Math = Love

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Must Reads: Volume 11

It's time for another Monday Must Reads! Thankfully, it's a much less hectic Monday than last week due to the fact that the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Ceremony has come and gone. In case you missed it on Twitter, I didn't win. And, I'm completely okay with that. The winner is a fantastic and inspiring lady, and I'm certain she is perfect for the job of OK ToY! I'm 100% at home in the classroom (the same cannot be said for giving speeches on a stage!), and I'm super excited that I will get to continue teaching in the classroom next year. Otherwise, how would I come up with ideas to blog about?!?



Mrs. Riley shares a graphic with different division-related vocabulary. For the past few years, I've taught my students about the word "vinculum." But, "obelus" and "virgule" are new to me!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/ThisIsMaryEllen/status/911755694117752833
Ms. Lindley has one of the coolest word walls I have ever seen. How awesome is this density display?!? If you're a science teacher, it's worth checking out her twitter feed to see other science word walls!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/LindleyScience/status/911237500454281217
Sarah DiMaria shows students the usefulness of polynomials by having them plan a trip for an unknown number of people!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MsDiMaria/status/911016303489626113
Anna Vance used whiteboard paint on her cabinets to make more space for her students to work around the classroom. Awesome idea!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/TypeAMathLand/status/910901365949566976
Michelle Russell engages her students in solving for z-scores by challenging them to complete a small puzzle. This makes me wish I was teaching stats this year!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/michel1erussel1/status/910984855940419586
I'm a big fan of using dry erase pockets (affiliate link) in the math classroom! So, I'm super excited to see this solving equations chart shared by Lori B. Knox.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/doctor_knox/status/910906893773807616
Shaun Carter combined painters tape, laminated letter cards, and magnets to create an engaging-hands-on geometry lesson about angles and transversals.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/theshauncarter/status/910927986542686209
Madelyne Bettis empowers students to take control of their own learning in the classroom by providing a self-check system.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/Mrs_Bettis/status/910816663448244225
For the second year in a row, I have had my math concepts students make mobiles using construction paper and stickers. When I shared a picture of this year's mobiles, Andrew Gael shared his own project he does with students that definitely knocked my socks off. Andrew has his students make different shapes, fill the different shapes with different numbers of beans, and create an actual mobile! I. Am. Impressed.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/bkdidact/status/910710440572936192
Mr. Fredericks put a twist on the classic line-up structure. Students had to put themselves in order according to their guesses without talking!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MrFreds2200/status/910658878638981120
David Butler comes up with the coolest activities for his weekly 100 Factorial events! I've seen the four color theorem plenty of times before. But, I've never seen it turned into a competitive game!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/DavidKButlerUoA/status/910312037753827329
David also created a very interesting problem called "Zero Zeros" that I need to spend some time thinking about!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/DavidKButlerUoA/status/909175197466378245

Need to teach piecewise functions? Susan Russo has you covered with an awesome real-life scenario to motivate your graphing. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/Dsrussosusan/status/910670782954721280
Kathryn Kubena has a way of appealing to your sweet tooth and making you wish you taught geometry all at the same time. The idea of using marshmallows as points and candy corn as arrows is BRILLIANT.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/mskubenaBHS/status/910612528459214848
Rick Barlow gets his students up and moving around the classroom while practicing their vocabulary. I love everything there is to love about his vocabulary party idea! Can't wait to try this in my own classroom! Check out his blog post here with more details!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/rickbrlw/status/909893966568361984
Need to teach the difference between discrete and continuous? Meredith Purser had the great idea to bring some props to class!

Image Source: https://twitter.com/MeredithPurser/status/909906760613449728
Laura Vogel brings graphing data to life by having her students GROW their own data. Yes, I want to be that kind of teacher! #teachergoals

Image Source: https://twitter.com/elle_ay_vee/status/909833868559224832
Years ago, I blogged about using fast food combo meals to teach the distributive property. Stephanie Goldberg took it up a FEW notches by having her students build their own combo meals with the most adorable stickers I have ever seen.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/sjgoldedu/status/909807419785662470
Joe Cossette shares posters of three actionable norms he plans on implementing in his classroom this year. I think we should all aspire to follow these in our own classrooms.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/cossettej/status/905194909522649093

 Until next week's post, keep sharing your classroom awesomeness!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Free Scientific Method Posters from Scholastic

At the beginning of my career, I ran across a set of free scientific method posters from Scholastic. I remember thinking to myself, "These are so cute. I almost wish I was a science teacher!"

Fast forward a few years. I'm now teaching chemistry after teaching physical science last year. This means I can finally hang them up in my classroom!


I thought the posters were missing something, so I whipped up a "Scientific Method" header to hang on top. You can download my file for this scientific method header poster here.

Eventually I will get around to sharing pictures of all the posters in my new classroom!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Question Stack Explanation Card

I'm currently in the process of making more question stacks for my Algebra 1 classes. Every year, students are a bit confused when I introduce the practice structure. Often, they are talking or day dreaming when I am giving the crucial instructions, and they end up wasting a lot of time.

This year, I've decided to make a template for students to use with their question stack cards that has the instructions printed on it.

Here's what I've come up with:

I've printed them on peach paper and laminated them.


You can download the file here.

Want to see the question stacks I have created thus far and posted on my blog?
Factoring Trinomials
Rationalizing the Denominator
Adding and Subtracting Polynomials in Function Notation
Operations with Radicals
Evaluating Expressions
Rational Expressions
Fraction Operations


More coming soon!

Friday, September 22, 2017

How Many Elements Can You Name?

Just a quick post today to share a quiz I recently wrote for my chemistry class. It's a quiz to see how many of the elements they already know before we delve into our study of the periodic table.

I don't expect my students to be able to name all 118 elements. Hello, I can't even do that myself! But, I do want to emphasize to my students that there are 118 elements. The numbers are there only for students to keep track of how many they can remember. They do not need to know the atomic number for each element and place it correctly. Though, maybe the quiz could be used for this later in the year???

You can download the file here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

War Activity for Practicing Absolute Value, Opposite, Reciprocal, and Opposite Reciprocal

I might have went a bit crazy when I started making activities for our first skill of the year in Algebra 1. So, you'll have to put up with quite a few posts involving activities for practicing absolute value, opposite, reciprocal, and opposite reciprocal.


Today, I want to share a war activity I created. My sister and I loved playing war when we were kids. Most games weren't that exciting. Whoever had the most aces almost always won. But, there was just something exciting about throwing down a card to see whose card had the highest value.

While the traditional card game is only played with two people, this practice activity can work with two, three, or even four students in a group. Each group gets a set of cards. The cards are printed on two different colors of paper and laminated.


The yellow cards are criteria cards. There are fifteen cards. Three each of five types: original number, absolute value, opposite, reciprocal, and opposite reciprocal.


The criteria cards get shuffled and placed in the center of the playing area. The rest of the cards are distributed evenly according to the number of players.


The top card on the deck of criteria cards is turned over. This card tells the players how the winner will be decided. The player whose original number is the greatest will win. Original number is the easiest because students don't have to do anything to their numbers to determine the winner.


Each player turns over the top card on their deck.


8 is the highest original number, so the other two players give their cards to the player who had 8. These cards are placed on the bottom of the winner's stack.


Now, let's change the criteria card and flip over some new numbers. This time, students have to find the opposite reciprocal of their numbers.


1/3's opposite reciprocal is negative while the others are positive, so that player doesn't win. 1/3 > 1/8, so the face-up cards are given to the player with -3.


Up next: Opposite


The opposite of -7 is 7 which is the highest value of any of the opposites (7, 6, 1/4).


Next Round: Absolute Value


My students really enjoyed this game! They had quite a bit of trouble comparing fractions to determine which was larger. I spent a lot of time going around and helping students figure out which values were bigger when fractions were involved. This is something they should have mastered in middle school, but we'll just have to keep practicing comparing numbers until they get it!

Here are a few action shots:










You can download the file for this activity here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Add Em Up Activity for Non-Standard Operations

Non-standard operations are one of the skills that are in the new Oklahoma standards that weren't in the old standards. So, I need to work on building up activities for this topic. I decided to create an Add Em Up activity to give my students practice with these weird looking problems.

Students are given four problems. When all four problems are complete, the sum of the four answers should match the number in the center. This allows students to check their work. If their sum doesn't match, it's time for them to start rechecking their work!

You can give all four problems to one student, or you can give the set of four problems to a group and have each student do one of the problems. Either way works! I prefer to have each student do all four problems myself.

Here are the two problem sets I created: 


You can download the file here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Evaluating Expressions Interactive Notebook Pages

We kicked off our lesson on evaluating expressions with the parenthetical promise. Every year, I force my students to make the following promise to me: I, _____________, do hereby promise that I will always use parentheses whenever I substitute values into an algebraic expression. I make them sign the promise and date it.


Every year, I seem to have a few who don't want to play along. This year, I didn't have any of those because I told them that the students who didn't play along with the promise last year ended up failing the quiz. I think this year's freshman class may still be scared of me...


Though I've done this for multiple years now, I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first year that I've made a point of showing my students the importance of using parentheses when evaluating expressions. Can you believe that?!? In the past, I've just assumed that students would take my word that it was important. No wonder some students didn't want to play along...


As a class, we worked out the same problem two ways: with parentheses and without parentheses. Look, we got two different answers! See, class, I told you that parentheses are important!

But, now we have two different answers. How do my students know that 3 really is the incorrect answer and 11 is the correct answer? Should they just blindly trust me with this too? To reassure my students that Mrs. Carter really does know what she is talking about, I had my class get out their calculators (TI-30XS) so that I could teach them a nifty calculator trick. I walked them through the steps of storing -2 for x in their calculators. Then, I challenged them each to type x^2 - 2x + 3 in their calculators. Every student in the class got their calculator to read 11. That means that when our calculators substitute in values for variables, they use parentheses, too! See, Mrs. Carter is telling the truth!

Next, we glued in our first pocket of the year. I pre-printed the steps for evaluating expressions on the pocket. Super proud of how it turned out!


Inside the pocket, we put four practice problems that we completed. See all those lovely parentheses?!?






Finally, I gave my students a "One Incorrect" puzzle from Greta Bergman to solve. Students had to evaluate expressions until they found the one that didn't equal 36. Students are always eager to get their work checked when they get an answer that isn't 36. Usually, I find some error in their work, point it out to them, and send them back to re-work the problem. So, they end up getting LOTS of practice!


Files can be downloaded here.