Monday, July 30, 2012

Made4Math #3 - Literal Equations

As I was lesson planning today, I came across "literal equations," and remembered how difficult it was for my students to understand what they were supposed to do (especially when there were no numbers involved, only variables). I was thinking of how to get my "hands on math" going, and thought that if students could actually move the variables around and "flip" the operations, they might get a better idea for solving literal equations.

Using an equation like d = rt, create cards for each item, variable, equal sign and operators. On the back of the operator card, put the inverse operation (hopefully you will have had that lesson with your students already)

Choose a variable to solve for. I chose to solve for r. Remember, the back of the operator has it's inverse operation, so you would have this:

And finally:

So I thought, maybe this is too easy. So I tried it with converting Celcius to Farenheit.

For fractions, use reciprocals on the back:

You can create the cards in Word and print onto 3 x 5 notecards (somthing I just discovered!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Favorite Friday - Pinterest Crock Pot Recipes

I started this blog because I wanted to connect with people out there that also teach math. Luckily, @druinok found my blog and mentioned twitter and a group of people that collaborated for better math instruction. As I sit here, I truly feel like my alter ego, "Tangent Girl,"  taking in all of the information that these wonderful people are putting out there.

I have talked about #Made4Math Mondays, and I have recently read about #MyFavFriday. This is another sharing about what's done in the math classroom.

My Favorite Friday is actually NOT about math, the classroom, or anything to do with school....sort of....

When I moved back to Florida, I took a pay cut. My husband has Meniers Disease, and it makes full time work for him difficult. So we have had to cut back. Gone are the days when we could just go out and get dinner. Now we cook at home. In an effort to create more time for myself, I have scoured the internet for crock pot meals that are easy, and more importantly, taste good. I am attaching my link to my Pinterest Board with Crock Pot recipes, as we can all use a good meal at some time or another.

Something I have read during my research about crock pot recipes is that you can do your prep work ahead of time. Use large sealable freezer bags and put all ingredients that you would put in your crock pot in those bags. Freeze them, and the night before you want to make the meal, put the bag in the refrigerator. You can cook meat frozen, so no worries that you have to defrost.

Tex-Mex Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (4 breasts)
2 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning Mix
2 Tbsp. flour
1 each: green and red pepper, cut into 1-inch wide strips
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 Onion
1-1/2 cups Chunky Salsa (or 1 large jar)
1 cup Shredded Four Cheese
Toss chicken with seasoning and flour in slow cooker. Stir in vegetables and salsa; cover.

Cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours); stir. Top with cheese.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Made4Math Geometry Proofs

Well, it's really Tuesday, but I was visiting friends in Atlanta, so I didn't get this ready in time for Monday.

I have taught Geometry for 5 years. One of the more difficult concepts to teach, I found, was the geometric proof. My textbooks never gave enough practice, and I students struggled with "the next step," or forming their logical argument.

So I came up with the following series of pages.

The first one is a fill in the blank. In order to cut down on paper usage, I plan on using the clear sheet pockets our school has and have students fill in the blanks. This allows students to concentrate on providing a reason for a step, but taking the pressure off of doing a proof on their own.

Geo Begining Proof

I then use a hands on activity to help students sort through their thinking by literally sorting through statements and reasons. You can chunk this by having students start just by sorting the statements from the reasons, justifying why for each choice. I do this in groups of 2, and make 2 sets of these on different color cardstock. This can also allow students to see how a proof doesn't have to be done in a precise order sometimes (I relate this to baking, and how I can mix the eggs, sugar and butter first, or I can mix the flour, baking powder and salt first, but I can't bake the cookies until I mix the two sets of mixtures together.)

Here is a picture of one of the proofs cut out. Please note, they are not in order, as I just put them out there for the picture:

The next series of sheets I use are individual proofs for students. They are fill in the blank, but they are missing either the statement or the reason. As they progress to #3, they are creating their own proof, but they are given the number of steps it may take.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Scheduling a Task in Windows

If you get in the middle of things during class time, and tend to forget that the bell is about to ring, or worse yet, students start packing up before they should, I found a great notification process in Windows to help. This is courtesy of Pinterest and

There is a video how to, but it is a little outdated. I have included simple step by step instructions. I plan to use this for each of my classes. The blogger also provides short clips of music, like Mission Impossible, Bill Nye the Science Guy and The Jeopardy Theme.
Here is my step by step guide:
How to create a scheduled task in Windows that plays music.
Press the “Start” button
Type “Task Scheduler”    A window should show up.
Click on “Create Basic Task”
Give your task a name. Description is optional.
Click “Next”
How often do you want the task to occur?
Click “Next”
What date and time do you want the task to start? How often to recur?
Click “Next”
Choose “Start a Program” and click “Next”
Browse for song you want to play. And click “Next”
This last page is to verify everything. Click “Finish”
You can now create more tasks. The song will play to the end. If you chose something from itunes, the next song will play after the task song.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Made4Math #1 Toolbox Formulas

I found this wonderful blogger who started a challenge a few weeks ago. She noticed that elementary teachers had all of these great visuals and organizationtion skills, and she wanted to apply this to her high school math class. She started the Made4Math Mondays.

My Made4Math submission is inspired by some tutoring I did before our End of Course Exams for Algebra 1. We had students working on an online practice test, and they struggled when it came to a problem where a formula could be used. I found I kept saying "Use the right tool for the job." When I get back to school and have access to the butcher paper, I will making these much larger.

These are the rough sketches. I will have a toolbox at the top, and each time we cover a new concept (or review one).


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Use of "Simplify" in Geometric Proofs

When introducing the geometric proof, I have seen the use of "simplify" to justify a step after an operation property. Usually I find these in a textbook at the beginning of the proof section, but by the end, of the textbook, the authors have dropped that step.

So, at what point do you leave off the "simplify" reason?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pinterest Finds

I have been scouring my new favorite site, Pinterest, looking for new ideas for teaching math. I will be starting my 8th year teaching in the fall, and I really want to build up my bag of tricks for the school year. I started following a couple blogs after finding some of these gems, and I am planning a craft day (or week) in the very near future.

this is one of my favorites so far. I love the versatility of these cards. The creater talks of using the cards with domain and range. I was also thinking of introducing parent functions with these cards, and using it for a matching game. While I have not taught anything higher than Algebra 2, what a great opportunity to introduce sine functions and others.

here is a great find for vocab review! The creater also includes printable cards in PDF and Word, so you can create your own to your specific needs! I would like to build on this concept for my ESOL/ELL students, and make them in Spanish and Creole.

I LOVE FOLDABLES! I have never made foldables. I am so excited to try this! I have been heading in the direction of students keeping composition notebooks as resources the last few years. This just makes it more fun! I found a book on Amazon that goes with the McGraw Hill Algebra 2 textbook dealing with foldables. I am anxiouslt awaiting my smiley brown box to show up.

If you scroll about halfway down the page, you will find "Value Time." It was the picture of the placemat with the equal/inequality sign that struck me. Yes, this is an elementary blog, but how many of us, every year, have to discuss which way the sign goes for the larger value? I was in a Marzano training with Tom Roy a few weeks ago, and he said something that just clicked with this picture. He said "Close your eyes and imagine an equal sign. What does that look like in a cartesian plane? (the lines a parallel and equidistant). Now bring the top left of the equal sign closer to the bottom left of the equal sign. What does that tell you? (the distance on the left is closer, or smaller, than the distance on the right)." It was a wonderful Aha moment for me.

I have found more on Pinterest, but these really stood out. I am looking to add to my bag of tricks, so anything you find interesting, please share! (and please note, these are NOT my ideas, I am borrowing and sharing.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Everything is Elementary!!

As I sit here, in the beginning of summer, I am dreaming of what I want to do in my high school math classroom for the 2012/2013 school year.

This year, I have no clue what I am teaching. I know it's high school math, and am relatively sure that it's not Algebra 1.

I have become addicted to Pinterest, and am finding that everything out there for "Education" is for elementary aged classrooms. (ok, I have found a few high schoo related things). I would like to share things I have created, and perhaps things I have found in my quest to create a hands on math classroom for high school math.