And the winner of the Flashcards is…

12 May

www.QUIZLET.com!

After attempting my own templates at creating flashcards on Word and Excel, a student showed me this site and I cried, “HOORAH!!!!”

FINALLY! A website that gets it! At least for flashcard needs.

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 9.08.21 PMPROS:

  • It’s FREEEEEEE!!! At least until you need to upload your own images. Otherwise, it’s $15/ year. I happily paid it so that I can freely use screen captures and whatnot for geometry figures and algebra graphs.
  • They have an APP for it!!! Tap to flip, swipe for next card. Awesome.
  • Super easy and clean spaces for you to put in your words.
  • They have multiple languages you can type in, including MATH. =)
  • Your students can look you up and freely print your sets, or even create their own sets!
  • And my favorite?! They have 5 different print options!!! –>

CONS:

  • You can’t input images on both sides. Therefore, my cards are not all flipped in the same direction. I print, cut, and rearrange which way they should face, if and when it matters.

You can see the sets I have already created by searching my full name, jinnahwang (or by clicking here). I like to create class sets for them to practice with and have my own set to do my verbal vocab with. I’ve had students often ask me if they can get a copy and its always been clunky in printing out a PDF and then posting it on my website. I LOVE the print and fold flashcards as well so I can quickly print them on regular paper for students who are not-so-web-savvy and they can create them at home.

Love it!

Toblerone Challenge –> Can Top Challenge

28 Apr

Here was another fun one.

The Word file here: Toblerone Challenge

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A few logistics:

  • They got to work either alone or in partners. Winner gets ONE Toblerone bar, so if partnering up, they must share.
  • 20 minutes was all that they had. After the Play-doh activity the previous day, they understood that the winner would be the BEST net for this Toblerone box in those 20 minutes. No extension of time.
  • Only one sheet of cardstock was actually passed out to the groups. All other materials were available to them for pickup, if they needed- rulers, scissors, compasses, protractors. They had to build everything until they needed the gluing, pretending like I was the one who will be gluing (there was no glue involved).
  • Collect all nets immediately and put them aside to determine winner when they are doing classwork.
  • At the end of class, when announcing the winner, I took apart the real Toblerone box under the doc cam to see how the actual engineers did it. I then wrapped the chocolate bar w/ the winning net and awarded the winners their chocolate.
  • Hw was to find the lateral area, base area, and total surface area of the box.

Immediately after they turned in their net and before any kind of clean-up, there was a 5-minute bonus challenge.

Screen Shot 2013-04-28 at 11.36.11 PM

I had the actual can in my hands w/ the actual label on it. The label was only taped down on one side so I could show how it wraps around the can and opens up to be a rectangle. I pretty much laid it all out save handing the can to them. I think I still only had about 2 groups per class understand how to find the perfect circle to go on top of the can. Most of them just eyeballed it. Ha!

Winners of that challenge got a mystery can that I had pulled the label off of last year for last year’s lesson. At least the expiration date was on there to prove it wasn’t expired yet! They just wouldn’t know what it contained until they actually opened it. Heh.

Play-Doh Solids

28 Apr

(The lessons from this chapter are not coming out in the proper order, but hopefully they can still be useful independently…)

20130409_161828What better way to gauge how well your students understand solids than by PLAY-DOH! This was tons of fun.

Each team got one tub of Play-Doh, some fishing string (to cut), and a plastic knife. The Play-Doh had to rotate hands every challenge. The challenges were on Powerpoint, one challenge per slide.

First slide, person #1: in 3 minutes, build your best… tetrahedron. GO!

At the end of the 3 minutes, everyone has to throw their hands in the air and wave ’em around like you just don’t care!… or just hold them there. I collect all the CORRECT tetrahedrons and then judge the BEST ones for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

The challenges/slides go something like this:

  • build your best tetrahedron
  • octahedron
  • dodecahedron
  • model of what the following net will build:
    tetrahedron-net
  • Regular pentagonal prism
  • Polyhedron whose cross-section is a triangle
  • model of what the following net will build:
    net_of_pyramid

You can add or subtract what you like to the slides and to the time allotted for building.

To consider for next year: Add a drawing section and have them next DRAW THE NETS to a given solid.

Raffle Tickets to Teach Perseverence

8 Apr

Again, back to this area chapter. Once the basics of finding area is taught, it’s a great chapter to get them to start thinking of different ways to solve a problem. But how do we get our little trained monkeys to do so?! Especially when they are so used to teachers teaching them exactly how to do a problem and then having them mimic our process? I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand hearing “but you didn’t teach us how to do this!” when there’s really nothing new to have taught!

Here’s one solution: Raffle tickets!

I used this for group work on one very difficult problem that required multiple steps. For example, for this chapter, ONE problem that looked similar to the following examples. (This came after finding the area of a regular polygon given the apothem and a side length.)

  1. Find the area of a regular octagon with side length 6 cm.
  2. Find the area of a regular octagon with radius 20 in

  3. Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 9.26.35 PM

  4. Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 9.28.48 PM

Every group had these hints written under their one problem:

Hints:

  • Did you try drawing a picture?
  • What do you need in order to answer the main question?
  • Can you draw any other parts that might be useful?
  • Did you try it multiple ways? (Try to re-draw, rotate the picture, split the picture, etc.)
  • Did you try using our extremely useful RIGHT triangles?
  • Did you double check your work? (Make sure you did not make any assumptions, that your answer makes sense, used units, maybe even try it a different method, etc.)
  • REMEMBER: You already have all the information you need in order to solve this problem!

Raffle Rules:

  1. Every team receives 5 raffle tickets to start.
  2. Up to 3 bonus raffle tickets will be awarded for the correct answer with proper and clear work.
  3. One bonus ticket can be earned for working well together.
  4. Each question that the teacher answers or hint that the teacher gives will cost 1 raffle ticket.
  5. Answer check is free only when the problem is finished. If correct, receive award. If incorrect, it will be made clear that there is a mistake. Each group can either try to find their own mistake without losing any tickets, OR teacher can point out where the mistake is at a cost of one  raffle ticket.

20 minutes were put up on the timer to solve just one of these problems on their own as a group of 3 or 4. In my classroom, each group also had their own large white board to work on.

And wow! did they work their butts off! It gave every student an incentive to fight through the problem. I had a couple of groups refuse any hints and tried to find the mistake themselves. I had a few groups not get the extra 3 tickets because they did not finish on time, but they still kept the first 5 so they still had a chance at the prizes at the end. It was awesome. At the end, they all wrote their group number on the back of their raffle tickets and we pulled one ticket from a shoe box and the whole group won a prize. Can’t wait to try this again soon.

My worksheets used here.

I hate EXIT tickets… but not these!

8 Apr

I know every observer loves to come in and, especially if they don’t know math pedagogy, say that I should try incorporating exit tickets.

I see what they’re saying. It’s probably better for the students than my frantic end of the period shout of, “Don’t forget to copy down your homework! Put your stuff back! BYE!” I think I just don’t believe that they help me as much as my observers seem to believe they do. Of course, there are the occasional surprises still, but not usually worth the time and paper that exit tickets take.

UNTIL!!

My new exit ticket strategy. I choose one solid problem and have them explain or justify one of their answers. Nothing new. The new part is that I only comment on these and help them improve their terrible explanations. The next day’s exit ticket is to actually rewrite the explanation but this time for an actual grade.

And they do get better!

Each problem is short enough so that it doesn’t take a ridiculously long time to grade the writing that we math teachers dread so much. And for the effort, this is actually worth it to me and I actually wish I can remember to do this more often than I can remember to…

Here is the format that I actually picked up from a CCSS speaker who was saying the same thing about the importance of rough drafts for math arguments (I’ll try to post his name soon =/)…

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I just made a bunch of copies and put them in my file so I can make up a problem on the fly if I have to.

Area of a REGULAR Polygon

8 Apr

The area chapter is so much fun! This is the chapter where I can easily say, it’s not about the formula, but coming up with the formulas. It’s not about the answer, but explaining how you found your answer. Making connections is easy to incorporate and there’s just so many activities that can be done!

To start my posts for this chapter, an activity that I love. This worksheet is to discover the area formula for a regular polygon. I really did not want to introduce yet another formula when this one is so easy to just split into triangles. However, I also wanted them to know the formula the book uses because I remember last year a bunch of students thinking the ‘a’ in (1/2)ap representing area (of what? I have no idea and neither did they.)

Sequence: After covering the area of parallelograms, triangles, rhombuses, kites, trapezoids. I had been mainly focusing on coming up w/ the formulas for a rhombus, kite, and trapezoid using the area formulas for parallelograms, triangles, and rectangles only.

Time of activity: 30 minutes?

Introduce: Vocab words, “apothem” and “radius” of a regular polygon. (Review “regular”).

Execution: Partner work.

A snippet of what the activity looked like:

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 8.21.37 PM

It goes on for a few more questions, but my favorite part that I added is this one:

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 8.22.04 PMThey did a pretty swell job of figuring out why, I just had to help them a bit in actually getting it into writing.

Full activity here, on my very baby-bud of a Geometry site.

Note (to self): ADD problem w/ connection of A=(1/2)ap to the area of a circle!

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Trained gratitude

10 Mar

20130310-135644.jpg

Oh, the things that can make a teacher’s day! -finding nice rulers, 4 for a $1! And cute little erasers for a $1.50.

And the best thing about it? I’ve trained my classes with janky wooden rulers that are so bumpy and dirty that they will actually appreciate these rulers as raffle gifts!