Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Numbers and Angles

I was preparing for part of the next unit in grade 8 math that I am teaching, Geometry and Spatial Sense and came across this....

Angles and Numbers!   

The maker of this illustration used math in a creative way.  That is great, because that's how we want our kids to think as well... out of the box....being creative and creating new ideas/solutions to problems.  This illustration could be a starting point for students to use angles in a different way.  I could combine this exercise with art, and have students create a piece of art with angles.  It's neat when we can do cross-curricular projects, because that allows our students to see the value of all subjects, and realize how inter-twined they really are.

Pictorial Integers for Visual Learners

I was going through a resource that I had saved, and was wondering why I saved it, so I opened it up and I found some very resourceful ideas.  One of these ideas was pictorial integers for Visual Learners.  This would be apart of our differentiated learner piece, teaching a concept in a different way for all our learners to understand it.

Looking at the table above, a student who works well using pictures can make good sense of the tiles being used.  You can see that  red tiles are positive and blue tiles are negative.  The student would just put or draw these tiles on the placemat, and allow for the natural process of cancellation to take into affect.  Once cancellation happens, cancellation meaning the same amount of different colours cancel each other out; which ever is left over would be counted.  Even though the idea of cancellation is a very simple one, it is very effective as well.  I could picture 4 students in my grade 8 Math class who would benefit from this type of activity.  I guess its good to look at resources you've saved, its usually for a reason!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Math is Beautiful

'When will I ever use this?', is a question that may get thrown around quite often in a classroom.  Our first response may have something to do with a connection between the subject matter and a future task, job or career.  We may try to connect it to something fun that our students may encounter and try later on in life, or we may talk about how it has changed the world thus far.  Either way, it is always nice to sit back and appreciate the work others have done in the field.  Math is all around us and it really is the universal language (just ask Jodie Foster in Contact).

We may not realize how much of the world around us is governed by different mathematical principles...so here's a quick little montage of some of the beauties of math.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Games and Math

I have long had a little bit of an obsession with logic games.  Since I was young, I was 'forced' (read: tactically convinced) to try them out.  This definitely sprung from my aunt and uncle who were both teachers and had engaged themselves in teaching the entire spectrum of students.

This interest keeps itself ingrained in my life and surfaced once again with the wonderful trend that was sudoku.  I collect the puzzle everyday form the paper here at work and keep a nice pile that now goes back to 2011 for those rainy days.  I am always on the lookout for a newer, different, perhaps more interesting/challenging type of logic game, and have even recreated some as emergency lessons or as intros to try and foster the critical logical thinking in my students.  The 2 that I have now challenged other with are Yubotu and Nonograms (which may commonly be called Pix-A-Pic).  I stumbled upon this beauty at a small town bookstore and have trying them ever since.  The main creator that I have found is Conceptis Puzzles, but there are plenty to be found online

Both have a similar type of goal, that is to determine what spaces in a grid need to be filled in.  Yubotu more resembles a pen and paper battleship, while the other often creates a pixelated image.  I enjoy challenging my students to try them without any trial and error and guessing and show them how there are many ways to attack a problem, while working through it logically.  Students are always going to play games, why wouldn't they, it's much more fun that work.  The trick is to get them to be working their brain and not just clicking away aimlessly.

In the end, it's something extra that isn't a specific curriculum expectation, by the transferable skills they develop should stay with them much longer.