Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I love laminating! My color coded conics!

A big shout out to our librarians for all their laminating!  I love them and I love laminating.  I may be the only teacher who uses it, but that is okay.

I worked a lot over last week's vacation getting an Algebra 2 lesson on conics ready.  I haven't taught conics before, so I wanted to get it all in place.  I made my calendar and assigned homework problems.  I did each of the homework assignments to make sure they were appropriate.  I emailed Cindy Johnson for her conics cards after I read about the conic cards here as well as using the conic flow chart of that blog.  I cut printed them on colored paper, cut them out, had the library laminate them, and cut them out again.  They are ready for use.  Here are the rolls and rolls of cards:

I made some foldables for each conic according to our book.  The kids will find them out the night before and come to class ready to do the conic cards and some practice.  Almost flipped but not quite.
Here are my pretty color coded foldables:  Here is the file: Conic Foldables  It is my first time doing foldables:
And, I will do some wax paper with parabolas.  I also laminated some graph paper so we can put it on top of some cardboard, add tacks and string to make ellipses. 
Finish it all off with this conic project from Bob Lochel: Conics Project  My kids love using desmos and are getting better restricting their domain so I think this will be great.  I can't wait to see how creative they are. 

This full lesson came together with all the help of blogs - I love it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

MATH man - secret life and extreme sports

In Algebra 2 this week, we had 2 MATH man days. 

One was, if MATH had a secret life, what would it be?

And, what is MATH's favorite extreme sport?

Graphing Rationals before vacation

We had a fun day in Accelerated Algebra 2 and all the kids were working hard.  We are learning all about rational functions now.  I explained to them that as a teacher it can be challenging to come up with just the right problem to put on a quiz.  Maybe I want them to graph a rational function that has 2 asymptotes and a hole.  I need the equation to work out nicely, so I have to play with it a bit. 

I told them today they were going to be the teacher and create 4 rational functions to graph.  I had grand plans that we didn't get all the way through, but they did the meat of the lesson.  Originally I created a teacher answer key for them as the teacher to complete.  They had to write 4 rational equation in factored form and graph them on www.desmos.com/  Then, they had to write them in standard form, fill in all the properties, and sketch the graph - essentially, creating an answer key.  This was as far as we got and I collected them because I didn't want them to get lost over vacation. 

I intended for them to then write the standard form of each on a student form and trade with another student. They complete all 4 problems and give it back to their "teacher" who checks it with their answer key.  But, alas, no time.

However, the conversation was rich and wonderful.  Even I was learning and that is super for the day before vacation.  I originally asked them to create a rational function with 1 vertical asymptote, 1 horizontal asymptote, and 1 slant asymptote.  Ah, but you can't.  Why not?  It was a good thinking question.  There were more questions to come - what's the difference between a reciprocal equation and a rational equation?  How do I "create" a hole?  How do I know the x-intercepts? the range?  All good.  Next year, I hope to have 2 days to complete this and actually get to the student part.

Here is the lesson:  Graphing Rational Activity

Here is a picture of the class working hard:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Graphing Factored Polynomials

I found this activity a long time ago so I apologize, I don't know where to give credit.  If you know, let me know and I will add it.  I have always done it in Algebra 2 but with the new common core, we have brought it into our Algebra I classes for freshmen.  My colleague wasn't sure they would be able to handle it, but they rose to the occasion.  It is a great packet.  The students work in groups of 4 and go through it page by page with their calculator to hopefully see some patterns emerge as they compare similarities and differences along the way.  Eventually, they are asked to try one without the calculator and this is where it gets hairy and they start to see that they don't really get it yet.  I let them struggle, talk to each other, finish it at home, just to make some sense of it.  It is good for them.  Then, the next class, we will share out and see what they come up with.  I will answer questions and try to make the connections if they aren't seeing them.  New this year, I came up with a practice worksheet for the second day.  I must say, I think it is beautiful.  Thanks @desmos! 

Graphing Polynomial Investigation Lab

Here is the follow up:  Poly Graphing Practice  It looks a little funny in drop box.  It is supposed to be two pages, each with a 2x3 table on it. 

Have fun graphing!

Spoons - Rational Expression Style

In Algebra 2, we are learning how to simplify, add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational expressions.  They always need a good day of practice to let it sink in.

First, I started them off working in partners with 5 row game examples.  They have different problems that should lead to the same answer.  If they don't get the same answer, they switch papers and find the other person's mistake.  They did well with this.
Row Games - Rational Expressions

Then, they were ready to move onto a whole class competitive activity called Spoons.  I was so excited to try this after I read it on This website.  It was a lot to create the activity.  In total, it is only 6 questions with 6 answers plus I added some incorrect solutions.  However, it took some time to get everything ready.  I put 4 of the same problem on one page and printed those out and cut them out.  Students worked in groups of four, so I clipped them together.  I have one class of 18 and one class of 29.  I did this yesterday with my small class and it went well.  I am a bit nervous to do it in my big class, but I will.  So, it was a lot of printing, cutting, and paperclipping for the problems.  Then, for the answers, I did 8 of each answer, cut them out, glued them to a big index card, and brought them to the library to get laminated - love laminating!  ***Be sure you don't have any mistakes or typos before you laminate.  I did, it is a bummer.

I had the kids move into groups and use a little table in the middle to put all the answer cards on, face down and off to work they went.  It was competitive, it was crazy, but they had fun.  It took about 20 minutes to do the 6 questions.

Here is the activity: Spoons - Rational Expression

Oh, and I added this in the directions of the activity, you may want to add a picture of a spoon to the back of the index card before you laminate it.  I wish I had.  I explained the whole game and we played it and class time was almost up and a student said, "But, wait, we didn't get to play spoons yet."  Hmmmm.

By the way, when I was talking to my colleagues about doing this, I was surprised how many people have never heard of the real spoons game.  I think we need to play it!

3 Math Man Daily Drawings

I don't know how @JustinAion does his blog posts of Math Man Daily, but here are three of my past ones.  I have to say I love them and I think the kids do too.  I am doing these in my Accelerated Algebra 2 kids with really bright, creative sophomore students.  They tell me they like the ones that can be punny.  They even ask me in the hallway what will be next.  I am enjoying this and hope to be able to keep it up.
Design a tattoo for Math:

Notice i for eyes.
I heart Ellen (as in Degeneres)
"Insert BGao here" is a really smart kid at our school.
A log on the right arm (I thought it was a trash can)

If Math went on vacation, where would he go? (I don't think these need any explanations.)

And, they really liked this one, what is Math's theme song?  They thought "logs" could be substituted into any song title for the word "Love".  There are some good ones here:

 Hmmm, what will Monday bring?

Making up for no January Blog...

All January I was feeling like a bad blogger.  I love to read math blogs and I love seeing my favorites post new posts.  But, in January, I just didn't have anything to share. But, then I kind of decided, I was like a mad scientist busy at work.  So, when I came home this morning from the gym and no one was home - none of my four kids, not my husband, and most importantly not the two crazy dogs - I thought, ahhhhh, I can blog!

Thanks to @Justinaion for giving me the ideas for Daily Math Man drawings.

And, thanks to @wmukluk for finally getting me to sign up for dropbox.  Now, to figure out how to get them into my blogs.  (I just typed my other blog posts and figured out dropbox.  It is so easy, I love it! Thanks Wendy!)

Monday, February 3, 2014

If MATH was a food....

Thanks to Justin and his blog: http://relearningtoteach.blogspot.com/ and sharing his prompt ideas in a google doc, I decided to try to have students to get creative in math.  I was debating if I wanted to it with my alg 1 or alg 2 students.  I feel like I do more fun stuff with my Algebra 1 kids, so Algebra 2 students won.

My first prompt today was "If MATH was a food, what would it be?" (they can't use pi).  It took a little bit of thinking but then they got rolling.  Here are some pictures: