Friday, September 23, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept 23, 2016

It took me a while to finally put this post together but I finished it this week. I played Pokemon Go all summer with my kids and, as it turns out, there is a lot of data that can be pulled out to use in class. From single variable to scatter plots. In this post I let you know where the data is and how you can mine it with your kids. There are some sample sets already if you want where you can get started and Google forms to help you collect your own.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MAP4C, MDM4U
http://found-data.blogspot.ca/2016/09/collecting-data-from-pokemon-go.html
A couple of support posts from the Desmos team. First a guide to creating Desmos activities. But it's not the kind of guide you might be used to. When you hear "guide" you might think that this is a technical "how to" but it actually is a pedagogical how to. They give tips on how to make your activities good for students. Totally worth a read. Secondly, they continue tweak and add features to activity builder. New is their Classroom Conversion Toolkit. The anonymizer feature has been around but now there is a tool to adjust the pace of the class so kids can't go too fast as well as a tool to pause the entire class. Man, if you are not using Desmos, what is holding you up?
Curriculum Tags: All
http://blog.desmos.com/post/150453765267/the-desmos-guide-to-building-great-digital-math
http://blog.desmos.com/post/150687742062/introducing-our-classroom-conversation-toolset

We may have all played Two Truths and a Lie so why not apply it to just about any topic in math class. In this case @mathequalslove does so for significant figures. This is really good for just about any topic that is basic and boring but we need kids to practice. 
Curriculum Tags: All
http://mathequalslove.blogspot.ca/2016/09/two-truths-and-lie-with-significant.html

I love this post from @mathycathy. She starts with an example of a "teaching video" where the topic is zero exponents and all they basically do is tell students the rule and call it "magic". She is rightfully upset but exacts her revenge the MTBoS way by creating a simple Desmos activity that allows students to discover the properties of the zero exponent and finishes with a card sort.
Curriculum Tags: MPM1D, MFM2P
http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/2016/09/righteous-anger-and-activity-builder-before-and-after/

A few weeks ago I mentioned that @robertkaplinski started a movement using the hashtag #ObserveMe. Now he is offering some troubleshooting tips for when it doesn't go as you had planned.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://robertkaplinsky.com/troubleshooting-observeme/


I love this term "mathematical zombies". The idea is summed up best with this quote:
"Students who can reproduce all the steps of a problem while failing to evidence any understanding of why or how their procedures work."
Dan goes on to use the calculation of z-scores to follow through with an example of an extreme case. But the point is that it is pretty easy to have kids do mechanical calculations but if we don't want to create these zombies, we need to do something much different from what many of us received as students.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://blog.mrmeyer.com/2016/the-explanation-difference/

Call it performance art if you will but the cool thing here is that they are going to create a massive image from pixels coloured by hand using the idea that each pixel uses different intensities of red, blue and green. For one you certainly could do a lesson on how these three colours mix to make all others but you could also use it to connect to percentages.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvO4s3bW-qI

Here is the new and old version of the "how popular is your birthday" visualization. Regardless of the one you use, it does give you a false impression that some birthdays are way more popular than others. Regardless of which you like, here you can get the data collected and an interactive graph.
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U
http://thedailyviz.com/2016/09/17/how-common-is-your-birthday-dailyviz/


Some nice examples of transformations from @mrhonner
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8
http://mrhonner.com/archives/17215


Friday, September 16, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept. 16th, 2016

I never fail to point out when teachers create and share their stuff, especially when it is clear that it has taken a bit of time or take some skill. For many, creating Explain Everything files can be a chore but when you have people like @MrOrr_Geek, those who might not have the time to create these have a friend in him. In this case, its some resources on some review materials for percent for grade 11 MEL students. There are a couple of files (both dealing with percent). One is a nice re introduction to the notion of percents called Percent Pile Up and the other is a practice file called Random Winner. Of course even though he used it for grade 11 as a review, it would be appropriate all the way down to grade 7.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P, MAT1L, MAT2L, MEL3E, MEL4E
http://mrorr-isageek.com/percent-pile-up-mel3e-day-5/
http://mrorr-isageek.com/random-winner-game-mel3e-day-6/

One of the nice things about this list that @MathyCathy is sharing of Desmos activities is that it kind of does a better job of the current Desmos search engine. Her list of some of her favourite activities including this nice integer card sort is great. Add the fact that there is a nice rubric for students creating Explain Everything recordings and you've got a nice set of resources here.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/2016/09/classroom-twitter-hodge-podge/

There is a lot of talk in the educational community about Math Talks. A lot of time we hear about this stuff for elementary but this post from @dsladkey does a great job in telling us how to apply this concept to secondary school. So look at this post for ideas for 10 days of Number Talks for Secondary.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://teachhighschoolmath.blogspot.ca/2016/08/10-days-of-number-talks-for-high.html

I was reminded of this earlier this week but it never gets old. The classic "Verizon Math Fail"
Curriculum Tags: All

Not a video but audio on this NPR story on the problems with big data
Curriculum Tags: MDM4U
http://www.npr.org/2016/09/12/493654950/weapons-of-math-destruction-outlines-dangers-of-relying-on-data-analytics

Here's a fun little explanation of how logarithms are useful in a series of @BenOrlin Math with Bad Drawings. Click on the link for all the images.
Curriculum Tags: MHF4U
https://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2016/08/17/how-do-you-master-the-rhythm-of-the-logs/


Of course there is a never ending stream of these on Facebook. I think this is a nice one for patterns but check out the good (and bad) math in the comments
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P
https://www.facebook.com/themafiabossgame/photos/a.411133840755.190522.134523435755/10154099627530756/?type=3&theater

It's funny because it's true
Curriculum Tags: All

Friday, September 9, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept. 9, 2016

Well it's that time of year. Yes, yes, the start of a new school year but what I am referring to is when the Provincial EQAO results go public and then it happens: The public goes a little nutty with "we need to get back to basics" posts and articles. This is as if we don't teach "basics" anymore or that somehow that teaching the "basics" is all that is needed to be done to fix all of our math problems. I'm not gonna post all the articles I saw but I think I liked this one the best. It seemed to give some nice examples of why we try to do the things we do.
Curriculum Tags: All
https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/09/03/no-teaching-math-the-old-fashioned-way-wont-work-wells.html

 The first of a couple "first day/week" posts. The thing that caught my eye right away was the title on this post from @DaveLanovas: "Can't we just take notes?". Sure he talks about all the neat stuff that he did this week (be sure to check that out) but the sentiment that students feel the game has always been: Teacher tells us stuff, we copy it down and then repeat it back runs up against all we know about engaging students in a rich curriculum where they experience struggle as part of the design. We still have a long way to go.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://sine-of-the-times.blogspot.ca/2016/09/can-we-just-take-notes.html

We are lucky that so many teachers are willing to share their stories. And I especially like when a teacher tries to give the full story. Here @MrOrr_Geek starts off with a "First Day" post talking about all his classes but focussing on his MEL3E class. He then proceeds to do a post a day the rest of the week with all of his Essential Math antics. In this time of the "Renewed Math Strategy" here in Ontario, the focus in secondary math is supposed to be grade 9 applied. But who are we kidding, for so many schools and school boards that has been the focus in years. So it is great to see someone focussing on a course that often is given to teachers as an afterthought. This is a course that needs some tender lovin' care. If you are interesed in the overview/day by day check this link out. One thing I like about this post is that he basically does the same activities with his MHF4U class and his MEL3E class.
Curriculum Tags: MEL3E, MHF4U
http://mrorr-isageek.com/it-begins-mel3e-day-1/
http://mrorr-isageek.com/mel3e-day-2/
http://mrorr-isageek.com/mel3e-day-3/
http://mrorr-isageek.com/mel3e-day-4/

Of course people had opinions about the calls for "back to the basics". I liked this one from @msbjacobs. 
Curriculum Tags: All

I totally forgot to post this a couple of weeks ago when the news broke but after a several year hiatus, the Canadian Census was back and we had a 98..4% response rate, the highest ever. Way to go Canada. This is surely a great thing to add to any discussion of the census and surveys.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MBF3C, MDM4U, MAP4C


This is old but I was reminded of it earlier this week. If you are looking for something to connect quadratics to gravity then you might ask "Can you survive a jump from a building?". The original post was about the analysis of the fall using a neat and free piece of video analysis software called Tracker (you can read my blog post about Tracker here). It's pretty involved but really shows how you can analyze the real world with the right app.
Curriculum Tags: MCR3U, MBF3C, MCF3M
https://www.wired.com/2010/12/can-you-survive-a-jump-from-a-building/


Via @DataIsBeautiful here is a graph about the average weight of NFL rookies by position that you could use to ask inquiry questions
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MAP4C, MDM4U
http://regressing.deadspin.com/chart-the-average-weight-of-nfl-rookies-by-position-a-1490494148



Friday, September 2, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Sept. 2nd, 2016

Chance News is a wiki that takes statistics in the news and analyzes it for mistakes and interest. There is a semi regular newsletter that comes out. In it there is a section called Forsooth where they showed statistical issues presented by the media. This link is a summary of the best ones since 2005. There is a literal pile here from subjects like percent, probability, stats and more. Perfect to bring up in any class. It's not very visual but each example has a link to the original post which usually has more information.
"I realize I don't have a chance, but nobody's got a chance. So the way I look at it, I have a 50-50 chance -- either I win it or someone else wins it,’ reasoned Barrie Green, 60, after buying a single ticket Monday afternoon …."
If you are interested in the actual newsletter, you can click here to subscribe.
Curriculum Tags: All
https://www.causeweb.org/wiki/chance/index.php/Collected_Forsooths

An introductory sampling activity you could use to start to get the idea about how sampling works with a data set. There are handouts, ppts, and instructions all here.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8
http://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/learn-sampling-with-candy/


Via @rmbyrne at Free Technology for Teachers, here's a post on Two Graphing Tools for Google Docs. Even though you can use an equation editor by default, these tools allow you to do CAS and graphing right in your docs.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2016/08/two-graphing-tools-for-google-docs.html


The Math Myth - That is, the idea that all this stuff we teach our students is important. The idea from this professor is that it's not. As he points out, most engineers and actuaries that he knows don't use anything more than Excel and grade 8 math. So why do we do it all. I don't necessarily agree with his last argument but for the most part that actual "stuff" of what we teach isn't too important.
Curriculum Tags: All
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2016/09/the_math_myth.html

A couple here on the idea of Average that are related to each other (they share bits of the story). The first is a great story from the @99piorg podcast. It starts out as a history of the origins of average. Then it goes into how the notion of average helped the military but then how it was later abandoned and along the way the remnants of both of these things show up in everyday life. Click on the link below to listen. The other is a TED talk on the myth of what average is
Curriculum Tags: All
http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/on-average/


I will continue to keep adding Pokemon Go related posts as often as they come in (I think I have had at least one each week since it came out). So why stop now. How about some data on how the popularity has dropped since it peaked weeks ago? It's not super exciting but it might be topical enough for kids to be interested in analyzing. Check out all the graphs at the link below.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MDM4U, MAP4C
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/our-national-love-affair-with-pokemon-go-might-be-short-lived/



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Math Links for Week Ending Aug. 26th, 2016

Having Desmos activity builder at our finger tips now is awesome. The problem is that so many teachers are making so many activities that it's hard to keep track. Well, thanks to teachers like @greenbloch, we have some places where these activities are categorized. In this case these are activities for middle school (US based) but for us in Ontario that could mean gr 6 to gr 9. Check his document out and you will find links to graphing activities, of course, but for the younger grades there are many activities that deal with things like integers, estimation, multiplication, geometry and other categories. Check them all out at the link below. Thanks to @marybourassa for this one.
Curriculum Tags: All
https://docs.google.com/document/d/19b0ziiuR0Lu3HJtgeCkojSPgpTTZA8rOENW-2QuWKJs/edit

For the last two years I have been part of a research project centred around grade 9 applied and this past week we had our "wedding reception". That is we put on two 2-day workshops for about 500 teachers in Toronto and London to showcase some of the things we learned. There were 10 research groups in the project from around the province and we all participated in telling our story of what we found works. There were plenary sessions from @pi_lab, @AliMacaulay and Martha Koch and breakout sessions from the rest of us on things like spiralling, technology, the Five Practices, engaging students, making thinking visible and much more. And although this was primarily about grade 9 applied, I feel  like most of these topics would fit any course. You can check out the back channel conversation at #math4thenines or all of the slide decks below
Curriculum Tags: All

I am a player of Pokemon Go - there I said it. That being said I like finding ways to incorporate it into math classes. This was my attempt a few weeks ago but, of course, @ddmeyer has done something a bit more engaging. It's only the first act of a 3Act task but it's a great connection to circumference. Plus he goes into a bit of an exposition on why he does what he does:
"So this 3-Act math task is bound to disappoint everybody above. It’s a trivial question about a piece of pop culture ephemera wrapped up in multimedia whizbangery."
Curriculum Tags: Gr8



In May I posted a calculus activity on matching derivatives and now the folks at Desmos have turned it into a card sort. It even made a recent Friday Five. Check out the original post with the updated link to the card sort at the link below.
Curriculum Tags: MCV4U

If it's posters you want then @mathequalslove could be the blog of choice. Check out these posters for when you are dealing with perfect squares and pythagorean triples. Click on the links below for all the downloads.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MPM1D, MFM1P

And as an extra bonus, you get the Geogebra file from @theShaunCarter that were used to make the perfect square posters. 
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

Given the interest in Pokemon Go, you might like this twitter feed @PokemonGoEdu. A quick look through and I found this neat data activity by having kids look through their Pokedex 
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8

If you are using any of the TI graphing calculators then you might like this upgrade special for the latest TI-Smartview emulator. This deal is valid for the rest of the year. Thanks to @mark_esping for this one.
Curriculum Tags: All

@MatthewOldridge reminds us that there really is no best way. The title says it all: "The question is not, “how best to teach mathematics?” The question, educator, is “how best for YOU to teach mathematics?”"
Curriculum Tags: All

Last year @ddmeyer spoke at the 2015 OAME annual conference. He spoke on the topic of "real world" math. This year he spoke at NCTM and had the same theme. I think at OAME we got one of the first versions of that talk and NCTM got one of the last. It was interesting to see how the talk evolved. What he kept in, and what he added. Whether you saw it last year or this year, there was some good stuff. I really appreciate the part where he tweaked a textbook question live on the spot. It's not newly posted but I just found it. Have a gander
Curriculum Tags: All
http://blog.mrmeyer.com/2016/nctm16-beyond-relevance-real-world-stronger-strategies-for-student-engagement/



And one more with the Pokemon Go theme. A graphic for showing which ones appear the most. Certainly you could find some inferencing questions to ask
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8
http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2016/07/18/the-rarest-pokemon-you-can-find-in-pokemon-go/#20dd40dc3ffd

I like this if you are talking about data for inferences. Nice and topical for kids.
Curriculum Tags: Gr7, Gr8, MDM4U
https://twitter.com/DataIsBeautiful/status/768665588935819265