Jan 14

Jump Math

I caught a NY Times editorial on Jump Math and got curious. There are a lot of curriculums that claim to significantly improve student math performance. What intrigued me most about Jump Math is that it claims to push the extremities in a given class together. I hadn’t heard this before. That sounds fantastic. Imagine if you got everyone in your class working at a B+ to A level? That got my attention. Has anyone worked with this curriculum?

Jan 14

Where did X come from?

Did you ever want to know why X is the symbol of choice in algebra for representing an unknown quantity? Here is the quick crazy history.

Nov 13

Math + Jokes

sad parallel lines

I get sent math jokes all the time. Just check my FB wall. I feel like I’ve seen them all. This was new to me though. Kinda sweet and funny? Thanks, Sue, for sending it my way.

Oct 13

Swing it, Baby!

Here is a way to factor trinomials that I’d never seen before. It came my way via the tutoring center. I’m working on a proof, but it seems really convincing. Check it out. It is a lot easier than the reverse foil or AC-methods. Does anyone know who came up with it?

Sep 13

Will Dan Meyer Ever Stop Being Awesome?

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 2.42.42 PM

Modeling is one of those things that we all want to put in our classes, but so many of the pre-made activities stink. But check out this activity that Dan Meyer put together with the help of Desmos.

Jul 13

Math Vocabulary

One thing that I notice is particularly hard to impart in my online classes is mathematical vocabulary. My online students can be very technically proficient in key skills without being able to talk about them very well. I always notice this when they come in for office hours and we’re talking about a particular problem. I’ve been brainstorming different ways to develop vocabulary remotely. Here is my latest. I’m not sure what the name for these are. (Guessing: pictogram?) But we’ve all seen these in different games. You have a series of pictures indicating a word. See if you can guess these? And let me know what you think of the exercise.



May 13

Turning Point

Lee Bradley is at it again. This problem is inspired by one of his tutoring sessions in the ASC. Follow the link. Enjoy the goodness.

Thanks, Lee!

May 13

MyScript Calculator

my script calculator

I recently downloaded the MyScript Calculator app. Some of you may have seen it on one of the iPhone commercials. It is the app that you write an expression and it recognizes the expression and typesets it perfectly. At least that is the way it works in the commercial. I think I suffer from fat fingers and poor handwriting because it doesn’t work quite as well for me. The idea is fantastic though, particularly for more complex expressions like CodeCogsEqn (13) that are easy to write, but hard to enter into your regular scientific calculator. Here is how it is supposed to work.

I hope the recognition improves. And it is free so I really shouldn’t be complaining at all. Here is the download link for iOS and android. Give it a try.

Apr 13

Exponent Mistakes

exponent mistakes
Anyone who has ever taught exponents has run into these type of mistakes on student papers. I ran into this great blog post by a teacher, Michael Pershan, that tried to figure out where these mistakes come from and what triggers them. The post is short, but really interesting. The blog is Rational Expressions.

Apr 13

The App I’ve been waiting for…

dragon box
There are a ton of great mobile apps that are beautiful, smart, and addictive that teach arithmetic and number sense. What I’ve been waiting for is an app do the same thing for algebra. Dragon Box is the first. It doesn’t handle the whole curriculum. It is really just focused on solving linear (and basic rational equations), but when you start one would never even know it. That is what is so awesome about it. It starts much like any other mobile game with some tutorials on the game’s dynamics. There are no x’s, no numbers anywhere. Slowly as you make it through the levels, the moves you make in the game start to be recognizable as the manipulations one does to solve equations, and the objects start to become numeric, and at the very end the variables start to appear. It is extremely well done. I encourage anyone interested in gamification or mobile ed to check it out. It’s a little expensive at $6, but for the first of its kind, it is worth it. I don’t regret buying it. I also hope WeWantToKnow is hard at work on other algebra games.