Monday, December 15, 2014

Epic Poodle Bungee Jump

8th Grade Honors Algebra just completed a project, in which students used linear equations to predict how many rubber bands it would take to give their poodle a thrilling, yet safe bungee jump from the school balcony.

Students were asked to string together one, two, three four, five and six rubber bands, and then make a prediction based on their measurements.  The object was for their poodle to get as close to the ground as possible, without actually landing on its' head.  They predicted how many they would need for the first balcony, and if they survived the first jump, the poodles made the jump from the second balcony.

Check out the reactions at the 1:20 minute mark and the 1:36 minute mark - not your typical reaction to getting the right answer on a math problem! And look at the celebration from the winning team at 2:23!

Congratulations to our winners, who earned glory and pride -as well as some bonus points on the next quiz!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

STUDENT POST: How To Use Algebra Tiles

By Loiza,

In math class we used squares and rectangles to help us solve equations.  Mr Nathaniel tells us that we have to find the area, perimeter, or a solution for the amount of blocks that he lays out. We have to know what each block stands for and that’s the way we make an equation out of the soft squares and rectangles.  Those tools that we are using help us to make an equation, solve the equation by knowing the amount each of them stand for. The blocks make it easier for some people to figure out the answer.  Because its visual, you have to look at the blocks, know what each one stands for, and make the equation that you have to solve using the blocks.

  • The small square stands for 1 (because it's 1 long and 1 wide)
  • The small rectangle stands for x (because it's 1 long and x wide)
  • The big square stands for x(because it's x long and x wide)
  • Blue means positive, and red means it's negative

For some kids, using visual logic, or a hands-on approach can help to remove barriers to understanding, and can take some of the intimidation and fear out of learning about difficult concepts.  Using Algebra tiles to teach polynomial multiplication and factoring quadratics help to reinforce an area model of multiplication.  Our recent workshop with renowned math educator Erma Anderson reinforced the idea of moving between multiple representations: from symbolic to pictorial to verbal to tabular and back.  Students are asked to use the tiles to represent ideas, then to illustrate those idea through drawing, and equation solving.