• instruction

    popcorn challenge

    You are trying to decide what popcorn containers to select for a school movie night. For the four types, calculate: 1) Volume 2) Surface Area 3) Cost per Cup of Popcorn (hint: you’ll need to find out some more information). The challenge: come up with new popcorn containers that hold the same volume but have less surface area (so they cost less to produce). Authentic Movie Night: The small plastic tub costs $1.99. It measures 5.25″ across the top and is 5″ tall. The large plastic tub costs $2.99. It measures 7″ across the top and is 7.25″ tall. Pop-open Popcorn: These cardboard tubs have dimensions 4″W x 8″H. They…

  • instruction

    let them eat cake

    The world is serendipitous. I ran into Hannah Lesk (grad student from HGSE who worked on Radix for a bit) at the LearnLaunch conference yesterday, and she gave me a cool idea for surface area and volume from Wayne Thiebaud’s Cakes. Now pondering my design of problems relating to icing, pricing, and packaging. I’m thinking of having them calculate the cost of icing all the cakes in the picture (based on surface area), and then figuring out how many cakes they could store in a school store pantry before selling them for prom fundraising (using the cake caddy). I’m also thinking of doing some pan conversions.

  • instruction

    The Great Apartment Remodel of ’13 – Flooring

    Here’s my first foray into the Great Apartment Remodel of ’13 – inspired by Everybody is a Genius. You’ve been thinking about redoing your apartment’s floors. Your cat threw up in all the carpeted rooms, your friend Sally spilled nail polish all over the bathroom, your friend Jean spilled hair dye in the other bathroom, and your science project burned a hole in the kitchen floor. However, it’s your lucky day. You won a raffle for a ₤500 Homebase.co.uk gift card and your Grandma Sally has given you $100 for your birthday.  What rooms will you choose to remodel? Why? Show your calculations for required flooring needed and how much…

  • instruction

    Evaluating and Graphing Exponential Functions

    I borrowed this from Sam Shah to use as the introduction to exponential functions. I liked the self-guided aspect of this activity. I’m working on instilling more self-sufficiency in my students and learning to let go of the urge to have each minute of the class accounted for.  I would like to work on clearer directions, however. In the second section of class, I demonstrated the first few folds of the paper because many students in the first section just started trying to find the patterns without folding. Additionally, I would like to be able to guide discussions better on the “questions” and “properties” sections. Unit 3, Lesson 2 (Evaluating and Graphing Exponential…

  • instruction

    Jeopardy: The Makeover Edition

    I like Jeopardy as a review game, but have found that students get caught up in the idea of “winning” more than they retain knowledge from the review game aspect of it. I updated my Jeopardy plan to make it more about the review. Having explicit directions and clear expectations helped a lot. Cutting down on transition time also helped a lot (i.e., by having the teams pre-selected, having a plan to combine teams if students were absent, creating a graphic organizer so students wouldn’t have to write down the problem before solving). Materials: – Jeopardy – Jeopardy handout with problem “shells” – most of the structure there, but blanks…

  • instruction

    The Cost of College

    One of the syllabus topics in IB Math Studies is financial mathematics. I teach this unit in 12th grade (right around the time of college applications). This year I had the students research a college to which they are applying so that they could examine costs of college using the math they have learned (particularly inflation and compound interest). I wish I’d been able to include more of the topics (depreciation, currency conversion, simple interest, loan repayment tables). How Much Will College Cost Me? The goal of this project is to prepare you for the costs of college life. After high school graduation, it will be very important to keep…

  • instruction


    Photo Credit: trailers.apple.com We started exponential functions today in IB Math Studies. The students attempted to guess the population of the U.S. and the population of the world. Surprisingly, most students guessed way over (about 2 billion). I showed them a clip of the Contagion movie trailer and had them write down the numbers spoken by Jude Law (so that they’d pay attention to the math rather than just the ominous nature of the movie), then see if the pattern matched up with his prediction of 1 billion deaths in 3 months, like in this MathsPig post. Some students asked “are you doing this to scare us away from bird…

  • instruction

    first day reflections

    Even though the first week of school in BPS is only two days long (we start the Thursday after Labor Day), this one felt longer than a typical five-day week! We spent a lot of time preparing for the welcome back assembly, in meetings, and setting up the classroom. I also did a lot for after-school programs (scheduling, student recruitment, presentation for assembly, handouts, bulletin board, guest speakers from community organizations in advisory). I’m glad to be back in and in the school routine again though. Greet and Seat – I had my intern create the seating groups for each class since he’d gotten to know them in pre-practicum, then made…

  • instruction

    First Day of School

    This year I am a grade team leader, so I have a reduced class load. I’m teaching all of the 12th grade (~50 students split into two sections) and two sections of 11th grade advisory. Last year I had three sections of 11th grade, one section of 12th grade, and two sections of 11th grade advisory. The combining of the three class of 2013 cohorts into two cohorts will be a little bit odd. The smaller class sizes (9, 17, and 19) were great. Having a maximum class size of 24 is not bad at all, but I’ll have to scrounge for two more tables and four more chairs before…


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