Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Innovation Day and other Stuff!

Well , all my students have decided on an innovation day project. They will start working on them this Friday. They are doing all sorts of activities. Learning massage, writing songs, doing art work, minecraft education tutorials, cooking, and more! I have great students. I can't wait to see the end products.

My Geometry classes have been working on Trigonometry and they have struggled. They had to turn in an infographic with Properties of Triangles. My expectations were pretty high. I was a little disappointed. BUT, we move on! Monday students will start a bridge building design and engineering project. I have done these projects in the past. However, I have never used manilla file folders as the construction material. We will talk about the engineering and measurement of stress on the parts of the bridge. Westpoint Bridge Building Projects are very well organized and worth the time. They also have a great downloadable Bridge Design program available for students to test their designs.  This unit will fit nicely with our recently completed unit on Triangles and Trigonometry.

In MATH APPS, we have completed two units, one on game playing and probability. Have you ever played Pig Dice? What is your strategy for winning DEAL OR NO DEAL or  YAHTZEE? Our other unit has been: FERMI problems. I have to give credit to Ethan Bolker and Maura Mast, authors of COMMON SENSE MATHEMATICS: a quantitative reasoning course. They have given me permission to use the material from their College Quantitative Reasoning Course. I love the way they present great REAL LIFE MATH. I have been learning along with the students. Did you know you can pay for a Harvard Degree by collecting cans and bottles. It has been done and we proved it is possible. OR, did you know you can actually get paid to plant trees AND you can make great money doing it? How many trees do you think you could plant in a day? How about 4,000 trees? The range is between 1,000 and 4,000 trees. Can you verify that we throw away enough plastic silverware to circle the globe 300 times? We have looked into drop-out rates, FBI fingerprints, and more. Let me say, "You can't believe everything you read on the internet, but you can do a lot of MATH checking facts!

I am having a great time teaching this small class of students. We have been blogging, tweeting, researching, calculating, and THINKING about numbers and math. Our newest unit is about MONEY. We are studying Payday Loans, Rent-to-Own, Mortgages and foreclosures, Interest rates, and cost of living comparisons now vs 50 years ago. Again, I would love to take credit for this unit, but I was able to compile this unit from a book called 25 Real Life Math Investigations that will ASTOUND Teachers and Students. I can't express how fun it is to TEACH MATH IN CONTEXT of real life.  I also LOVE TO SEARCH for classroom resources. I remember the drudgery of teaching out of a textbook every day, trying to answer the question, "When am I ever going to use this?" I don't hear that question when we are going through these types of units. It is not always easy and it takes a lot of TIME. However, it IS worth it!

I love teaching and spending time with my amazing students. I can't think of a better way to spend my day! 

Resources on Payday Loans

My Math Apps class is studying payday loans. The Math is amazing. The appeal of these loans to the poor or emergency use over-rules the logic of NOT paying a 400%+ interest rate. Here are some resources:

How Payday loans work

Payday Loans - National Consumer Law Center

No Loan Sharks

Huffington Post Article: Banks Increasingly Use Payday Loans Despite Crackdown On Predatory Lending: Study

CNBC: Crackdown Needed in Predatory Lending

How short term lending becomes long term debt

Friday, February 1, 2013


Today you need to finalize your "INNOVATION DAY" Project Details in your blog.  You need to describe your project including the following:

WHAT is the main focus of your project? - Summarize in ONE SENTENCE, what your project is about. 

WHY is this important to you? - describe why you chose this project, how it reflects your interests and how it fits into your future plans.

HOW are you going to complete this project? - make a list of things you need to complete this project. Include the details of the format of your project. Will you make a video, Powerpoint, recording, an ACTUAL product, or some other product.

WHEN do you need to be done with your details? - set goal dates to reach your deadline. You have the following dates in class to work on your project: February 1st, 15th, 22nd, March 1st, 8th, and 15th.