Posts Tagged ‘project’

if you give a math student a comic strip

By Kristina


When pondering logic projects, I found a lot of elementary school “create your own math books” based on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie plus some comic strip projects that incorporated other aspects of logical propositions (antecedent, consequent, inverse, converse, and contrapositive). I added a rubric for design, captions, and presentation.

Comic Strip Project

I used my coworker’s copy of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to introduce the project to my 12th grade classes (many of whom remembered it fondly from childhood). Oddly enough, the students liked being read to! I also started a comic to explain how events could be linked in a logical chain.


Logic_comic_strip_on_StripGenerator.I crowdsourced for comic book generators on Facebook because the only comic strip generator I know is Bitstrips. One friend suggested StripGenerator. I’m glad he did, because Bitstrips was not accessible on our school’s computers, and the iPhone app didn’t easily lend itself to creating multiple-frame comics. A student did use the iPhone app, but she ended up having to put six frames into a collage with another app. StripGenerator also allowed students to save their comics as image files and easily upload them to JupiterGrades.


peetakatnissSome students wanted to make their comics by hand, and I allowed them to do this provided that they took a picture of their comics as backup.


Most Common Mistakes:
1) Forgetting to turn in design sheets
2) Not creating a circular chain
3) Missing transitions between panels (not having the next frame’s antecedent be the consequent of the previous)

teacher for a day

By Kristina

Our class of 2012 was our first IB Diploma  Programme cohort. Students and teachers both felt unprepared for the onslaught of the DP External Assessments. We’ve never had a school-wide exam period with exams lasting more than 53 minutes. Some teachers have given final exams over a period of multiple days, but students have yet to experience hour-plus exams on days that are dedicated solely to exams. The habit of independent review isn’t yet a strong one in our school culture.

I focused a lot in the junior year on the Internal Assessment, thinking “we’ll get to the External Assessment when the time comes.” In the senior year, we went to four days a week for classes, so I focused a lot on figuring out how to cover material before May given this new constraint. When April rolled around, I realized that it was time to prep for the exam…but it was like telling a high school track team to go run a marathon in two weeks. They’d been practicing for quizzes (sprints) but never had experience with unit tests that looked like the IB External Assessment (distance runs in preparation for the marathon). I retrieved old exams from our school’s network drive and gave them a different paper each day to practice. This was ineffective. A few students stayed on task for the duration of the class, working hard at the problems and asking me for feedback on their work. Others didn’t even open the practice tests.

This year, I wanted to prepare my students better. Studying a little bit more often pays off so much more than cramming. Each unit test is now comprised of past IB exam questions. Students complain bitterly about the difficulty of these problems, but I always say “better to see it now and tackle it than to have easy tests all year and get blindsided by the real thing.” I have also started doing partner Teacher for a Day projects using Tom DeRosa’s project structure. Students chose their own partners to develop their own quiz or test questions in preparation for the unit test. They also provide a full answer key. I included a screenshot of the pertinent area of the IB syllabus and encouraged them to use their notes and past quizzes (so they would get in the habit of reviewing). The partners worked out well, but they are also 12th graders and have gotten used to my rotating their seating groups each week. Choosing partners may be better for younger students or for those who need more group work experience. In the first iteration (with the financial math unit), some students made the mistakes of doing too many of the same type of problem or forgetting to include an answer key will all work shown. I offered them an opportunity to revise, but only a few took advantage of this offer.

Unit 3 Project – IB Exam Review

*Yup, that’s Unhelpful High School Teacher. She’s on the Microsoft clip art site.

The Cost of College

By Kristina

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 track of your money. If your family is providing you with financial support or you are paying for your own college education, it is best to know what expenses to expect!

1) College Research
For a college to which you are applying, research the following and provide screenshots and URLs as evidence.
– Tuition
– Fees
– Housing

2) Loan Repayments
Calculate monthly repayments for tuition and fees for all your years of college. For instance, you might go to a college for four years or attend community college for two years and transfer. Assume inflation of 7% per year for tuition and fees to calculate the total amount owed. You can use the calculator at and provide a screenshot.

3) Housing
Is the college of your choice near your home? If so, would you consider living at home? List at least three reasons for why/why not.

If the college of your choice would not allow for living at home, compare two housing options (on-campus, off-campus). What are advantages and disadvantages of each?

4) Freshman Classes
Find four freshman classes that you are interested in taking. Explain why you chose these classes. Find the syllabi and what books are required, then find the prices of these books online (with screenshots and URLs).

5) Scholarships
Find three scholarships that you can apply to. Explain how much money they are awarding, why you chose them, and what the major requirements are (due dates, essays, etc.). Provide URLs.

6) Part-time Jobs
Find two potential part-time jobs near your college. Explain why you are interested in those jobs. What are the salaries? How much would you make, before taxes, if you worked up to 20 hours per week during the school year?

7) What If…
What if you had to put one semester’s worth of tuition on a credit card because of an emergency? Choose a credit card and provided screenshots and a URL of the interest rate and any late fees. What would your balance become if you could only pay $100 per month for a year? Show your calculations.

8) Ask a College Student
Ask a JQUS alumnus/alumna about their freshman year experience with college expenses. What expenses surprised them the most? How did they learn how to deal with finances on their own?

Unit 2 Project – College Expenses

In the project submissions, I found that the students had a hard time applying the math concepts in Questions 2 and 7. For Question 2, I should have said “leave the loan interest rate at 6.8% and compute it for 30 years of repayments.” Some students put 7% in because they thought inflation was the interest rate. Many students put in a short repayment (e.g., 4 years) and ended up with monthly payments over $3500. Many students put in only for one year’s worth of tuition rather than 4. For Question 7, some students found cards with 0% intro APR but put in the regular interest rate anyway. Many students calculated interest for a single month and assumed that it would be for the whole year of attempting to pay it off. Not a single one did the calculations that showed how $100 payments for each month would impact the compounding and what would happen to the balance at the end of a year. I’d like to expand more upon this question in future iterations of the project.