Category Archives: geometry

This Is Always On My Whiteboard…

…  in geometry, for the first month.

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because I can do things like this quickly

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And then students get a tone of mileage out of a worksheet like this (thanks Walt!):

DrawingConclusions_Page_1

DrawingConclusions_Page_2

And it’s not “always” on my whiteboard, but it’s on there a lot  :0

Right at the beginning of geometry I want to focus on helping students draw conclusions from diagrams and given information.  Plus I have done a lot of programming and have a natural love for the IF THEN statement.

IF this THEN what?  So we got a piece of information – what does it do for us?  What does it tell us?  And since the IF THEN is not on my main whiteboard (my main one is the big one on the right of the picture above), I have no problem leaving up my IF THEN all the time.  And probably most importantly – Having it already on the whiteboard reminds me to use it.

“If angles a and b are complementary THEN a + b = 90”  I am reinforcing the point that all we know is that the two angles add up to 90.  We don’t know where the angles are located, we don’t know if they are adjacent, we don’t even know how big they are, or what color they are…  we just know that they add up to 90 degrees.

Here’s the worksheet above as a pdf:

DrawingConclusions

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Monomial Partners

“What’s your name, what’s your monomial?”

This is a great activity that was inspired by Matt Vaudrey’s Equation Speed Dating.  In this lesson each student gets to create their own monomial – which I constrained to having to be even and with a variable.  Then they break up their paper into three columns:  Partner / Our Binomial / Our Rectangle.  The students pick a partner and join each others monomials together to create “Our Binomial”.  Then they factor their binomial and represent it as a rectangle by labeling it’s dimensions and indicating the area.  I circulate the room and once it appears every group is finished, I have everyone get up and find a new partner.  I’m demanding here that all students get up out of their seats and move somewhere new.

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After a couple rounds I started having them draw their monomial and their partners monomial as separate rectangles, and then draw them together.

I have been focusing on a geometric approach to factoring, so the rectangle column was a great addition to previous times when I have done this activity but only asked for the solution.

The column “Our Binomial” does a nice job reinforcing that a binomial is the combination of two monomials.

The Advice

Don’t require them to say “what’s your monomial?”, “do you agree that our binomials is….  “, but inspire them to say it by modeling it.  A lot of my students were saying it because I was giving them messages that anytime they get the chance to say “monomial” or “binomial” they need to take it.

Tell the students not to move onto a new partner when they are finished.  They need to wait until you tell them to switch partners.

Remind them that you are really counting on the partners to catch any errors! Because you can’t do the problems on the board since every pair is working a different problem.  “And yes, you are the partner I am counting on for someone else.”

“What’s your name, what’s your monomial?”   No that’s not a pickup line for Speed Dating…  or is it?

Tangent Line and Circle Problems

I will categorize this post as “sometimes you just need a worksheet”.  #SYJNAW for my twitter peeps.

I have always kind of disliked teaching the circles unit in geometry because of all the different rules – tangent / secant angles, chord-chord sides, chord-chord angles, blah blah.  This year I put together a learning segment on circles that involved satellites in geostationary orbit.  It was based on my experiences working at Lockheed Martin and my engineering background.  I will write about it when I have time.  But for now I will just attach a couple worksheets I made of problems that I put on a homework, or threw in a test. I figured I would just share these, because you know… some times you just need a worksheet.

These problems themselves involve tangents, central angles, and trig functions.  The actual learning unit is very similar, but requires the students to contextualize and decontextualize.  So without further comment – here’s some of the practice problems I used:

SatelliteGenQ1

SatelliteGenQ2

SatelliteGenQ3

The Goods: (sorry I only have pdf’s, I create things with Adobe Illustrator)

SatelliteGenQ1

SatelliteGenQ2

SatelliteGenQ3

The Centauri Challenge

I’m posting this because my students enjoy it and I can’t find it anywhere online.  I got it from a colleague a few years ago.  I have no idea where it originally came from.  It’s is a great intro to logic and proofs.

CentauriChallenge

My Day 1 Lessons For 2013

This year I am teaching algebra and geometry again – new school, same subjects.    I have decided to do no introduction or ice breaker activities.  No syllabus on day 1 (which I never have done) either.

Last year I did the straw bridge challenge and I loved it and definitely recommend it.  But I am scrapping it this year due to the time constraints of  focusing on CCSS in a district that is still giving the STAR test.  So I choose these two activities for their more direct relationship to standards I must teach, as well as their low entry point and interesting hooks.

Algebra

Day 1 in algebra is going to be my Getting to Vegas problem, which is simply a personalization of a problem Dan Meyer describes here.  When I was living in Forestville some friends and I decided to go to Vegas.  There are two airports that we could have used – the smaller local airport in Santa Rosa, or the larger airport in San Francisco.  Which airport should I have took, or will I take next time?  I have screen grabs of all relevant information in the slides.

A couple extensions:  How long would the Vegas trip need to be in order for the Santa Rosa airport to be cheaper?  (Eventually the more expensive parking at SFO takes over).  Or Dan’s scenario of taking a shuttle from Santa Rosa to the San Francisco airport vs. driving directly to San Francisco.

Presentations.004

The Goods:

 GettingToVegas

Geometry:

In geometry I’m starting with Dan’s Taco Cart problem.  I am just going to go to keep it as Dan vs. Ben, because I am a bit intimated on day1 to follow Fawn’s more interactive implementation allowing students to choose their own paths.

This is an exercise with the Pythagorean Theorem, which is great for day 1 because they have all seen it before.

The Goods: 

TacoCartWS

TacoCartWS