Sunday, August 16, 2015

8/16/15 - My Top 7 Math (+1) Activities (2014-2015) #MTBoSblaugust

I was chatting with a friend about a couple of activities I did with my kiddos this year and was told, "You need to put that s#@t on your blog!" I am nothing if not obedient, so here they are, in no particular order.

1. Angry Batbird/Waterballoon Launch - Youtube and Desmos

My Int. 1 class was studying quadratic equations. We were examining projectile motion using ball tosses, jumps, fireworks and the like. My students have iPads so we used Desmos in our studies. Like most people with technology, my students were very adept at using the iPad for recreational purposes. I call it using it for evil when it distracts them from what we're trying to do. Most of them had figured out how to get past the district firewall and were playing Angry Birds whenever they could. This fascination with had led a colleague of mine to construct an Angry Birds slingshot her students used in their study of projectile motion. I, unfortunately did not have access to the slingshot but I thought we could use a similar idea in our studies.

I found several ridiculous videos on Youtube (big shocker) entitled, Angry Batbird. They are short cartoons; parodies of Batman and Angry Birds. Batbird and Robin would thwart crime using a slingshot as their means of transportation.

There were two launches in the video. Students collected data from launch to landing for both videos. They then wrote projectile motion equations by substitution of time values. All work for the activity was completed in Desmos using an Angry Batbird activity I created (this was before the activity builder was launched).

I used this as practice for our class Water Balloon Launch. During this activity students, in teams of 4, launched water balloons at a target.  I was lucky enough to secure the cooperation of one of our world cultures teachers to serve as the target. Only 3 are needed to operate the launcher so the 4th student used their iPad to take video of the launch, taking care to capture the launch and landing. Each group completed a Desmos activity similar to the one they did for Angry Batbird.

2. Exponential Functions - Desmos and QR Reader

Our curriculum uses a comparison of simple and compound interest to model linear vs exponential growth. While these are good comparisons, they are incredibly boring. I decided to create a series of "real life" scenarios for students to investigate. Again, we used Desmos to complete and document our work. I wanted to run the activity like stations but their wasn't much needed in terms of materials.

I decided to link each activity to a QR code. Students scanned the code, saved the activity to their Desmos account, collaborated with their team to complete the activity and then submitted it to me through Canvas (our district LMS).

Here are the pdf versions, for students without access to a device with a QR Code Reader.

Do Vampires Exist?     Zombie Apocalypse      Rumors       Equipment Rental     Let's Make a Deal

3. Dance Dance Transversal (Powerpoint/Keynote)

This is the first year my district has adopted an integrated curriculum. As a result, I had the opportunity to teach angle relationships for the first time. After several discovery based activities incorporating rigid transformations, I saw this activity on a #msmathchat post by Tara Maynard. She posted a short video of her students doing this angle dance. I was instantly enamored by it. She also shared the powerpoint presentation she used for the activity. I loved it. I Modified it.  ;-)  Here's my version.

Those of you who don't know what Dance Dance Transversal is, its a take on the video game Dance Dance Revolution. Students stand on the "dance mat" made by taping two parallel lines and a transversal on the floor (1 did 10 mats, one for each group.).

Photo via Algebraniacs
Each team member took turns trying to follow the cues and "dance" the angles. My version has four songs. It was the most uncoordinated, yet completely engaged, I'd ever seen my students. It was the best!!

4. King's Pathway Project - Pattern Shapes and Notability Apps

This project can be found in Brad Fulton's The Pattern and Function Connection.  I modified it and digitized it for a 1:1 iPad classroom. Here's my version. I describe the project in more detail in my iPad Projects and Activities post.

5. Circle Design Project - Desmos

I think its important for students to see the beauty in math. Graphing is a wonderful way to make this connection. In the past, before going 1:1, students created beautiful drawings by hand, exploring the equations of lines and parabolas.

More recently, I have used Desmos for this project. I had the opportunity to teach equations of circles last year, so I extended the project to include them. I found tons of circle designs online and asked my students to choose one they felt would challenge them. They were to use Desmos to recreate it and embellish the design to make it their own.  Here are some of the results.

6. Accessibility Ramp for the Eiffel Tower - Google

Last year, I had the opportunity to host several Saturday Academy sessions where struggling students could work on skills they felt weak. I was also able to offer enrichment activities for those students wanting a challenge. During one such session, we began talking about ADA regulations for access ramps. We had been studying trig ratios so i took this as an opportunity to pose the question, what if an access ramp needed to be built to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower? How long would it have to be in order to meet the ADA's pitch requirements? I didn't give students any other information. They decided they needed to know what the regulations where first, so they did a Google search and found that the pitch could be no more than 4.8 degrees and the height of the Eiffel Tower (986 feet).  They used their knowledge of trig ratios to determine that the ramp would have to be approximately 2.25 miles long.  We talked about the reasonableness of a ramp of that length. They did more research into the ADA requirements and discovered that the ramp couldn't be longer than 7 feet. A student suggested that the ramp could switch-back. They, then began calculating how many switchbacks would be needed to reach the top. They decided to compare the total distance traveled on all the switchbacks to the original ramp and found that they difference was negligible.  They were still debating the reasons why this might be when the bell rang. :-)

7. Pythagorean Fence Design Project

I'm beginning to feel like I have no original ideas. I found the Fencing Your Property project by New Vision Academy. I modified and digitized for a 1:1 iPad classroom. Here are my directions and a blank version for student use. Students were tasked to write a design proposal for a potential customer.  Their proposal needed to include a fence perimeter calculations, detailed pricing, financing options, a unique company name and a logo. The proposal was to be presented on company letterhead. These are some student work samples.

This year, I am considering making it a group project and requiring each company to present their proposal to the customer. I many try to convince my colleagues to act as customers. 

8. My Yearbook
I've been doing this since my first year of teaching.  Came out of a site wide Math Expo event. During Math Expo, students would rotate to different classes and participate in a different math related activity. I would always facilitate the origami event. Before I got a document camera, I would use very large pieces of paper to model building a 8-pointed pinwheel. After, I would have these giant pinwheels. The idea of throwing them away made me sad, so I decided to repurpose them as my "yearbook". Here are some of them.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you mean math is fun! You've convinced me! 😁 Actually I remember Lisa doing the Angry Birds water balloon launch many years back and thought, "I wish my math teachers were THIS fun in math!" Thanks for sharing these!

    -Kim Lepre