Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Snapshot: 6 Coordinate Plane Designs

The sixth grade is exploring integers. They are looking at the multiple uses of integers and applications of integers. One application we have used extensively are integers on a coordinate plane.  Students have plotted points, read points from a coordinate plane, identified the origin, and identified trends for each of the four quadrants. 

As an extension exercise, the students had to design their own coordinate plane design. They will get feedback from a peer who will complete them for homework. 

Check out the variety of designs!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Snapshot: 7A Expanding our Understanding of Exponents

7A had a lively discussion that helped to expand our understanding of exponents. We began with what we knew about positive whole number exponents with base 10 (blue ink). When we arrived at 10 to the zero power, the class had to figure what made sense. They proposed that the answer could be 0, 1, or 10. We then took arguments for each possible solution. It was rewarding to see their pattern recognition skills come into focus. The two clarifying explanations are in green ink. NSK noticed that the difference in the standard forms was a 9000, 900, 90, and 9 and rationalized that 10^0 had to be 1 for the pattern to continue.  EH noticed that the pattern between values was to divide by 10 so the next number in the pattern was 1. This convinced us that 10^0 power was 1. Then they tackled 10 to the power of negative 1. There was much debate about whether the negative exponent would make the number negative. Logic prevailed and we applied our patterns from before to extrapolate that negative exponents made them fractions. It was invigorating to hear the healthy debate and hypotheses being shared.  

I was excited to hear the new questions that were then generated by these new discoveries:

"Can you have two to the power of 4 to the power of 2? Can powers have power?"

"Can exponents be fractions?"

The doors have been opened to a whole new world. Check back for other musings and discoveries.

Snapshot: 6 Math Challenge - MBA

This week the sixth graders took on their second math challenge, Modern Basketball Association. There was significant progress made in finding a variety of ways to show their thinking. Above is a sampling of the many ways 6B was able to document their thinking and illustrate their reasoning. We began evaluating which strategies were clarifying and what made them so successful. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Event: Evening with Dr. Jo Boaler, Standford Professor

The Mindset Revolution: How to Help Children Learn and Love Math

In this presentation Dr. Boaler will share the latest brain science that sheds important new light on the best ways to learn math. She will also engage the audience through videos of students learning math in different ways and share a wealth of resources to help students on their mathematics journeys.

December 7th, 2016 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto
750 N California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Free child care is available.

PLEASE RSVP: http://goo.gl/forms/kb00AQ44fD

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Event: Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival in San Mateo on Nov. 21, 2015

Registration has just opened for the November 21, 2015 Julia Robinson Math Festival in San Mateo. Two years ago, I took a group of BPC students to this event and we had a terrific time exploring math in a collaborative environment. I highly recommend this event if you have the time to check it out!

Register here