Monthly Archives: July 2014

Logic Puzzles

I’m thinking of some logic activities for Geometry such as Logic Links and logic puzzles.  I could share these on edmodo to extend the lesson with Brainbasher puzzles or Math Is Fun puzzles. I’m hoping it’s a fun way to work on critical thinking and problem solving.  I will probably introduce the logic links and logic puzzle grids with an example of 2 on the smartboard and then let the students work in groups of 2-3 to work on addition puzzles.  I want to assess the value of this and then decide the frequency of a short activity or an occasional class period 1-2 times per quarter.  I could extend to use with games I have – Mastermind, Hi- Q, Chess, Mancala (which I learned while teaching in Africa with pumpkin seeds and paper with circles),


The pace is quickening

The reality of back to school in less than 3 weeks is occurring.  We start classes 3 weeks from tomorrow.  I’ve spent the last couple of days working in my room, photocopying some new activities, planning, chatting with colleagues, etc,  Yet I enjoy the freedom to pick my schedule to come and go.  Ut;s a lot like driving.  The leisurely, sightseeing pace of the summer last month in viewing blogs, reading books, and visiting with friends at Paneras is being replaced by a faster pace of wanting to do projects and getting things.  Seems like I’m getting on the on ramp of the interstate heading to the city.  So I’m accelerating and getting on in a less populated area but the city skyline ahead of students is visible.  The student schedules will be made viewable by the students/families, so the reality will hit them too.


I use Desmos graphing calculator but much more often the TI calculator.  I am trying to learn more this summer and was wondering how to graph “holes” in rational functions.  Between a resource found with Google and the user manual, I know have learned how to graph a hole.



Edit the display of the point where the hole in the function occurs.




Now I can refer back to this post in case I forget 🙂

Alternate online graphing calulators


Short videos

Saw this article on MindShift on Ed Tech

by Annie Murphy Paul

MIT BLOSSOMS, one of the most exciting and effective uses of educational technology to help high school students learn math and science, doesn’t boast the latest in artificial intelligence or adaptive algorithms. Its secret weapon is, rather, a canny understanding of human psychology—both students’ and teachers’. Technologically speaking, its basic model could be executed with an old television and VCR.

MIT Blossoms   has a linear programming lesson “Optimizing Your Diet: What Linear Programming Can Tell You!”

Time to explore their site for other ideas

(Thought of the Graphing Stories video clips too)


Reflecting on the Cambridge O’level syllabus

Today I found myself looking at my download folder and saw a transformation board game document I downloaded last fall.  So I searched to see if I could find more on-line.  And found I had downloaded it from the nRich site of Cambridge UK.  I found the other documents connected with it and hope to use that in my geometry class.  Transformation Board Game


Since I taught for over 10 years in southern Africa using the The Cambridge O’level Syllabus I got curious and looked at the current Syllabus.  Although this is for Mauritius, it looked very familiar.  Maths teachers in the country got copies of given Mauritius exams that we used as  mock exams for out kids to practice.  I really enjoyed the connection with transformations and matrices.  In the lower level certificate they do more with instruments and on the national exams of reflections, rotations, translations and dilations.  In the O’level we did more with transformations on the Cartesian coordinate plane both with verbal descriptions and/or matrix ones.  We also did stretches and sheers.   It seems that CCSS does have a British flavour to them.  We did more on problem solving and patterns that is also becoming more popular here with the Common Core – maybe some influence from the UK.

I learned to say maths, zed (for the letter/variable z), anticlockwise (counterclockwise), made marking schemes (answer keys), revise (review), marking books (grading papers), A4 paper (8.5″x10″)  and enunciated the letter ‘t’ more clearly.

When the exam O level exam results were announce, they printed the individual name/overall result in the national newspaper – now they are posted on-line for anyone to see them in the world … I wonder if America will ever do that???

I remember attending a teacher professional development day and the discussion how to enjoy teaching and not just teaching to the national exam that culminates for any credit in the course.  It was interesting because the few of us Americans were used to the freedom of teaching material and not as concerned about national exams so we were thinking in reverse – how can we learn more about the exam (the ultimate interpretation of the syllabus) so we can help our kids do well.  And now as I teach AP Calc which so reminds me of the British style of exam, that

Group activity idea

A simple group activity that caught my eye from “Growing Exponentially”  Solving Equations

I wanted a quick and fun way to assess students’ abilities to solve equations during the first week of school, so I made this “Solving Equations – Add It Up” powerpoint. Each group of four students will have one large whiteboard on their desks (purchased from Home Depot – panel board that is cut up). Each student will solve the problem in his/her quadrant, then the students will add all their solutions together to get one final number which they will write in the middle of the board. I will only look at that final number and tell a group whether they are right or wrong. If a group is wrong, they will have to look at each other’s work and figure out where the error has been made. During the activity I will walk around and monitor student’s progress, keeping notes on my clipboard for future reference. … If a group does not have 4 students, I will ask the student who finished his/her problem first, to also solve the 4th problem. If you do not have large whiteboards, you can still have students do this activity. Students can solve their problem on an individual mini white board or sheet of paper, and then combine their answers onto one sheet in the middle of the table.