Friday, March 28, 2014

Integer Idol

Integer Idol is not something that I can take credit for creating.  It was something that I found going through you tube videos for songs about the integer rules.  Integer Idol caught my eye because middle schoolers are very into their music and I wanted to tap into that.  The original video just has the students create a song (or parody) for multiplication and division rules, but I raised the stakes by asking them to include all 4 integer rules in their song (adding and subtracting are the bigger challenge to work into a song).  I did this in January because Saxon breaks the integer rules up over multiple lessons and the final integer lesson wasn't until January.  So, needless to say, this served as a review and memorization strategy.

To do the project, I had them form small groups of 2-4 people.  I also gave the option of doing the project individually.  I gave a little over a week to develop the song and practice.  I gave them 2 class periods to get going with the song.  We went to the computer lab and the students pulled up you tube videos of the songs they wanted to make parodies and got to work writing their lyrics.  We used Google docs to share verses and ideas back and forth.

Then, on the due date, we set the stage and preformed our songs.  We did a vote for the best song, but they only won bragging rights.  The competition did help them work harder at getting the best song, group look, etc.  All of the details are below and a grading rubric is there as well.  Are your students the next Integer Idol?

* Just one note- I work at a small school, so when I say that it might be in front of the entire 7th grade that was about 50 students.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Slope from a Graph Match Up

Here is an activity that I made a while back for finding slope from a graph.  I took a Kuta Software worksheet and turned it into a matching activity.  Students were asked to match the graph to the slope.  There are multiple slopes that are the same, but the line is different which got my more inquisitive students wondering why.  Overall, it is a pretty simple activity, but it did give me a chance to answer clarifying questions and make sure that they could determine slope correctly.  The biggest reminder that I had to give was to make sure that the x-axis was horizontal.  The kiddos weren't always careful about that.  The activity took between 7-10 minutes.

I just printed the pages onto different colored pieces of paper to keep the sets together.  Card stock and lamination would always be better, but the colored paper did the job for the time being.  I cut the pieces apart and tossed the sets into a zipper lock snack bag. 

If it will be useful to you, feel free to use it. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Hidden" Points in Point-Slope Linear Equations

Just a quick idea today.  My kiddos have been struggling to correctly identify the point in equations that use point-slope form for linear equations.  We have talked about finding the "hidden" point in the equation.  I know that the point is there in plain sight, but for my kiddos they can't see it.  We have worked on it and they are getting it, but it will need to be refreshed when we return from Spring break.

So, what I decided to do for a quick refresher was to have them look at a variety of equations and identify the point and then plot the point onto a coordinate grid.  If they identify all of the points correctly, then the graph will be a picture and they will know that they did it correctly.  I made the worksheet below, but I am tempted to make it into something more active than a worksheet, but not sure what yet.  I'll post if I change it into something else.  Feel free to use it if you think that it will help your kiddos.

Also, since the kiddos are good at identifying the slope of a line and knowing what it means, I didn't focus on the slopes of the lines.  The slopes also don't match the lines in the pictures.  My focus here was to identify a point and then to make the worksheet self checking by having the points make a picture.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When the Schedule Gets Crazy...

This year, I was introduced to a website called Collaborative Mathematics through the math teacher's circle that I participate in once a month.  It is a site that puts out a video explaining a really interesting math problems and asks people to solve them and send in videos of how they solved the problem.  The challenges are put out once a month by the author Jason Ermer.  Jason is a Math and Computer Science teacher in Oslo, Norway.

I really liked the problems and started playing the videos and doing the challenges in class with my students right before a break or when the schedule was crazy.  The kids got into them and the discussion was great!  I also like it because there isn't a quick answer and it really forces the students to listen to each other and challenge each others' thinking.

The one thing that I have learned after doing a few of the challenges is that my struggling kiddos need some help focusing their thinking or else they will give up.  For the last challenge that we tried before spring break, I made the worksheet below and it really seemed to help my struggling students get into the problem and feel on par with those who were getting it faster.  I'm including it if you would like to try Challenge #3 with your students and use the worksheet.  This challenge is really good for writing rules for arithmetic sequences and pushing it farther into what happens when there is an alternating sequence and how do you write it.  But, by far, that isn't the only way to solve this problem! :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Frayer Model As A Summary

This idea came from having a sub for my math class (Saxon, Course 3, Lesson 43 for any Saxon users out there).  I had made a notes sheet for the class and asked the sub to have them cut it in half, fold it in half, and label appropriately "surface area" and "lateral surface area". 

As I was writing the sub notes and looking at the samples that I had made, I just wasn't happy.  I knew that this concept was hard for students to grasp how it is different from two dimensional figures.  They can work the formulas pretty well, but understanding the formulas...well, not as much.  I decided that instead of having the kiddos just label the front of the the two "card style" foldables, it was a great place to put a Frayer model for each vocabulary word.  Also, a great way for me to check in the next day and see what the kids understood and where we could clarify.  So, the picture is my rough sketch of what I wanted. 

I had always thought about using the Frayer model as an opening vocabulary activity, not as a summary and check in for understanding.  I feel like this was a "duh" moment and others have been doing this for years.  However, if there is anyone like me and is just realizing that this could be really good,  I'd love to hear where you tried this and how it went. 

I also left the sub a bunch of different sized food boxes for the kiddos to measure and practice calculating surface area and lateral area.  A pretty standard surface area activity.  Here is the recording sheet that I had them use if anyone can use it feel free.