Monday, July 20, 2009

preAP math ideas

I'm at a week-long workshop for "experienced" preAP math teachers (for nonTexans, preAP is like an honors course or the higher level math students). After the 1st day, I already have some good ideas on what to do differently next year. In my school district, we have to get re-professionally-developed in preAP techniques every 5 years. At first I was thinking, hmph, I do so much other professional development on my own, this is not needed. Oh contraire. Even though I've taught calculus and precalculus, it is apparently still needed and useful.

Today our instructor did various things using calculus and statistics AP questions as the basis. But. The way he did it was very useful. We worked through a calculus problem. Then we brainstormed on earlier class skills it addresses. He showed concrete ideas on how to modify the problems to address alg, geo, alg2, precal.

But what I really came away with were the LOAD of things I could do with statistics and why it's useful. For example, at the end of the day, he had a sheet with a cm ruler on it, and we all measured our hand span from outer index finger to outer pinkie finger. We got that list in L1 on the calculator. Here are some of the things we did with it besides calculate mean, range, Q1, Q3,...:

1. What if the ruler on the page had a mistake, and we were 2 cm off, so we had to subtract 2 cm from each data point. Without using your calculator, discuss what that would do to the: mean, range, median, ...

2. What if instead of cm, we wanted inches. How would you change data? What would this now do to mean, range, ...

3. What if instead of the largest span we had, that person was replaced with (name some local basketball player who's tall with BIG hand span) ... and we put in a large reasonable number. What would this now do to ....

4. What if for our data of spans that ranged from 16.5 cm to 21.5 cm, someone got a mean of 15 cm. Discuss why this is reasonable or not reasonable.

There were a ton more good ideas. I liked it because it made us think and it would make the kids think and it was in context they could understand and it had them manipulating formulas and thinking about meanings (throughout the day).


  1. I'd love to see some of the questions you modified for Pre-AP use. My new prep is a pre-AP course (we don't title them the same way you do) and we're trying to work on pre-ap vertical alignment.

    I've modified a couple of the free response questions for use in my Accelerated Honors Advanced Algebra course and would like to see what others have done. (I haven't used these yet, I just began working on them in the past few weeks).

    If you're interested, in sharing I'm jackie.ballarini at gmail.

  2. Anonymous4:29 PM

    I'll definitely share when I come across algebra 2 type things. Today what we did was mostly algebra 1, and then he mentioned ways to change to algebra 2 ..... so nothing specific (and my binder is still in class not with me).

    The big thing we did Monday was statistics (which could go anywhere). Would you be interested in that ... or I can wait until we get to more function things.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. I'd love to see anything. We do a bit of stats in our Adv. Alg course, so we're trying to incorporate Pre-AP stats too!

  4. Anonymous11:57 PM

    iam new to this program and i am looking for a good new project ideas for the pre-ap anyone!!!!