Monday, November 30, 2015

Did You Know?

Mathematics, Calculation, Pay There is a cool Geometry website with all sorts of materials available? Its subtitled "Welcome to Geometry from the Land of the Incas."  It has two sections that are really interesting.  The first is the section on geometry theorems and problems while the other emphasizes Inca Geometry.

The section on geometry theorems and problems is not as interesting to me because its filled with one page proofs and such with the picture for proof.  If you go to the home page, you'll find a list of what is in this section. It's the occasional slide show of real life slide shows that I find interesting.

Although the slide shows are mostly pictures, they don't always have explanations but as a teacher its not hard to have students explain the geometric concept in the picture.  For instance, in a slide show of real life examples in Los Angeles, there was a beautiful picture of the landing tower at LAX.  It showed two opening down parabolas so you could see the details.  I wondered if I could import a grid overlay so students could create the equation for the parabola?

It's the Inca part that I find most interesting.  I clicked on the link that shows the Inca trail to  Machu Picchu.  The link takes you to a google interactive map showing the trail and there is a description below which states there are actually three different trails.  There is a description of the four day trek along with information on various stops along the path.  Although there are really no math problems per say, it would be quite easy to create problems including RTD, linear equations for the daily treks, change in elevation for slope so students can calculate rate of change.

The topic choices are quite interesting and easily integrated into the math class with just  a bit of work by the teacher.  I looked at the link on Nazca Lines.  Nazca Lines are geoglyphs that cover a 37 mile segment that actually covers an area of over 300 square miles of ground.

There are animals, geometric shapes, etc drawn in the ground. Think about setting up a scale and then using that scale to figure out the areas of the different geometric shapes.  In addition, there are a number of additional links for more information and activities including a quiz on the Nazca Lines.

In most places, there is a push to include cultural activities.  In my area, we are expected to include Native American mathematics but who says we can't include mathematics from other areas of the world.  What would be awesome is if the math and social studies departments could work together so they both explore the Incan civilization at the same time.  It would make for a cool cross curricular unit.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Digital Algebra Website.

Apple, Iphone, 6S, Plus, MobileI found a website with digital material for  21 different classes including Algebra.  Boundless offers quite a lot of free material for your math class.

First of all, Boundless created a text book for Algebra.  Each lesson begins with learning objectives, key points, vocabulary, and the actual lesson.  At the bottom of the page, you'll find several questions and there is the option available to create more. 

In addition, Boundless has a full set of quizzes that can easily be assigned to the students.  The website tells you how many quizzes for each chapter, the number of questions for each topic and the concepts being quizzed.  Its great that you can see the exact questions that are in each quiz.  The questions at the bottom of the reading are not the same as those in the quiz.

Furthermore, Boundless has created power point templates to accompany each  topic in the Algebra class.  Most of the power point presentations I checked were free and could be used, shared or edited according to what is needed by the teacher.

This site offers the teacher the opportunity to assign reading material and quizzes to the classes set up.  The downside is that they only offer Algebra, Calculus, and Statistics but there is an app students can use to access the material.  This is an interesting site worth additional exploration but I would use the materials to supplement my current program. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Taking Responsiblity

Books, Learn, Book Pages, Read The project I assigned this past Monday is spawning some really awesome learning.  The project asked students to talk about the material they'd studied and provide real life examples  I saw certain students take responsibility for their own learning.

I saw several students who went to YouTube to find videos on the material itself or videos on real life uses.  One student discovered that linear equations can be used to determine the age of a find based on its depth in archaeology. That is awesome.  I never knew that so I learned something. 

In addition, many of my students found examples of real life examples of perpendicular bisectors.  Not all the examples dealt with triangles but that is fine.  One student found that the yard markings on a football field were perpendicular bisectors while another discovered that many windows have panes set up as perpendicular bisectors.

I admit, it was fun watching the students find ways systems of equations could be used in real life.  Now I admit, the students haven't quite developed the ability to differentiate between math problems and real life examples but this is the first step towards learning.

On the other hand, I do not provide enough real life examples in class so this has been a bit of a wake up call to me.  It tells me I need to take time to provide these examples and really discuss the in real life rather than making general comments. 

Years ago, I received a call from a father of one of my students.  He wanted to know the formula for finding the area of circle because he was going to construct a circular building.  He told me the radius he wanted and I did the calculations.  I also had a principal who measured the playground and asked me to find the area for it because he was applying for a grant to get the playground paved. It required me to divide the playground into smaller rectangles because it wasn't perfectly rectangular.

Perfect examples I could be using in my class. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Other Uses For Comic Programs.

The following information is from two students who came up with slightly different uses of two programs.
Comic Maker HD  is set up to create comic strips using so many different backgrounds, characters and speech bubbles but one of my students used it to make a comic book with lots of information of on linear equations.  I made a short examples on how triangles are used in real life and its only four frames long but it gives you an idea of how it might be used.  I tried to type text without the speech bubbles but haven't figured it out yet.  There might be a way but I haven't played with it enough.

Zoodle Comics is another app that is designed to create comic strips but one of my students used it as a way of showing how bisectors, medians and altitudes are used in real life.  Rather than using the characters provided by the program, she just imported pictures and typed information on each frame.  I created one using the same pictures from Comic Maker HD.  This program allows me to type in text and put it anywhere.

In addition, I didn't have to put the frames into a comic strip.  I could have used each frame as a poster instead because the program saves each frame separately in photos and does not put the frames together until you preview it and save as a whole comic strip.

For creating actual comic strips, Comic Maker HD is better but for creating the individual frames, Zoodle comics is better.  In fact, you can create all the frames you want in Zoodle and then import into Comic Maker HD to get the typing exactly where you want. 

Just wanted to share a couple things my students were doing in class with everyone.

Thursday, November 26, 2015