Three Strategies to Help Improve Students’ Conception of Math – Part 2: Do Useful Math

In my previous post, I discussed one way to provide tasks that help students reimagine the discipline of mathematics: doing creative math. This post discusses the second of three strategies: doing useful math. To me, the interesting thing about math is that it is at once a plaything with seemingly no utility and an immensely … Continue reading Three Strategies to Help Improve Students’ Conception of Math – Part 2: Do Useful Math

Projects: what they’ll remember in 20 years

This is a post in the ongoing Emergent Math mini-series: Routines, Lessons, Problems, and Projects. I graduated high school twenty years ago this year. What's remarkable is how little I actually remember about my classes. I remember certain feelings I had towards particular teachers or classes, but not the actual classroom action itself. There are three exceptions. … Continue reading Projects: what they’ll remember in 20 years

Counting Idling Cars: An Elementary Math Project Based Learning Unit

I'm sitting in my car, waiting to pick up my son from school. It's too cold to wait outside  this time of year so I keep the heat on, the engine running, and continue listening to the Dunc'd On Basketball Podcast, the nerdiest podcast about basketball out there. I'm also quite anti-social, so I prefer … Continue reading Counting Idling Cars: An Elementary Math Project Based Learning Unit

How does one provide the complex data of global warming to students?

Update (3/12/2013): An atmospheric scientist friend of mine, Katie, suggested a few edits to this post, primarily to clear up a few of the tools listed here. The edits are in bold.My initial thesis on this post was originally going to be "why don't teachers let students investigate global warming very often?" While this may … Continue reading How does one provide the complex data of global warming to students?

Attention Math Teachers: Slate has graciously discovered your next project

Slate.com's always entertaining "The Explainer" segment runs an always-even-more entertaining year-end segment on the Unanswered Questions of the Year in which readers are prompted to vote on the question to be answered (aside: say, that's a pretty awesome activity for a classroom. Students in the middle of a Problem vote on the question the teacher … Continue reading Attention Math Teachers: Slate has graciously discovered your next project

So, what exactly am I supposed to eat? The new MyPlate icon vs. the classic Food Pyramid vs. Geometry.

A month ago, I was considering writing a post on the old (now "old, OLD") food pyramid - you know, the one we all grew up with - and the new (now "old") food pyramid, unleashed in 2005. It would be about area of triangles and trapezoids and Geometry and possibly graphic design. See, here's … Continue reading So, what exactly am I supposed to eat? The new MyPlate icon vs. the classic Food Pyramid vs. Geometry.

The Dallas Mavericks are 2-16 in playoff games officiated by Danny Crawford. Is this statistically significant?

Artifact. This shocked me. The Mavs have a 2-16 record in playoff games officiated by Crawford, including 16 losses in the last 17 games. Dallas is 48-41 in the rest of their playoff games during the ownership tenure of Mark Cuban, who has been fined millions of dollars in the last 11 years for publicly … Continue reading The Dallas Mavericks are 2-16 in playoff games officiated by Danny Crawford. Is this statistically significant?

A stop-sign vs. a stoplight; when does each make sense? (Part 2, Math modeling)

I know it’s been a while since we visited this, but quick recap: We want to figure out when it is appropriate to have a stop-sign at an intersection versus a stoplight. In Part 1, we made some assumptions about stop-sign wait time modeling and developed an equation that gave us the total wait time … Continue reading A stop-sign vs. a stoplight; when does each make sense? (Part 2, Math modeling)