Thursday, March 16, 2017


Tux, Animal, Bird, Book, Books, BookwormSorry, about yesterday but my plane was 2.5 hours early and I had to rush out before finishing it.  So you get it today.

One of the math classes I'm teaching this semester is an animation class based on Khan Academy's Pixar in a Box.

I say based because I'm using the online material provided with the videos and the practice activities but I added in a more in depth math component.

As we work through the package, I include instruction on the actual math associated with the lesson. 

When they did the section on animation, I integrated more instruction on linear interpolation.  For the character modeling, students learned about all the different ways you can find weighted averages in real life.

Right now, the students started simulation of the hair. Specifically, the hair of the lead character in Frozen.  I've never seen the movie but my students have.  They've learned her hair was simulated by looking at the workings of springs because springs bounce the same way as naturally curly hair works.

So as part of the lesson, they are learning to use Hooke's law.  Someone one, I know, asked why I was teaching science in my math class. I pointed out Hooke's law is a mathematical equation which students can learn to solve for force, the constant, or distance.

Its interesting the separation of subjects is found even among teachers.  You can't solve a formula or equation without doing math.  Math and science go hand in hand.  I just introduced rewriting the formula to find distance or the constant but its a real life application of math.

I really like exploring the math in more depth so students see exactly what the math is that is lightly touched on.  This prepares students for completing the second part of the topic which focuses more on the math but doesn't always teach the details.

Many of the students in my animation class struggle with math or are under motivated.  This class gives them a reason, a real reason, to learn mathematics.  They love playing with the animation activities but accept they have to learn the math.

I'll keep you posted.  I am happy to use Pixar in a Box because its all set and ready to go.  The only issue I have is that some days, the internet slows to a crawl.  A total crawl and only half the kids can be on at any one time.

Have a good day and let me know what you think.