formative Feedback"
"Create great learning with Technology"

2. Using Digital Tools as Assessments for learning:  Jamie Gourley and Josh Zwart @Josh_Zwart
Hand Out
Quizlet is an easy program that can work for math.  Check out Josh's trinomial example example: http://quizlet.com/34025898/scatter
I also learned that you can put in videos to Google Forms.

3.  Cool Tools for the BYOD Classroom:  Tammy Worcester www.tammyworcester.com  @tammyworcester Evernote tip sheet
This is a feedback system that you can draw pictures and submit them to the instructor.
http://www.infuselearning.com/  I tried it and it is really cool.
She shortened urls and made a QR code with a Google Document.  http://tammyworcester.com/urlshortener/
She made a Google Form and had us enter our name and the place we were born.  She then took the data and put it in a site called  www.batchgeo.com  Instructions are here:  http://tammyworcester.com/batchgeo/
She did a different presentation with Greg Tang and I thought you would like to see some of that info:  Evernote Handout

4.  I saw Nancy Norem Powell  @NAPmath doing a session on SMARTBoard Wigits  http://napmath.wordpress.com/  and http://smartboardsmarty.wikispaces.com/
I learned about how there is a beta version of Extreme Collaboration which was taking information from any device (not a clicker) and using the info on the SMARTBoard.  Click here on how to get it

5.  I met Tony Schlorff who told me about the SMART LightRaise™ interactive projectors which does not need the board.  It shines on the wall and you can draw using your finger.  AMAZING.  He said it costs about a third less than the regular SMARTBoard.

6.  Lastly, I went to a workshop with Our Journey in “Going Google…”  Matt Dusterhoft, Pat Deane & Kate Fahey  Lockport Township District 205  Click here for their handout  twitter:  Kate:@EdTechKate Pat: @ITDeane  Matt:@mduster

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Desmos Obstacle Challenge

Here is the challenge:  To move from the START POINT to the END POINT using equations.  You will have to navigate a little bit through some obstacles.  You can have your students use any equation or certain equations.  For instance, you could have them use all parabolas or all lines.  I have put together a few challenges.  They are below.  You can go to any of them simply by clicking on the image.  If you want to make your own, then just go to www.desmos.com and click on the "+" sign (add item) and add a picture of your own.

Click on any graph to go to the DESMOS graph and take the Challenge.  

Desmos has a FACE drawing website that all math teachers need to check out calling it DESMAN.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Making a Face with DESMOS.com

If you haven't worked with desmos yet, you are missing out.  It is so easy and intuitive.  The students will catch on so easily.  Here is the in class assignment I gave today.  This was a precalculus class.  You can easily adjust this for any high school math class.

This was a student's work was done in 15 minutes of class time.  There is so much math here too.  

Sign up with desmos.com and make a face using the free online calculator.

Your face must include these things:
1.  A circle or ellipse
2.  A line
3.  A sin or cos wave
4.  A slider
5.  A parabola
Now post your face in a link to this website:  http://tinyurl.com/nchsprecalculus6

Please go to this site to see all the wonderful examples that my students made.  They will make you smile.

Here are some questions that I had today.
How do you make the sin wave go vertical instead of sideways?
How do you move the circle from the center?
How do you restrict the x values so they don't always show?
How do you make a circle bigger?
How do I make this parabola wider?

Take 15 minutes and make a face today and you will see how much math DESMOS has.  Now this was a fun class.  The students were really active in their pursuit of the math topics. Please try this and let me know how it goes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

8 Ways to Incorporate Empathy into Your Teaching

I read a blog post by Matt Renwick on how Empathy is the Most Critical Skill for Educators to be Highly Effective in Teaching Children.  I thought it was an excellent post.  It helped me to really think about the question of how we can really know what our students are going through.  The post also has really made me think about empathy as a skill that can be practiced and increased.   It also made me think about how I need to be diligent and work at the "Empathy Skills".  I need to take time out from my regular routine and put myself in the students world.  So I made this small list of items that I need to continue working on to help my EMPATHY SKILLS.  

1.  Shadow a Student for a Day 
This is the ultimate empathy skill builder.  This actually puts you in your students shoes for a day.  I did it last year and it was a fabulous experience that I believe I need to repeat yearly.  I changed my perspective on homework, in class movement, lecture, school furniture and more.  If you get a chance, this will change the way you look at your students.  I want to do this again this year.  Summary of my day shadowing a student in a blog post

2.  Questionnaire (Try Google Forms)
Google Forms are so easy to use. The feedback is immediate and flexible.  Overview of Google Forms  It can be anonymous or not.  Ask your students to give you honest feedback on somethings in your class like... How much time they are spending on homework.  Or you could ask about their engagement level in class.  This will give some direct feedback for where your students are in your class.  I have done this recently and it changes your perspective.  It  I make a google form and then change the name using tinyurl.com  to give it to my students See an easy video on using tinyurl with your students  See the google form questionnaire that I gave recently.

3.  Listen to the Goals Your Students Have
Give your students a chance to tell you their goals for your course.  Discuss things like homework completion, preparation for tests, class participation, and what they do when they are at an impasse with homework.     Click here to see the blog post on this    Feel free to modify this goals worksheet for your own use.

4.   Do the Homework
This seems too obvious. Take the time and do the homework as you ask them to do the homework.  With all the work shown.  This is an activity that will really help us experience what our students are experiencing.   I know that we can't always do this because it would take too much time.  Give it a try every so often.

5. Think About (Pray for ) EACH Student
This one sounds easy, but is actually difficult.  Go through your class roster, one by one, and think about each student.  Think about them as a person outside your class.  Think of them as a student inside your class. Think of their strengths and weaknesses.

6.  Call Home Early
Parents/Guardians insight is invaluable.  A quick call home early in the year or semester helps us and parents open the communication pipeline.  Also, the question "Could you give me a couple of ideas of how your child best learns?"  or  "What makes your child tick?"   or  " What are some strengths and weaknesses that your child has?"  A call home before your student actually needs a call home is the best.

7.  Look at the Records
Look at IEPs, 504s, Nurses reports, standardized tests, etc.   This seems obvious but it is our job.

8.  Find Activities that your Students are Involved In
Sports, Drama, Video Games, Church, Clubs, Collections, Music, Hobbies, etc... Go to a school activity that involves some of your students.  You will immediately get a different perspective of your student.  It is the same thing as when a student sees you in the grocery store and is so amazed that you have a life outside of school.  Anyway, it is a lot of fun to see students in their element.

Maybe you have some ideas as well?  Please share in the comments.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Google Drive! What are you waiting for Math Teachers?

Here it is.  You need to post EVERYTHING (except tests/quizzes) in Google Drive.  Homework.  Review Tests.  Class notes.  Class worksheets.  Goals.  Calendars.  Answer Keys.  It is so easy and your students will use the things you post.  Your students will use it on the bus, waiting at the doctor, while watching tv, and as a passenger in a car.  Make your class convenient for them.  They will reward you with accessing them often.  One of the best things about this system is that your students can never say that they lost something that you handed out.  Please see my folder that I use for my Precalculus Students:  Precalculus Student Folder  An added benefit of Google Drive is that when the students are viewing the documents, they have a preview of each document.  This is very convenient.   By the way, your students can't change anything in the folder.  They can only view it and download it.   Here is a short video on how to do this.  Or you could take the steps below.

How do you do this?
1.  Sign up for Google account.  https://accounts.google.com/SignUp  If you have a gmail account, then you already have a google account.
2.  Go to Google Drive.  https://drive.google.com
3.   Make a folder for your class.  For example Precalculus Student Folder  Do this by clicking the RED CREATE button and then click Folder naming it as you wish.
4.  Make sure this folder is public.  Right click on the folder itself and then click share.  Or check mark the folder, and then click on More at the top drop down box and click SHARE.   Change the access to PUBLIC.  At the same time grab the link for the folder.  
5.  Use the link on a blog or web-page that you own.  Just paste it to a location that the students can easily get to.  I like to make it smaller at www.tinyurl.com  This is an easy site that you can shorten long urls to be your own unique name.  Of course it will have tinyurl.com at the beginning.  I have renamed a url calendar at www.tinyurl.com/mrlsladkeypc.
6.  Download Google Drive onto your laptop.  This will enable you to store files directly to your folder on your laptop and thus straight to your students. https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2375078?hl=en
7.  Now, you can start putting things into this folder.  Remember that anything you put into this folder can be seen by your students.  You can actually put word files, pictures, powerpoints, movie clips and pdfs.    I would start by creating unit folders within this master folder.  Things like Chapter 1 Functions.  They will all have public permissions because your master folder is already public.  Here is the best thing of all.  Whenever you make a worksheet, simply drop a copy into your Student Folder on your Google Drive and your students will be able to access it.  Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Geogebra: The Unit Circle and the Reference Angle.

A couple of colleagues of mine have been showing me things in Geogebra.  I tried it this week with a unit circle problem.  It turned out great.  I had each student/pair with a computer in front of them.  We went over the Unit Circle and the students used the laptop or iPad to maneuver around the GeogebraTube post that I had made.  My colleague called this COMPANION Technology.  (They used it with their learning) Many of the students started out using the digital Unit Circle and manipulating it.  However, as time went on, many stopped using the digital technology and just did the work in their head or on paper. There was a homework assignment that involved the digital Unit Circle that I had made in Geogebra.  About half of the students ended up needing it.  The next day the unit circle questions and discussions were amazing.  They really had a conceptual grasp of it.
Here is the link to the http://geogebratube.com/student/m69795  to see the unit circle geogebra worksheet.  Please note the questions at the bottom of the page.

Steps I took to get this up and running.
1.  Download Geogebra to your desktop.  http://www.geogebra.org/cms/en/download/
2.  Make an interactive Geogebra File.  (see intro to geogebra youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwNru3Znsfk  I used this video to help me:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG0F49XBJO0
3.  Save the file to a place where you can remember to retrieve it.
4.  Go to Geogebratube.org  http://geogebratube.org/  You will need to login.
5.  Upload your file to Geogebratube and fill in all needed information.
6.  Get the link of your upload and distribute it to your students.

I hope you can give Geogebra a try,