Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mystery Grid Puzzle

As part of my year-end activities, I made this Mystery Grid Puzzle. I figured it was a way for my students to be careful, be observant, and be artsy all at once. I found a pixelated picture I liked, and then slapped a grid over it. Here is a copy if this sound intriguing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Advertising Idea

My CS1 class is finishing up their original Greenfoot games, so I had them make advertising flyers to "sell their game". They had to have screenshots, descriptions, customer reviews, and developer bios.

I love how creative the students are. I'm thinking I want something like this to be my first day activity next year for the math classes. Maybe something to the effect of "selling math" or "math as a movie" (pick your genre) and have various necessary spiels they have to include. ... Something to think about over the summer. (Who's the GREAT photographer?)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

End of the Year Calculus Project

Whew! That's done. We celebrated Cinco de Mayo by having an AP Calculus AB exam. Aye yai yai yai! After the exam it's a mix of attendance and other issues for students, and every year I have done slightly different things. This year, I wanted to revisit "projects". I had an awful time the last time I did this. Granted, I let the kids have free reign with their time, and shockingly, some chose to waste it (who would have thought), and this resulted in the most memorable string of e-mails from a parent who claimed it was all my fault a student got a bad grade and the kid would now not get into his choice school and his life was ruined and what kind of monster was I? So you can maybe see why I hesitate to do a project. 

Flash forward to this year. I wanted to do a project (because I never learn), but I wanted a Volumes of Revolution project. My specs:
* Must be cheap.
* Must be done only in class with no homework.
* Must involve creativity.
* Must involve calculus.
* Must be fast.
* Must be original.
* Must pull some other math topics from bygone years.
* Must use technology.

And voila! Here are the benefits (I hope) of this project:
* Involves scratch paper and tape/scissors and MAYBE pretty paper.
* I believe it can be done in 2 or 3 block schedule classes.
* Students create their own functions.
* They have to calculate the volume of revolution.
* They have to know how to calculate the radius if given the circumference.
* Regression website! Desmos!

 So I give you THIS. Let the fun begin.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Limits ... I have reached it!

We are done with our limits unit, and I made some changes (thanks Meg Craig!). Our summary day was today with a mix of everything. Here is the sheet the students worked on to see what they understood. I like it because it has a mix of algebraic limits, graphical limits, limits they have to draw graphs first for, piecewise functions .... HERE it is. Let me know if you want a word document copy.

 Funny story about #15. I actually had a problem there and had put the answer in the answer bank. Then I started pasting and changing the graph for #14, and then realized later that the #15 problem disappeared. So, since there was only 4 minutes until class started, and I had to make copies, I came up with THIS #15.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Cross Sections Homework...

If you teach calculus, there is a newish private group on facebook for us. The name is AP Calc Teachers AB/BC, and I'm sure you can navigate your way around to get access. 

Anyway, Happy Easter and all that, and the Easter Bunny is leaving a Cross Sections Homework Egg for you:


Friday, April 03, 2015

Volumes of Known Cross Sections

Last unit of AP Calculus AB .... big (temporary) sigh of relief. I changed up how I am teaching it this year. I do a flipped class, but even so, in the last 2 years I was not flipping and then yapping at them in class. I can't think of why other than I didn't think through how I could flip it and still show them the 3D aspect of things. Then I got it and came up with this.

I made a template for them to take home:

This would allow them to cut various shapes in the right size. Then I "flipped" these 3 pages of notes:

See how the half circles pop up! That makes me so happy. Maybe you need a closer look:

And pages 3 and 4:

 Now they can have a "forever" reference to a 3D model and not just see it in class one time when we introduce it.

 Hopefully, this will lead to a clearer understanding in their heads.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fractions?! Still?!

We are winding down in AP Calculus AB. In our last (flipped) class, the students were practicing area between 2 curves, and I had them do some problems by hand and some problems by calculator. 

Teacher Mistake Number 1: putting the 1st problem as one to be done by hand that involved .... wait for it .... gasp ..... fractions! I had an answer bank (as usual), but in this case, the answers were actually in order. 

Can I tell you that some of my students, though I admire their dedication, were still stuck on that problem for 20 minutes or so, because the fraction adding/subtracting was NOT. WORKING. OUT. We are NOT talking about 31/29 + 441/17 here people. 

We are talking about */4 + */2 - (INTEGER - */16) or something to that effect. Oy! I gently suggested that they may want to move on to some other problems so that they would have a chance to discuss set ups and such, which actually involved calculus, with other students, rather than being all OCD about it and not wanting to move on to the next problem before they finished the first problem.

Note to self: maybe I should have a tiered answer bank for such tortuous, why-does-my-teacher-hate-me type problems: one answer choice for the correct set up, one for the actual integral taking, and then a third for the hideous (51/16) answer!

Another idea: on my IR quizzes, instead of testing calculus-y things for the remainder of April, maybe I should have quick problems such as 1/4 + 1/3 .... or 2/5 * 3/8 .....