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

## Where does a letter occur in a word? A matching activity

Whenever and however we come back together as math classes this Fall, we're going to need to spend considerable time building up students' mathematical identities. Chances are students are going to be entering your classroom with a wider array of math learning experiences over the prior six months than ever before. Therefore we need a … Continue reading Where does a letter occur in a word? A matching activity

## Where inquiry and methods intersect

Had a nice, quick twitter conversation with Anna (@borschtwithanna) yesterday morning. Anna reached out with a question about providing methods in an inquiry-based classroom. If you teach PBL or PrBL, do you teach students standard algorithms too? @emergentmath @SchettinoPBL @NatBanting — Anna Blinstein (@Borschtwithanna) October 23, 2014 Anna was conflicted due to her students' unwillingness … Continue reading Where inquiry and methods intersect

## Larry Ellison, billionaire CEO, makes unsound business decisions with regards to his basketball playing on his yacht.

Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle, has gobs and gobs of money. How much money? Well enough that he can do this. Boy that seems wasteful, doesn't it. I mean, when I'm playing basketball on my yacht and I lose a ball into the ocean I just purchase an extra basketball. Wouldn't it make … Continue reading Larry Ellison, billionaire CEO, makes unsound business decisions with regards to his basketball playing on his yacht.

## This High School football coach plays “Would You Rather” Math, and so should you

Add "Would You Rather?" to your bookmarks. Phrasing math problems in terms of "Would You Rather" is simple and brilliant. I love this framework for three reasons: 1) It's relatable. We've all wondered whether it's more efficient to mow the lawn in concentric rectangles or in stripes. We've all run. We've all argued with other … Continue reading This High School football coach plays “Would You Rather” Math, and so should you

## If the sun is an 8 foot diameter balloon, what is Pluto?

Artifacts The following clips are cribbed from Nova: The Pluto Files in which Neil deGrasse Tyson sets up a model of the heavenly bodies of our solar system, comparing their sizes relative to the sun and each other. Not all of the clips were able to be chopped to give the appropriate bleep sound. So we … Continue reading If the sun is an 8 foot diameter balloon, what is Pluto?

## Hot Rod Quadratics: Let’s jump this jump!

Artifact Hot Rod is one of those movies that's incredibly dumb the first time watching it. The second time watching it, it's still incredibly dumb, but it gets funnier with each passing viewing. It's basically just an excuse for Andy Samberg to to Andy Samberg things for 90 minutes. I'm ok with that. Anyway, this … Continue reading Hot Rod Quadratics: Let’s jump this jump!

## Let them get it wrong: Caloric Quandary

Artifact & Facilitation I must have cylinders on the brain. Maybe because they're actually one of the few traditional geometric shapes that we actually interact with on a regular basis? Maybe it's because they're readily measured? Anyway, here have a Coke can and one of those mini-Coke cans. Though it's dependent on you exactly what … Continue reading Let them get it wrong: Caloric Quandary

## What? How do YOU spend your two-hour school delays?, Water Content in a Snow Cylinder

As anyone in town for NCTM in Denver know, it's been a bit snowy here this week. In fact, Fort Collins just had its biggest snowfall of the year. But how big? We had a two hour school delay this morning as my daughter and I were greeted by this on our back doorstep. "Wow … Continue reading What? How do YOU spend your two-hour school delays?, Water Content in a Snow Cylinder

## Evaluating energy efficiency claims

Artifact This (or other) energy efficient light bulb package(s). So many opportunities here, depending on how targeted you want to be. Or, if you prefer, what kind of problem you plan to facilitate. There's a clear nod to systems of linear equations (when one compares the time of payoff). There's also an opportunity for some … Continue reading Evaluating energy efficiency claims