Friday, April 28, 2006

Happy Friday!

Today was very similar to yesterday...lots of technology and no homework!

1st & 2nd Periods had a discussion of slope and rate of change based on yesterday's Match the Graph activity, and then we went to the computer lab and experimented with The Geometer's Sketchpad.

3rd & 4th Periods also worked with the The Geometer's Sketchpad on slope.

5th Period did the CBR activity and follow-up discussion.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Slope and Y-intercept

In pre-algebra we are getting to some pretty tough material that is challenging for many students. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't make sense the first time (or second, or third...). If it were all easy, you would not need me to guide you! We could pass out textbooks at the beginning of the year and save money by not having teachers!

I found a neat applet called Playing with Functions that helps you see the relationship between the equation of a line and its graph. Click on the yellow button to enter the site. Choose "linear" under Function f (it may already be set there). Do not select anything for Function g (you will learn about that in Algebra I next year). A pop-up box shows the equation of the graph and gives you sliders to move that will change the slope and y-intercept of a line. You could put in an equation that you had to graph for homework and check your work. You could also play around with the values for m and b to see how changing them affects the graph of the line.

You can also download a graphing calculator that works somewhat like the ones we use in class. To graph with this calculator, you click on the Graph 1 tab and then type the equation beside y1. You can graph up to 10 equations at a time. I like how the color of each line is different.

If I find other resources that I think would help you to understand this topic, I will add them to this post. Happy Graphing!

Technology Day

Several students were absent today due to the band and chorus trip to St. Louis and Take Your Child to Work Day and Special Olympics. Because I have been out going to meetings for the last two days, it was a good day to take a breath and let everyone catch up! Here is what we did today.

1st & 2nd Periods: We worked with Calculator Based Rangers (CBR's) to play a game called Match the Graph. The CBR connects to a graphing calculator and uses sound waves to measure distance. Students aimed the CBR at the wall and tried to walk in a way that would duplicate the graph on their calculator screen. Tomorrow we will discuss the mathematics behind the activity and relate this to rate of change and slope.

3rd Period: Over half the class was absent, and those that were here had questions about slope and graphing equations. We spent the entire class period going over these problems.

4th & 5th Period: The computer lab ended up being available these periods, so I decided to take advantage of a rare situation and take my students to the lab. I recently purchase The Geometer's Sketchpad software, and this was a good day to show the students how to use it. They loved it! I told the students they could download a free trial of the software from the internet, but I just checked and the company does not offer this any more (I'm sure some people were trying to take advantage of this). I do have information on purchasing a student version of the software for $29.95, which is a wonderful deal. Let me know if you are interested. The other classes (and students who were absent) will get to go to the lab soon.

No one had homework to do tonight. I am still working on grading papers. I will let you know when I am caught up!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why are good habits easier to break than bad ones?

I did not realize so much time has passed since I was regularly posting on this blog! After being out of school a week for surgery and then another week for spring break, the blogging habit disappeared into thin air! I am making a goal tonight of posting at least every other day until the end of the school year. Only a month to go...this year has flown by!

Progress reports went home Monday. How do you like the new Progress Reports? It sure is easier for the teachers. However, I think the office ran the reports before I entered all of my grades. I was up-to-date on Wednesday of last week, but the progress report did not include anything I received Thursday or later. I will have that by Monday, so you are welcome to email me for an update.

I am still wanting to get my students involved in posting on my blog. Maybe I can get that information out to them next week. This will be optional, but I think the students should really enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stretching and Shrinking

We have started a new unit called Stretching and Shrinking. This unit is provided by the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative.
In it we explore the idea of what it means for two objects to be mathematically similar. We have not had homework recently because of standardized testing. Wednesday is the last day of testing.