Quadratics and Writing on the Desks!

24 January 2014
I love letting the kids write on their desks.  Dry erase markers easily erase off the desks in my classroom.  Sometimes I give the kids markers and have them work problems on their desks instead of using scratch paper or white boards.  It's so funny in my honors class because you can tell that they feel like they're being bad, but getting away with it.  It's so funny to watch at the beginning of the year.

Anyway, we just started our unit on polynomials in my Algebra 2 Honors class.  We finished the lesson about quadratics (vertex, axis of symmetry, etc) about halfway through class.  So, I made them put all of their notes and calculators away, but I left this on the board.  

Quadratics and Writing on the Desks!  graphing quadratics  |  mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


Then, I passed out markers and had the kids (in pairs) practice matching graphs and equations.  I used this activity by Caryn Loves Math on TeachersPayTeachers as a springboard.

The students were given graphs, equations in standard form, and equations in general form.  I also had them list the following information to go with each graph:
  • x-intercepts
  • y-intercepts
  • vertex
  • axis of symmetry
  • domain/range
  • odd/even/neither
  • opens up/down
Quadratics and Writing on the Desks!  graphing quadratics  |  mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Quadratics and Writing on the Desks!  graphing quadratics  |  mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

A lot of them finished in less than 20 minutes.  They were superstars.  My crazy, bouncy sophomores can work fast!  I really liked the activity and want to use it again next year.  I'm going to laminate the sheet with the graphs so that they will last longer  :)









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Right Triangles Unit

16 January 2014
A Peek Inside My Right Triangles Unit - Freebies Included!

Mrs. GeometryTeacherFriend and I have been working hard on our Right Triangle Unit, which we start Tuesday.  She has been been doing a lot of work updating the homework assignments and I have been planning the activities and daily practice.  The goal is to make this a richer unit than it was last year.  It drives me nuts when we get to area and solids and students can't remember special right triangle rules.  This year, I'm going to try to make them practice, practice, practice.  I don't care if they can reason through it, I want it to be automatic as well.  

Anyway, this is the plan for the unit.  It is a typical breakdown of what each unit I do looks like.  Believe it or not, this will suffice as my lesson plans for the whole unit (I don't have to turn in lesson plans.)  I do bell work at the beginning of every class.  I usually make it up every morning.  However, sometimes I have special bell work planned.  My class periods are normally 45 minutes, but occasionally we have block periods.

Day 1 - Pythagorean Theorem
Pythagorean Theorem Notes
Pythagorean Theorem Word Problem Task Cards - I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the task cards yet.  I'll probably decide on the fly.  I only have one set printed, so we'll probably play Scoot! or do white board practice.

A Peek Inside My Right Triangles Unit - Freebies Included!

Day 2 - Converse of the Pythagorean Theorem 
Mini-Lesson (Reminder) of Simplifying Radicals  - We'll just work through these problems together.
Converse of Pythagorean Theorem Notes

Day 3 - Similar Right Triangles
Simplifying Radicals Matching Cards  - (as long bell work) They'll work with their partners and go through each set matching a radical expression to it's simplified version.
Similar Right Triangles Notes - This lesson takes FOREVER because the kids have a really hard time remembering the relationships.  It will take more than half of the class period, but that's ok.

A Peek Inside My Right Triangles Unit - Freebies Included!

Day 4 - Review
Start Homework in Class

A Peek Inside My Right Triangles Unit - Freebies Included!

Day 5 - 45-45-90 Triangles
Short Discovery Activity
45-45-90 Triangles Notes
Start Homework in Class

Day 6 - 30-60-90 Triangles (75 minute class period)
30-60-90 Triangles Notes
Special Right Triangles Trashketball 

Day 7 - Review
Day 8 - Mid-Unit Test

Day 9 - Tangent Ratio
Short Discovery Activity
Tangent Ratio Notes
Start Homework in Class

Day 10 - Sine, Cosine, Tangent
Sine, Cosine, Tangent Notes

Day 11 - Angles of Depression and Elevation
Short Trig Ratios Quiz
Angles of Depression and Elevation Notes

Day 12 - Review
Day 13 - Unit Test

Phew!  It really took a lot of planning.  The students have homework every night.  We changed a lot of the textbook problems, so we had to type up new homework keys for all of the assignments.   #teacherproblems

If you're teaching right triangles anytime soon, I hope it helps to get a glimpse into my class :)  Do you have anything you especially like to do during this unit?







Enjoy the Ride! Roller Coasters - Part 2

15 January 2014
My students finished their roller coasters and they look great!  

My students kept running into problems with the marbles sticking on the tape.  We had a discussion about friction (and working neatly and precisely).  A couple of groups put their funnel on crooked, which caused the funnel to not work properly.  A clever student got out his phone and used the level to make sure it was straight.  

We had a competition for the "best" roller coaster.  They were scored on the length of the ride (time), staying within budget, quality of construction, and creativity.  

This is the roller coaster that won.  The group that used the level for the funnels ended up with the longest ride because the marble ended up taking forever going around the funnel (like it was supposed to).  

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


Here are the other three roller coasters.
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


This week, my students are playing Roller Coaster Tycoon.  It's a computer game where the students can build theme parks and roller coasters.  They have different specifications every day.  Today's specifications are to get the maximum g-force, use three inversions, and have a ride time of at least 2 minutes.  They're enjoying it so far.

I've enjoyed teaching this class.  I hope to teach it again next year.








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Enjoy the Ride! Roller Coasters - Part 1

09 January 2014
Back to school!

At my school, this week and next week are "Interim Term".  Teachers teach all kinds of unique classes and students only take 3 block-style classes.  All of the students have to take a "Grade Level Learning" class.  These include College Counseling (juniors), Surviving High School (Freshmen), and Making Good Choices (Sophomores).  Anyway, there are all kinds of cool classes going on this week.  There's Sewing, Italian Culture and Language, the Disney Empire, Salsa Dancing, App Design, and all kinds of other things.  Also, teachers are allowed to co-teach classes.  I'm teaching with another teacher now and it's awesome!  My class during Interim Term is titled "Engineering Fun:  The Science of Roller Coasters".

The first day, we watched a National Geographic Megastructures video of the building of a roller coaster.  It was a little long, but it really illustrated for the kids just how long and intricate the process is.  Then, they completed this activity that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Students used the situation given to determine how many people visited a theme park on a given day and to decide if it was economical to build a second roller coaster.  It was a really good activity.  Since I have mixed levels of students (Freshmen to Juniors, Lower Level kids to Honors Level kids), the activity didn't work with the class as well as I had hoped.  Some of the kids were hopelessly bored, while some really struggled.  I plan to use the activity again next year, but I think I will put them in groups to work on it.

The rest of this week, the students were building a roller coaster!  They are using card stock and tape to build a track for the marble.  I found this great template on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The students have certain specifications that they must meet and a budget.  Here are some pictures of the process so far.

This is how their basic support structures started to look:
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


Assembling the pieces:
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


A little further along:
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

I am so excited to see these projects take shape!  The kids have been working really well together and I love some of the conversations I've been hearing (lots of physics words flying around).  They will have some time tomorrow to work, then we're doing timed trials and structure stress tests.  I'll give you an update!








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