Thursday, October 29, 2015

Video: The Great Math Mystery (NOVA)

Thanks to EB2018 for sharing this video with me. We discussed the Fibonacci sequence when we were studying arithmetic sequences. Through that discussion, EB recalled this program he saw and shared it with me. The sixth graders have watched the first 6:30 minutes related to math and nature. I highly recommend the video as it ask the question, "Is math part of the natural world, or is math a construct of our mind?"

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Snapshot: 8A Applying Systems of Equations

The eighth grade is working hard to develop their algebraic tool box. They are learning the different tools used to solve systems of equations. We have practiced substitution, graphing and elimination. The class's tool of choice is elimination!  

To help us synthesize our learning, we set out to figure out which tools worked best in different scenarios. Each group was given a pair of equations to solve. They had to graph the solution, use substitution to solve the system, and use elimination to solve the system. We discussed and identified characteristics of each set of problems to help us determine which was the best tool for each scenario. Below, are the notes from our exploration. 

Our greatest challenge in this work has been keeping track negative signs, applying the distributive property, and correctly manipulating equations according to the reverse of the order of operations. 

Snapshot: 6 Math Challenges

Math Challenge 1: Rrribbitt!
An integral part of the sixth grade curriculum our the math challenges. 

The goals of the math challenges are:

  • Build problem solving strategies and tools
  • Practice communicating mathematical ideas in written & oral formats
  • Give and receive critical feedback
  • Practice working collaboratively

The math challenges are chosen because they have multiple entry points: it can be solved with numbers, solved using a drawing, or using algebra. By design, this allows us to explore problems from multiple points of views and to check our thinking and work. The class has just begun to practice how they document their thinking and how they present their work to the group.  Look forward to many more examples of our math challenge work in the coming months. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Video: TED-Ed How Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon

This is a great illustration of how exponential growth is different than multiplication. How realistic is this example? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Snapshot: 7A Four 4's Challenge

The seventh grade kicked off the school year with the Four 4's challenge. They had to use four 4's to make equations for each number between 0 and 50. They could use the operations add, subtract, multiply, divide, parentheses, exponent, and square roots. They were introduced the concept of factorials (4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24). We found patterns to find families of answers and exercised our understanding of order of operations to find solutions. The even numbers were easier to find and we are now left with the challenge of finding solutions for 31, 33, 37, 39, and 41.  

Can you figure out the missing numbers?